A Prescription for Depression

June 1, 2018

“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart…” (1John 3:20)

In the Bible heart often refers to our emotions. The Apostle John is using heart in that sense in I John 3:20. What he is essentially writing is that if the way we feel condemns us, God is greater than the way we feel.

Before John writes these words, he challenged his readers to love in actions and not merely in words. He follows his insight that God is greater than the way we feel with the prescription that we should keep the two great commandments of Jesus: to love God and to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. (Matthew 22: 35-40)  Jesus claimed these two commandments would fulfill all the commandments in the Bible.

We are to love when we look up, when we look around, and when we look in. Jesus teaches that we are to love God completely, love others unconditionally, and love ourselves correctly.  Loving ourselves does not mean when we pass a mirror we should stop and have our devotions.  Jesus taught we should say the same thing about ourselves that God says about us – that God loves us.

The prescription for depression the Apostle of Love gives devout disciples is that when our heart condemns us, we should realize that our faith is not to be based on something as fickle as our feelings.

Our faith is based on the reality that we believe and apply the commandment to love.

The last thing we should do when our heart condemns us is isolate ourselves into a pity party. We need to get with people and love them.

Dick Woodward, 13 June 2011


A ‘pole sana!’ Pity Party

March 13, 2018

“But the LORD said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’” (1Kings 19:9)

Elijah was one of the greatest prophets who ever lived. First Kings 18 reports one of the greatest days a prophet could possibly have when Elijah led the chosen people of God into a great and mighty revival.  In response to his sermon, they shouted that they were going to put God first. As evidence of their fervent dedication to God they helped him get rid of 850 false prophets of wicked King Ahab and his depraved Queen Jezebel.

The very next day when Elijah received a message from Queen Jezebel that she was going to kill him, this great prophet ran into the wilderness then slumped down in exhausted despair under a broom bush tree where he asked God to kill him. God did not kill Elijah but He did answer his prayer. God fed him with supernatural bread then put him in a deep sleep. This gave Elijah the strength to travel to a cave where God asked him: “What are you doing here, Elijah?”

If this can happen to a great man of God, this can and does happen to all of us sooner or later. Elijah was having a pity party. With my severe physical limitations if I get anywhere near a pity party I immediately sink like a cannonball in a swimming pool! In East Africa there’s an oft repeated Swahili saying: “pole sana!” It means “poor pitiful you – poor one – so sorry for you!”

Writing as one who cannot survive a ‘pole sane’ pity party I warn you to flee this temptation like a plague. It’s a blueprint for a burnout. If this finds you having a pity party let God ask you: “What are you doing here?

Dick Woodward, 28 March 2011