Thursday, September 13, 2018

A He-Man Like Depression

When I was five, I experienced my first TV cliffhanger. He-Man had battled one of the weekly bad guys and knocked over a tower to do it. Unbeknownst to anyone, He-Man's nemesis, Skeletor, had disguised one of his evil minions (one who literally didn't have a heart) and placed him where He-Man would think the tower fell on him. When He-Man checked his heartbeat and discovered there wasn't one, he blamed himself for killing the man and fell into depression. He turned back into the ordinary price Adam and then chunked his magic sword into a bottomless pit so that he could never again become He-Man and abuse his power. Then the show cut to commercials. I was a devastated five year old. He-Man hadn't done anything wrong! How could he fall for the enemy's trick?! The hero can't get depressed and feel sorry for himself!

But He-Man isn't the only good man to ever get depressed. Job was also a very good man who had done nothing wrong and yet became very depressed. Job finally proclaimed in his depression, “Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. I wish he would crush me. I wish he would reach out his hand and kill me. At least I can take comfort in this: Despite the pain, I have not denied the words of the Holy One. But I don’t have the strength to endure. I have nothing to live for" (Job 6:8-11, NLT).  Job did not know that God was holding him up as an example of righteousness rather than being angry with Job. All Job knew was that his life had suddenly become very difficult and very painful very quickly and he wasn't sure how he could move on.

Far more commonly than we would ever care to admit, we will encounter people who are depressed, sometimes even ourselves. A depressed person has not necessarily done anything wrong, anymore than He-Man or Job did anything wrong. Sometimes, it just means that they are missing some key details. Sometimes it means life is painful beyond their control, that life is hard and there doesn't seem to be anything to be done about it.

The next time you encounter someone who is depressed, whether it is a friend, a family member, a co-worker or yourself, cut them some slack, bear with them, and be patient. Even the best people can face depression.

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