In a recent interview I asked Dr. George O. Wood, General Supt. of The Assemblies of God in the U.S., what churches could do to help depressed people. He said this: “we need to develop a culture of honesty in our churches.” At first read, his statement may seem strange. If honesty can’t be found in church then where can it be found?
Sadly, many churches prefer the appearances of Christianity more than true godliness. What happens when people can’t keep up appearances? They often drop out of the faith life. When hard times come, and they do for most, quitting becomes easier than honesty.
In some circles, it’s expected that Christians dress well, be successful in their careers, have good health and be physically fit. The thinking goes that they are representing the King of Kings and nothing less than perfection will do. One Christian university used to turn away overweight students. Their goal was to impress the world with a parade of “perfect” young people. Truth? We’re a motley crew of strugglers. We face the same hardships and frustrations as everyone else.
We know about Moses’ anger, David’s discouragement, Timothy’s nervousness because these Bible writers wrote honestly about their dark times, as well as their joys. Dr. Wood’s honesty about his battle with depression encourages others to admit their struggles.
Let’s put away phoniness and strive for honesty, not only as it pertains to depression, but in every area of life.
Lord, I’m guilty of hiding my heartaches because I fear condemnation. Forgive me for caring about my pride more than I care about being real. Help me to develop honesty, first with you, and also with others.