Wednesday, January 16, 2013

On Liars and Hypocrites, Jeff Foxworthy style.

"If you've ever made change in the offering plate, you might be a redneck." - Jeff Foxworthy
Well....have you?  It's okay to admit it. I won't judge you, nobody can hear your answer, and God already knows, so....

My last post, On Jesus and Zoloft, apparently resonated with a lot of people. I've gotten e-mails and comments and private messages from people all over the world. In the first 48 hours, it was up to almost 200 views. (Up to now, I'd be lucky to get 20 views on any single post since starting this blog last year.) As of today, the page view count is up over 350. Craziness.

I had the post drafted for over a year. For 12 months, I pondered its relevance. It's usefulness. It's necessity. I just couldn't bring myself to publish it. It was probably fear. And pride. Mostly fear.

Last week, I got the courage to finish and publish it thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, Jamie Wright, (aka Jamie the Very Worst Missionary.) She posted a nearly identically-titled post to the one I had drafted. Coincidence? I don't think so. You can find that post here. It's worth reading. And she's worth following. I promise.

Sadly, the most common theme in the comments and messages I received (and also in Jamie's comments on her post) was that the person suffering from depression and/or anxiety had been chastised by their church...for having it. Even more so if they were taking something for it.

I read comments like, "They told me I wasn't praying hard enough" and "They insisted there was some sort of sin in my life I wasn't dealing with properly" and "They told me my faith just wasn't strong enough and I needed to repent" and "Depression is just anger turned inward; Jesus is the only medicine I need."


I get migraines. With them, I usually get severe nausea. I have a prescription for both the pain and the nausea because, otherwise, I'm in the ER getting IV treatments to make them go away. If someone came up and told me I was getting migraines & puking my insides out because my faith wasn't strong enough, I'd probably clock them upside the head with my bible. Ok, I wouldn't really do that...but I'd imagine myself doing it and then I'd feel better for a while.

I absolutely love this comment on Jamie's Jesus or Zoloft post: 
"Why do we continue to treat depression as anything else but a chemical imbalance in need of treatment? No one would even consider that having diabetes is a sin."
So. True. Why are prescription medicines acceptable for migraines but not for depression? Cancer but not anxiety? High blood pressure but not panic attacks? What gives anyone the right to say that one is medically-justified and the other is not? 

I'm actually not surprised though. It doesn't surprise me one bit that the church...have these opinions. Churches are full of people who have no clue about what it means to live and love like Jesus. Churches are full of hypocrites. And liars. And thieves. And adulterers. And the self-righteous and arrogant. But, quite frankly, if they weren't full of these people, churches would be empty. And that includes the stage or podium from which the ones we might hold in the highest regard stand.

But before we go chastising those people and their wretched way for criticizing us for being depressed or anxious, guess what? I'm part of that crowd, too. And I'm willing to bet, whether you're a church-goer or not, or a follower of Jesus or not, so are you. Don't believe me? Well then, let's ponder this a moment, Jeff Foxworthy style.

If you've ever argued with your spouse on the way to church, and then smiled as wide as you could smile when you stepped into the building and told everyone who asked that you were doing "great" might be a liar.

If you've ever found yourself imagining life with someone other than your might be an adulterer.

If you've ever told your kids to stop yelling at you...while yelling at might be a hypocrite.

If you've ever looked around your church and judged the gay couple in the back might be self-righteous and arrogant.

Want to keep going? No? Me neither. But I've done all of the above and I'm heartbroken over every single one of them. But don't be too quick to judge me here. Because my guess is you've probably done them, too. (It's okay to admit it. Nobody can hear you and God already knows.)

Back to the medicine soapbox. I do believe that not everyone on medicines to treat depression or anxiety should, or needs, to be on them. Our Western-world medicine approach is so freakishly fast to offer up a pill to solve everything it jerks a knot in my stomach. Pharmaceuticals are more overused and overprescribed in the United States than in any other country in the world. And I do think Jesus is a large part of the answer for every soul battling these demons (among every other demon known to man...and God.)

The problem is we have become a society of "believers" who think it is our job to put people fighting battles different than ours, or out of our realm of understanding, in their biblical place. But guess what? It's not biblical of anyone to do that. In fact, it is quite the opposite. So who are we really serving when we condemn someone for their battles? Whose interest do we really have at heart here? And, why? 

I am so saddened by all the people who think it's their right to tell someone what's wrong with them and how they should go about fixing themselves. I'm even sadder that it's the people who are supposed to be the least judgmental and the most loving (i.e. our brothers and sisters in Christ) who do this the most. That's not love. That's not compassion (both of which we are called to exemplify in the name of Christ.) Nope. That's judgment with a capital J.  
"For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." - Matthew 7:2
The truth is, the people who are so quick to judge those of us with depression or anxiety (or any other condition they deem un-Christian) are the ones who need the most grace. People who think Christians shouldn't "struggle" with depression or anxiety or anger or homosexuality are grossly misguided and misinformed. And they only make matters worse with their "Jesus is all you need" approach. 

But instead of allowing the judgments of others to eat away at us and bring us even further down in our struggles, let us consider this:
Just because someone, Christian or otherwise, says it, DOESN'T. MAKE. IT. TRUE. It doesn't make it noble. It doesn't make it biblical. And it doesn't make it right.
We cannot control what others think of us or say to us or about us. But we can control our response to them. And we can have grace on them. And we can, amidst the hurt they may have caused or the struggle they may have unknowingly intensified, remember that, like them, we are liars and hypocrites, too. 


If you've ever loved your enemies and prayed for those who persecute might be like Jesus

And that trumps anything anyone could possibly say or do to you.

Love and peace to you, my fellow depressed or anxious or angry or self-righteous or arrogant or gay or lying hypocritical followers of Christ. You are LOVED, no matter what anyone else says or thinks of you. Don't forget that.


  1. Amen! Good message, thank you! I too need to stop being so judgmental about people because I don't know anything about their circumstances. Thank you for the encouraging words!

    1. Thanks Laura! It's so hard to NOT be judgmental. It's just our nature. Self-preservation, maybe! So glad you enjoyed the post. :)