Most people have felt depressed at some level. Whether depression is so serious that it needs medical attention or is something that we can deal with ourselves, God offers hope to the hopeless.
Paper, pencils, copies of the Depression Self-Test (http://www.depression-help-resource.com/cesd-depression-test.pdf)
Connecting with the Scripture Topic
- Allow time for each person to complete the “Depression Self-Test.” Don’t panic if your score indicates depression―this test is simply one tool. Review your results and decide whether or not you need to discuss them with a doctor, counselor, or pastor.
- Before class, read “Questions and Answers about Depression” on the WebMD site (http://www.webmd.com/depression/questions-and-answers-about-depression). Either print this material and take it to class or take notes on the Q&A section and discuss them with the group.
Sharing and Receiving Scripture
- In a world of sin, sickness, and sadness, we sometimes feel depressed. Discuss wrong and right ways that Christians deal with depression in others or in themselves.
- Thought Questions
- When we are at our lowest, we long―even thirst―for God because we know God can help.
- Those who don’t know God may question God’s existence when Christians have problems.
- We need to make the deliberate choice to look at the goodness of God when we’re depressed.
- When we’re depressed, we need to put our hope in God, not in ourselves or other people.
- We use God as a “crutch” when we can’t find other answers to our problems.
- Excessive crying
- Moaning and groaning
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Weakened physical health
- Lack of appetite
- Kept to ourselves, our anguish increases.
- Kept to ourselves, unhealthy emotions are physically harmful to our hearts.
- Kept to ourselves, our negative emotions prevent us from seeing a better future.
- When we share our emotions with God, we know that Someone is listening.
- When we share our anguish with God, we find hope for the future―both on this earth and in heaven.
- It is difficult to find people who live godly lives.
- Those in political office can sometimes be corrupt.
- Neighbors don’t even trust each other anymore.
- Families fight and are torn apart.
- Religious leaders can be so out of touch.
Read Psalm 42. What can we learn from David’s emotional state when he wrote this?
Read Micah 7:1-7. Micah is miserable because he is thinking about all the bad in the world. What troubles him can also discourage us. What do you have in common with him?
Applying the Message of Scripture
Gather in groups of two or three. Choose one of the following options and work on a solution. Then report back to your group when your facilitator says time is up.
- Option 1: If you know someone who is seriously depressed, plan to visit that person this week and urge him or her to seek medical and emotional help. If necessary, offer to make the appointment and to accompany him or her for moral support.
- Option 2: Practice being a good listener to someone who feels depressed. Choose a topic that can cause depression (illness, loss of a job, death of a loved one). Have one person portray someone who is depressed while someone else represents a listener/encourager. Then switch topics and roles.
- Option 3: Discuss what you would say if you worked at a suicide hotline and someone called in and asked, “What’s the use in living?” What would you say to that person? What hope could you offer him or her?
Valuing Scripture in Your Life
- David often wrote about his feelings of depression. Write your own psalm to God that only you will see. Pour out your heart to God as David did―ending with a reason to hope, as David did.
- At the top of a piece of paper, write, “Things I’m Thankful For” and list as many items as possible, even the simple everyday pleasures in life. Keep this paper handy so you can refer to it when you feel there is nothing good in your life.