“What have you done to try to overcome your depression?”
“I haven’t really tried.”
In John 7:38, Jesus speaks of a river of life that can and should flow out from us as believers. The more basic fact is that there is a river that flows out from us—whether it is a river of life or a river of death.
Especially for those who are more compassionate, when they walk in the room, a single person can send out signals that darken the entire room. No word has to be spoken. There is an outflow … there is an impact on those in the vicinity of those in a dark place.
Someone who feels like a victim, along with those who are struggling with depression seldom think about the impact they are having on others. We all berate the aggressor. We let him know the negative impact he is having on others, but how many people own their river?
In Christ, we have been given the ability to overcome. The person who has settled in to a dark place and is making no effort to change it is having an impact on others and I believe that person will be held accountable on judgment day.
No. I am not saying that everyone should be happy all the time. We all have difficult days. We all need to take steps to fight through to overcome. But I am talking about those who are mostly self absorbed in a place of pain that no longer cares about anyone else except their own pain. “I haven’t really tried. My pain is the only pain that matters and I don’t really care if I am making others miserable.”
Many who are caught in a negative place have taken time to consider the impact on others. Even those who are in a difficult place can be a great blessing to others if they are “fighting the fight.” We all can appreciate someone who is in a hard place who is taking even basic steps to get better. But the one who doesn’t care anymore … who is resigned to live in his own misery? There is an outflow. A river. How we live matters.
Those who have taken on a passive lifestyle have an outflow. “I don’t care” is contagious. Or another self absorbed lifestyle: “I’m bored!” Our culture has cultivated an obsession with self and encourages a wallowing in personal pain. People expect to be coddled and entertained. Those who stay in the place of self are having an impact. They berate the bully—which is a true assessment of the negative impact of the bully. But how many of them have stopped to consider their own river? Their own impact on others?
We have embraced victim status in a way that almost glorifies a lifestyle of “I am living in my pain.” If we truly care about others, that is not O.K. There is a river flowing out from you. Is your river full of life … or a downer for others to deal with?