Welcome to tomthinking.com Monday, March 18 2019 @ 07:23 PM UTC
The tragic suicide of Robin Williams left Americans grieving for one of its most beloved entertainers. Soon, media outlets and social media were discussing depression, its effects, and its role in suicide. Some Christian bloggers took the position that depression is a sin. As someone who has experienced bipolar depression I have my own perspective on the issue. To be up front, never in my experience with depression did I ever consider killing myself. I had long before determined that murdering myself was a sin and a violation of God’s plan for my life. However, in 2008, for a period of several months, I was in a severe state of depression. I was mostly nonfunctional. My perspectives were all screwed up. I had a wrong view of myself, my family, my ministry, my life. Though I would not intentionally kill myself, I still wanted to die. If something bad had happened to me, then I would not have done anything about it. I would have let happen whatever would happen, even if it meant letting me die. I suppose that’s as close to suicide as I had ever come.
I recently watched an interesting documentary about four college students who took a trip to Europe for the purpose of discovering true Christianity. Entitled, Beware Of Christians, the college students went traveling about Europe to see how Christianity was practiced and what made it different from their American expression of Christianity. Their purpose was to try and discover what might be called “true Christianity.”
Near the end of the movie the four college students essentially came to a simple conclusion, the truest expression of Christianity is to love God and to love others. While I don’t want to necessarily invalidate their discovery, I find that there is a subtle yet foundational problem in their premise.
They went into the world for the world to change them instead of going into the world to change the world for Christ.
In Luke 24 two of Jesus disciples were walking along a road depressed about the events surrounding Jesus’ death, not yet believing that he had risen from the dead. Jesus met them on the road and upon listening to them he did the following: “Beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (verse 27).
In relating this story, Luke tells us that Jesus can be found throughout the Old Testament. Here is one example of where Jesus can be found: the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17).
First, follow the lead of your full-time missionary in country. If your missionary has been in your target country for at least five years it’s most likely that they’ve come to know the culture and its expressions in such a way that they understand the dos and don’ts of making disciples in their host country. Instead of planning what you will do, involve your missionary in the planning process, or perhaps allow them to come up with the plan. They know the needs and probably have many ideas how to address them. All they need are the resources and manpower to get it done.