Christians Get Depressed Too
Summary: In a clear, concise, winning book, Dr. Murray destroys the stigma that sadly runs rampant through churches. You have all heard that stigma--that Christians are a happy people and that it is wrong, nay even a sin that they should succumb to depression. This book has 6 chapters. They are entitled, 'The Crisis, The Complexity, The Condition, The Causes, The Cures and The Caregivers.' This book has freed many Christian sufferers from the guilt and shame of depression and has helped them to understand that depression is often a physical ailment.
Personal Thoughts: Dr. Murray is so compassionate, so kind and so RIGHT! I've read this book several times now and I am always refreshed and encouraged again after reading it. He remembers that depressed people don't have the ability to read lengthy, theologically laden material. He knows that depressed people are quick to heap guilt on themselves. He knows that the church has not always been kind to sufferers. This book is short and so simple. But in this little volume Dr. Murray gives a good look at what depression looks like. He tackles negative thought patterns so well. He doesn't spit out a fix-it-all cure. He acknowledges that healing takes time. I think his last two chapters are just excellent and something that many books on depression never tackle--the critical role of caregivers and how the doctrine of the sufficiency of Scripture fits into a depressed person's life. If you are depressed, this is definitely the book you need to start with. It has done wonders for me.
Quote: If we come to the point that our default position in dealing with the causes of depression is that it is sin until proven otherwise, we are getting painfully close to the disciples' position: "Master, who did sin, this man or his parents?" (John 9:2). It is also a position that is somewhat akin to the health, wealth and prosperity gospel, in which the diagnosis for trials is personal sin and the prescription is more repentance and faith.
I was a pastor for 12 years on the west coast of the Scottish Highlands. Sadly, that beautiful area has one of the highest rates of depression in the Western world, and I dealt with many Christians who endured years of mental suffering and spiritual darkness. Although initially, in my youthful zeal, I probed for the underlying 'sin' or 'issues' because I did not just want to alleviate 'symptoms.' I came to realize that I was often (though not always) dealing with people whose problem was not "issues of meaning or relationship." As I got to know them, I came to see that what they were living for and how they were living was not the problem; they were unquestionably living for and like Christ. In fact, they were among the godliest Christians I have ever met. The Lord was everything to them, and they would not let go of him despite everything screaming from within and without, "There is no God!" Their problem was a sick brain, often suffering from the effects of long winter months with limited daylight hours. --pg 65,66