I read this great article today in Relevant Magazine. The name of the article is How To Help a Friend Fight Depression.
In dealing with members of my family who have dealt with depression, I can tell you I have had both wise and grace filled responses from Christians, and well meaning but ignorant responses from Christians.
I can tell you, the wise and grace filled responses make the situation much easier to get through.
This article goes over 7 Dos and Don'ts for helping a friend who is struggling with depression.
1. Don't Judge
2. Don't Tell Me To Believe in Things I Already Know
3. Learn to Listen
4. Don't Try and Fix It
5. Sit With Me
6. If You Give Advice, Back it up with Support.
7. Pray For Me and With Me.
Many of these lessons I had to learn by trial and error. Because I made mistakes. I was judgmental. I did cram Christianity down my loved one's throat. I often was afraid to listen, and wouldn't take the time. I wanted to fix it. I was afraid or uncomfortable to sit. I would give advice, but wouldn't back it up with support. And sometimes I was too afraid, or angry or confused to pray.
But, as time went on, and God in His infinite love and mercy opened my eyes and showed me some things, I started understanding depression a bit, and how it works. I backed off. My attitude changed. I wasn't so harsh or judgmental.
I learned to listen. I didn't try to fix things. I sat. I prayed for them and with them.
And that is when the light began to shine in the darkness.