For decades, Robin Williams was the man that had us all–black and white, saved and unsaved, young and old–laughing. He lifted our spirits, all the while, his own spirit was being crushed beneath the weight of depression. What a tragic paradox! No amount of “R.I.P.s” can make his earthly or eternal death peaceful. From Scripture to Mary K. Baxter’s Divine Revelation of Hell, we know Hell and its ever-burning fire are very real. As the Church, we need to be straightforward about the topic of depression.
1) Depression is a Spirit.
Some people think “depression is a medical condition…NOT a demon…” Yet this statement defies Scripture. There are plenty of medical conditions caused by spirits such as Rottenness of the Bones (Proverbs 12:4, 14:30), Wasting Disease and Fever (Leviticus 26:15-16), etc. The Bible also speaks specifically about depression.
For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the SORROW OF THE WORLD produces death. (II Corinthians 7:10)
The Bible also provides the remedy.
The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to…heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound…to comfort all who mourn, to console those who mourn in Zion, to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for MOURNING, the garment of praise for the SPIRIT OF HEAVINESS… (Isaiah 61:1-3)
Treating depression’s natural symptoms is good and necessary. However, if that treatment doesn’t include addressing the spiritual root, then all of our efforts will be in vain.
2) Depression Stems from Fear.
Back in 2009, for about half a year, I wrestled with depression. Eventually, I had a mini-breakdown. I shut down emotionally, socially, physically, etc. and the ugly root of it all was fear. Fear comes with torment, but that torment is illegal for those those who belong to God. Fear and its torment only stay where they’re tolerated.
There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. (I John 4:18)
For God has not given us a SPIRIT OF FEAR, but of power and of love and of a SOUND MIND. (II Timothy 1:7)
With the recent developments about Robin’s dealing with bipolar disorder and the early stages of Parkinson’s Disease which he was “not yet ready to share publicly,” it would seem that fear had definitely taken root in this star’s life.
3) The Higher Your Profile, the More Likely Depression Will Target You.
While depression is an equal opportunity oppressor, it is also more likely to attack those in public view such as celebrities, ministers, and more. Why? Simply because you are higher up on Satan’s radar and the higher up you are, the harder you fall, and the harder you fall, more people will be affected by your fall. This is also why prayer for our leaders is immensely important.
4) Struggling with Depression Doesn’t Make You Any Less Spiritual.
This is an unfortunate falsehood that some teach. It’s giving in to depression that displays your lack of faith either in general, or in a particular situation. How you deal with depression shows the level of your faith and knowledge of Scripture. Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And it is the Word of God which–if believed and applied–will sustain us in our battle against depression.
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for PULLING DOWN OF STRONGHOLDS, CASTING DOWN ARGUMENTS and EVERY HIGH THING THAT EXALTS ITSELF AGAINST THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOD, BRINGING EVERY THOUGHT INTO CAPTIVITY TO THE OBEDIENCE OF CHRIST, and BEING READY TO PUNISH ALL DISOBEDIENCE when your obedience is fulfilled. (II Corinthians 10:4-6)
5) Where Depression is, Suicide Will Always Follow.
Depression and suicide go hand-in-hand; they’re partners in crime. The one prepares you for the other. If Job were alive today, he’d probably be put under psychiatric watch due to his potentially suicidal state. If you’d lost everything and everyone you had in one day, you’d be highly depressed too! Chapters like Job 3 are spent deploring the day of his birth and again, we locate fear.
For the thing I greatly feared has come upon me, and what I dreaded has happened to me. (Job 3:25)
Yet through it all, Job’s faith in God sustained him. When we choose to wallow in depression and entertain thoughts of suicide, we deny the redemptive work of the Cross and give ourselves over to worldly grief whose end is death.
In one of my favourite books/movies, “Anne of Green Gables” and her caretaker, Marillia, have an interesting exchange.
Anne: Can’t you even imagine you’re in the depths of despair?
Marilla: No I cannot. To despair is to turn your back on God.
Whatever you do, don’t turn your back on God!
6) Suicide is NEVER the Answer.
Someone once told me of a woman who’d received a divine revelation of the spirit of suicide. It consists of melodies from an ominous organ that plays at one’s vulnerable points in life. You could call it the Pied Piper from the Pits of Hell. How many have tried time and again to answer its call? How many have been lulled to death by its melodies?
Twice in my life, I’ve heard Pan’s flute in my ear.
The first time, I stood on the edge of a mountain on a trip and the spirit said,
The second time, during my mini-breakdown, the spirit said,
Let a car hit you.
The circumstances that drew Pan were, in retrospect, trivial. Nothing compared to the brightness of my future or the weight of grief loved ones could have been burdened with had I answered the his call. Yet without my knowledge of the Word and IMMEDIATELY casting down of those diabolical suggestions, imagine where I’d be now. Imagine if I would be now.
Dear Robin Williams who once portrayed Pan eventually succombed to the real Pan’s song. Experience doesn’t have to be your teacher. Let Robin’s tragic death be lesson enough.
- Robin Williams Didn’t Die from a Disease, He Died from His Choice (Matt Walsh)
- Overcoming Depression (Apostle Guillermo Maldonado)
- Overcoming Fear (Apostle Guillermo Maldonado)
- A Grief Observed (C.S. Lewis)
- The Problem of Pain (C.S. Lewis)