“Perhaps you picked up this small book out of desperation. Perhaps, like many Christians, you are secretly suffering from mental or emotional distress—maybe depression or panic attacks—and you have tried many remedies but are growing no better, only worse. Or perhaps someone in your family is suffering in this way and you just don’t know how to respond or help. Or possibly you are a pastor who feels helpless when you know that one of your beloved sheep suffers from mental distress. Whatever your reason for opening this book, I hope you will find something in these pages that will either help you in your suffering or that will help you in ministering to the suffering.”
It is this paragraph that opens the book Christians Get Depressed Too, a balanced, helpful and informative book by Dr. David Murray, a Christian pastor of many years. The above quote summarizes the mission statement of this small book, which is designed more as an emergency guide to the depressed Christian. And out of all the books I’ve read the past couple years, this has by far been one of the most helpful and profitable.
Murray throughout the pages takes his time in clarifying many misconceptions about depression, many of them are simply propagated ignorance in Christians circles by a few people overreacting to the massive rise of humanism and overmedication, but instead of reacting properly, those who have created these misunderstandings have swung the opposite direction and brought a culture of shame on Christians who suffer from depression. Murray takes his time in clearing that up, and lifting the veil off of this dark subject.
He gives a very simple breakdown on what it is like to be in the mind of the depressed person. Letting you know what exactly is going on, this comes from much research and counseling that he has done throughout the years with those who struggle with depression and anxiety disorders.
Much time is spent on that and also a great portion is directed to investigating the various causes. Unlike so many in evangelical circles, Murray does much service to the Christian reading by acknowledging, addressing and communicating accurately the chemical factor to depression, instead of beating someone over the head about presumed sin in their life, and becoming like one of Job’s friends who were nothing more than “miserable comforters”. Murray’s pastoral care, compassion and knowledge of this subject is clearly seen in this chapter.
One of the chapters that will surely grab your attention, is the chapter on the cure, which is more of a guidebook to the recovering. The principles he lays down are invaluable and must be read carefully.
Lastly, a chapter that makes me want to put this in the hands of every pastor, is the one on caregivers. How is someone to react to a Christian suffering from this disorder? That’s what Murray attempts to explain, and advise about in this chapter. Giving simple guidelines to follow, explanations and careful directions for those who are on the outside of this darkness, and how they can help someone who is drowning in it.
Truthfully, this is probably the most helpful book I’ve read on the subject. It really gives a clear, balanced insight into the darkness of depression, and after being on the inside for a long time, to pick up a book where the author really seems to understand was so refreshing. The chapter on the condition resonated strongly, as it was like this man has been in my mind, and the compassion showed for those who deal with it in the form of a mental disorder, treating it carefully because of the stigma attached, was encouraging. If you are a Christian who struggles with depression, then I speak from the grounds of experience, that you should pick up this book—it is truly helpful.
All in all, the honesty contained in this book, and the clarity earn it a high rating—but the balance of Scriptural reasoning, pastoral understanding, and Christian compassion make it a must-read for anyone who struggles with depression, or those who watch their loved ones in this agony. I give it five out of five.
Published on 16 February, 2013. Last updated on