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How can I handle discouragement and depression?

Approximately seven per cent of Americans, nearly fourteen million, experience depressive disorders. Since the bride of Christ is to go through the same experiences as the rest of the race (1 Corinthians 10:13), it is no surprise that true Christians often experience the same disorder. This issue of The Herald is dedicated to taking a Scriptural look at this serious ailment to see how some of the great heroes of the Bible fought this disabling problem.

The first article, Coping with Depression, provides an overview of the subject and shows the difference between clinical and spiritual depression.

Then we look at the lives of biblical individuals who struggled with this problem. Job’s Depression and Final Victory explores Job’s conflict with depression and how he handled it.

David at Gath analyzes the beloved king’s behavior and how he later repented of his actions when he wrote a psalm about his emotions.

Out of the Depths is a verse-by-verse study of David’s hymn of thanksgiving found in Psalm 130. He thanks the Lord for the many times God delivered him from all dangers, both real and fancied.

King Saul’s Woes shows us a king who was not successful fighting his mood swings. Even the therapeutic sound of David’s harp could not control him in his fits of rage.

Peter’s Discouragement looks at how Peter fought his battle with discouragement after he realized he had disavowed knowing his Lord and Master.

The Tears of a Prophet describes how the sorrow Jeremiah felt over the future of his beloved Jerusalem caused him to write an entire epic poem of his lamentations.

The concluding article, As a Man Thinketh, finishes our analysis of this subject and prescribes proper self-love, as distinguished from self-esteem, as an antidote.

If you are one of the many who has been discouraged or depressed, we hope you find this issue of The Herald of special benefit.

Read more here:

Bible Student elder Tim Krupa talks about despair and discouragement here:   Tim_Krupa_Despair_And_Discouragement

58 comments to How can I handle discouragement and depression?

  • Jen

    Psalms 145:16 You are opening your hand
    And satisfying the desire of every living thing.

    17 Jehovah is righteous in all his ways
    And loyal in all his works.

    18 Jehovah is near to all those calling upon him,
    To all those who call upon him in trueness.

    19 The desire of those fearing him he will perform,
    And their cry for help he will hear, and he will save them.

  • Jen

    James 5:11 ” Look! We pronounce happy those who have endured. YOU have heard of the endurance of Job and have seen the outcome Jehovah gave, that Jehovah is very tender in affection and merciful.”

  • Anonymous

    No I am going away for the weekend and won’t be online. Sorry. Thank you though. Enjoy your weekend

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Jacqueline, You do understand!!! And I understand everything you are saying and I’m trying to trust Jehovah and myself. You are so on the money in everything you’ve said. No man should make another feel this fear and condemnation. I am starting by trying to wrap my head around the fact that I can still serve God and obey him without being what “they” say I have to. In my mind if I’m not a Witness it means that I will no longer be religious. I am starting to see that maybe thats not true.
    Thank you so much.

    • Jacqueline

      Anonymous,
      I just got in my hotel room (Thursday). My 3 day Chicago Convention will start tommorrow. I think you can look in on the computer. When I get there on site I will post how you can get in. I am going to give you a temporary name now so I can tell them to let you in and I will know when you are so I can say hello to you. I will stand in front of the camera when I see your name and wave. We can take our computer. I have different translations on my computer. They don’t make you use one Bible translation.
      We also eat real plates of food, like old times. Oh, and you will love this one.
      The young people are in other sections by age. So a 7yr old does not have to sit and listen to our deep talks. Young teenagers have different levels of learning. I wish my children could have had this.
      I am going to call you Carol, so I will know when you are on (there might be more than one anon). I will also keep you updated during the convention, by blogging below your name on this site.
      Check your computer for messages from me tommorrow, it will be just like being there. Now I have to call another sister and let her know I will post the codes to look in on computer. You will ove it. until tommorrow. Jacqueline

  • Jacqueline

    Hi Anonymous,
    I think the question is what is this one true way.
    John 14:6 “Jesus says I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except thru me.” We often times think it means an organization but it means coming to Christ. He is the way to get to Jehovah. It has recently been said that a person must accept the GB in order to get to Jehovah. We often cannot live up to the expectations of the GB. They live in an Ivory Tower not in the common real world. So many witnesses just can’t do all the things they put on us, and the extreme guilt talk put at us by the CO or DO. I think that is the problem.
    Matt 23:4 Jesus says, “They bind up heavy loads and put them upon the shoulders of men, but they themselves are not willing to budge them with their finger. This was the Sanhedrin the ruling or governing body that had built itself up at the first coming of Christ. It was oppressive to God’s people like our governing body is to the witnesses.
    I understand what you are saying. It’s impossible to live up to their standards and it takes you away from the Bible’s counsel.
    Matt11:30 Jesus says “My yoke is kindly, my load is light. So if you are feeling loaded down it is not from Jesus or God.
    1John 4:18:” There is no fear in love.” John 15:13 “No one has greater love than this, that someone should surrender his soul in behalf of his friends.”
    Most JW have not learned to accept Jesus and rely on him. When we get baptized we are asked if we recognize that our baptism identifies us as belonging to an organization under the FDS and GB. That is not accepting what Jesus’ death really meant.
    I hope you understand what I am saying. We have to learn all over again about THE Way. Paul said at Acts 22:4 ‘ And I persecuted the Way to the death.’ Was Paul persecuting an organization? NO! It was people that recognized Jesus they were what we call Christians.
    You can get the Bible, pray for holy spirit and read and understand.
    The watchtower says you cannot understand the Bible without the society’s publications. So you are losing out on Holy Spirit. It can’t get through. Most JW are afraid of the men in the organization, not God. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.(Ps111:10) And the fear of men is what lays a snare.Ps. 118:6 encourages us not to fear man, they can’t do anything to you.
    I was a witness over 60 yrs. I know what you are talking about, but one must get to the root of the problem first.
    It is not really learning about Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. Pray for Holy Spirit to help you understand and let it in, don’t feel guilty if you just need to read the Bible sometime without a book always telling you what it means. Where there are two or three, Jesus says I am there.
    I recently connected with the LA. Bible study on Tuesday nite, another sister was also on. It was like being right there with everyone. You get to read a scripture, comment etc. You get to know each one in the group, if they are sick , what’s new, announcements. You receive the scripture to be discussed before hand by email. There is a presiding overseer. Br. Peter can give you that info through private email. I really enjoyed it.
    In Christian Love, my friend, Jacqueline

  • Anonymous

    but so many believe in different things and Jesus said there is only one true way and we must seek and find that. Jehovah doesn’t bless all these different views. I’m not just afraid of death, I’m afraid of life too. Why are there all these questions? I wish I was never born to have to be in such turmoil!!!!!! I will never find peace!!!

    • Jen

      I too am one of Jehovah’s Witnesses and went through what you have described here.I think we have all gone through these same emotions at one time.We are all imperfect(bent) trying to walk straight.Just try to have compassion on the ones you consider difficult and hang on to what you have lived half your life for, Jehovah our one true friend. And never forget he loves you and wants to see you benefit from all he has taught you which results in peace and righteousness.Isaiah 48:17,18

  • Joanna

    Anonymous, I apologize if I gave the impression that I thought your post was to be funny. I didn’t mean that at all. I truly meant what I said that God does love you, and He will work all for good.

    You ask an excellent question, which is being asked by so many, and so often it goes without an answer. You ask “How is God the personification of love but he destroys people? Because we are sinners? If I was born into it how is it my fault? I don’t understand.”

    You are right that God is love. He sent His Son to die for the whole world…not just those who believe in this life. Please look at some of the scriptures I had quoted before, as they truly do give hope for all. I will post them again, as they are some of my favorite scriptures and I think they do help to answer your question.

    1 Peter 3:18 says that Jesus died, the Just for the Unjust. We are all unjust. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus is the savior of ALL men, ESPECIALLY those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10). See also 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.”

    If the smile at the end of my post meant to you that I thought it was funny, that was not my intention. I sign all my posts with a smile, because I want to pass along a smile of encouragement to each person I talk to. Please do continue to post, and if we can be of help or encouragement, that is our desire.
    🙂

    • Jacqueline

      Joanna, it was me. Jacqueline, my post that (I have now trashed) indicated that I thought anon was just making a comment. But I failed to recognize that although I have found peace after learning how God really is, not all JW can smile at some of our beliefs. So I’m the one that spoke lightly. Sorry everybody. I have come to know the Love of God, not this mean vindictive personage, that will punish all non JW at armaggeddon.

      Anonymous’ post is the most important post in probably 99.99 percent of the witness population. I was and most still are afraid of being outside of the organization at Amaggeddon.

  • Anonymous

    my post was in no way funny. I’m terrified. I’ve been a witness half of my life. I beleive the teachings completely but the people are too judgemental and have hurt me alot.
    But HE says, “you are my witnesses”. He has always had a “people for his name”. There is only one road leading to life and the wide road (many) leads to destruction. The wicked (those who don’t follow the one right way) are going to be destroyed with Satan very soon. Like the flood, if we aren’t on the “ark” we will also perish.
    How is God the personification of love but he destroys people? Because we are sinners? If I was born into it how is it my fault? I don’t understand.
    If he never will leave me why do I feel so confused after 25 years. But I don’t think I’m confused. I beleive the teachings, what the bible says but the people make it so hard to live.

    • Jacqueline

      Anonymous, I understand now that you like all of JW have been scared into accepting the thinking of a group of men on the subject of salvation. Please excuse me for not realizing your despair. I know what you are talking about. I will allow Bible students to answer first they have more insight into another way of thinking. Then I will address you later tonight. Pray incessantly. Jehovah has sent you to the right place. We will discuss this doctrine that JW teaches. Please, please forgive me for my prior answer. I made a mistake, I’m sorry. Until later.
      In Christian Love, Jacqueline

      PS. To others , let me explain what JW teaching is on salvation at Armageddon.
      The organization is said to be like the ark in Noah’s day. Any not in that ark perished in the flood. JW do not believe the flood victims benefit from the ransom of Jesus. They teach that the flood was a Divine Judgement period and since Jehovah caused it, those killed by the flood waters, will not be ressurrected from the dead. They previously believed this about Sodom and Gommorrah but Jesus cleared that up and they had to change their belief on that.
      Since the ark is said to represent the organization, then anyone not in the organization of Jehovah’s Witnesses under the Faithful and Discreet Slave Class and now it’s Governing Body will die at Amaggeddon. And they will not benefit from the Ransom of Jesus. They say Jesus died for believing Mankind Only. Thus Billions will die at Armaggeddon with no hope of salvation. (Just as Eight at Flood) and small amount of JW survivors at Armaggeddon will make up great crowd in the Millenium to welcome back ones not killed at Flood or Armageddon. They believe JW are getting out all now for suvival at Armaggeddon.
      This is it in a nutshell. This is not my belief but the belief of the Witnesses. This helps to understand where anonymous is coming from.

    • Hello Anon.
      I can’t say many words because I am romanian
      I can’t take your “scare(fear) ” but I say that you are invited to “know God and Son”; that means you have to start to learn again and to search having the Bible (God’s word) as BASIS for your study. You will be helped in doing that, but it depends on you if you want. And the knowledge which will be released to you will make you free .This is not a lie. This is truth, as Jesus said.
      Now, you said: “I’m alone and scared.”
      well, ( you are not alone ) at this point I will invite you to read here:
      http://www.paradisecafediscussions.net/showthread.php?tid=7135

      Anon, I wish you to obtain the PEACE Jesus is giving us.
      27. “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.

      rus virgil

    • Peter K. (admin)

      Dear Anonymous – There is no scripture in the Bible that says that only those in the JW organization will be spared Armageddon.

      The final Armageddon battle will be centered in Israel.

      Zech 14:2, 3 “2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, … Then the LORD will go forth and fight against those nations, as when He fights on a day of battle.”
      verse 9 “And the LORD will be king over all the earth; in that day the LORD will be the only one, and His name the only one.”
      16 ¶ Then it will come about that any who are left of all the nations that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.
      17 And it will be that whichever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, there will be no rain on them.

      So there will be many survivors of the Armageddon battle in Israel. The people of the earth will need to come to Jerusalem to worship Jehovah or there will be no rain (showers of blessings)

      Also, there is no passage in the Bible that teaches that all those who die in Armageddon will not have an opportunity to come back from the dead in the resurrection.

      God will Bless ALL People
      Acts 2:18 – “on My menservants and… maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days”
      Acts 2:17 – “in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on ALL flesh”
      Gen.22:18 – “In your seed ALL the nations of the earth shall be blessed ” NKJV
      Luke 2:10 – “the angel said…I bring you good tidings of great joy… to ALL people.” NKJV
      Heb 2:9 – “But we see Jesus … that He … might taste death for EVERYONE.” NKJV
      John 12:32 – “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL peoples to Myself.” NKJV
      John 1:29 – “John …said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!
      John 6:51 – “the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world.”
      Isa 40:5 – “The glory of the LORD shall be revealed, And ALL flesh shall see it together ”
      Hag 2:7 – “And I will shake all nations, and the desire of ALL nations shall come” KJV

      Two Distinct Classes Saved – Church and World
      1 John 2:2 – “He is an atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. – Weymouth
      1 Tim 4:10 – God…is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe. NKJV
      Rev 22:17 – “the bride say, “Come!”… Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
      Rom 8:19,21 – “the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God… also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God NKJV
      1 Peter 2:12 – “Gentiles… they may, by your good works… glorify God in the day of visitation.”
      2 Thess 1:10 – He comes to be glorified in His saints & admired among all those who believe
      2 Cor 5:19 – God reconciling the world to Himself & committed to us the word of reconciliation.
      Acts 15:16-17 – I will rebuild tabernacle of David, So that the rest of mankind may seek LORD,
      Rom 11:30 – through mercy shown you [Gentile Christians], they [Jews] also may obtain mercy

    • Kris K. (admin)

      Anonymous,

      Its was good to hear your expression of concern.

      Some thoughts that may help is that we need a sound balance in our doctrinal stand, and also that we need to follow the voice of our conscience.

      About balance, some of the doctrines introduced by the JW – though they may have a correct basis, and they rightly appeal to reason and intellect, yet they have been exaggerated out of proportion. Examples would include the importance of God’s true name and the function of giving a witness. While these are true, they may not have the same priority when included in the body of all the other teachings and God’s plan. However because of the emphasis, they have been made the defining and critical doctrines. This imbalance has led to a mission which in turn imposed an unscriptural organizational burden.

      So my encouragement to you is NOT to assume that everything you have learned at the WTBTs is correct and that it’s only men that have been wrong or judgmental. You need to prove the teachings to yourself, and until you do, there is a possibility that some doctrines are either wrong or out of balance, and yet some others are missing.

      Please consider that our character and religious attitudes are often dictated by our vision of God and his character, or our teachings. If these be wrong (e.g. hell fire in the case of those who believe it), you will see a proportional impact (e.g. judgmentalism) of these on the character an attitude. If you see a judgmental spirit, it may be proper to ask the question, which elements of the ideology specifically may have given rise to such a spirit?

      As for the voice of conscience, I like how John 3:19 encourages us: “This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence: 20 If our hearts condemn us, we know that God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything. 21 Dear friends, if our hearts do not condemn us, we have confidence before God 22 and receive from him anything we ask, because we keep his commands and do what pleases him.(NIV)

      I feel that your post here is tells us that your heart looks for something better, more in harmony with Jehovah’s character. This is pleasing to Him and in no way will He disappoint you, as we read in the above scripture. Our prayers are with you, stay tuned.

      • Anonymous

        Kris, then what is God’s plan? How am I suppose to live my life if I was wrong to be a Witness half my life? Do you understand the turmoil I’m in? I just can’t “see” any other way. I know what they teach is true, I’ve seen it in scripture. God is not cruel and condemning, I condemn myself. I feel like I’m losing my grip on reality. I’m not suppose to let the people’s actions bother me, God will judge everyone for their behavior. How can I be questioning all my beliefs when I had a good relationship with Jehovah. I love God and want to do his will. So why is it so hard? But the bible does say the Jehovah clears out the bad to save his righeous ones. It’s only right, for the good ones, to remove the bad. Isn’t that true?

        • Kris K. (admin)

          Anonymous,

          I would suggest that in order to see a solution here, you may want to revisit the statement like “I know that what they teach is true”. I feel that it is too general of a statement for anyone to make. It’s not possible to accept a “package” and claim it your own without inspecting the contents. As you know, the contents of the package have changed over the years. What would be good is to review each of the segments and see if YOU truly agree.

          Being a Witness all your life would not have to be wrong if you look at the separate contributing building blocks of your faith. If it turns out that you were incorrect on SOME points, you don’t have to feel that everything was a failure. This is the essence of our Christian walk – to grow and make progress and accept corrections. Event the Apostle Paul was saying that to us of himself, Phil 3:13 “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. ” And here is a good verse that allows us to be wrong if we accept God’s leadings “15 Let us therefore, as many as are perfect, have this attitude; and if in anything you have a different attitude, God will reveal that also to you”

          Hope the above is a constructive encouragement for you.

          When you say that God will judge everyone for their behavior, I would agree.

          Now, this judgment will not just be a quick sentence, second death or life. “Clearing out the bad” is valid but it is a process. We should be very careful assuming that second death will affect vast numbers of people in the Armageddon. Please see the scriptures in Peter’s comment. The meaning of the word judgment is “trial” and indicates “probation”
          God’s plan is… “1 Tim 2:4 This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.”

          This and other scriptures (included in br. Peter’s comment above) assure us that God will give ample opportunity to let all come to the knowledge of the truth. This is what the “Day of Judgment is for” – I think we agree that this day of judgement will last 1000 years and not just during the Armageddon? Acts 17:31 “because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”

          • Anonymous

            Yes I know you’re right. I want to believe its ok to search further. But I’ve believed for so long that I found the truth so there is no need to look further. Yes, if that were true, I wouldn’t be having such a hard time again now would I? My fear prevents me and yet God would never want me to live in fear. See, all things seem to be confused in my head. Only time and reflection will solve this. I have a friend who is strong in his convictions of another faith and he will help me.
            Thank you for your help. I have understood all that you’ve said to me.

  • Joanna

    Dear Anonymous,
    Many have felt that way. However, Jehovah loves you and all of the human race. For God SO loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes on him should NOT perish but have everlasting life. Nowhere in there does it say you have to be a Jehovah’s Witness, or of any organization. In fact, Jesus died a Ransom for All…some will tell you that is all types. Let’s see who the all is…

    1 Peter 3:18 says that Jesus died, the Just for the Unjust. We are all unjust. We have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Jesus is the savior of ALL men, ESPECIALLY those who believe (1 Timothy 4:10).

    Jehovah loves you, and all of Adam’s race. Jesus died as a ransom for Adam so that all can be made alive again (1 Corinthians 15:21).

    Don’t be afraid. When you are with Jehovah, you are never alone. We are also with you, but He is the One who never will leave you nor forsake you.
    🙂

  • Anonymous

    but I’m terrified. God is going to kill me if I’m not a Jehovah’s Witness. I’m alone and scared.

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