I was going to put this down in the form of a poem, which quickly evolved into a song. When I got started I realized I just wanted to lay it out. I don’t have any delusions about the quality of my attempts at literary prowess, so why subject you to it? I couldn’t sleep this morning and for some reason started thinking about how the world changes if someone isn’t in it. I’m sure with the Christmas season just passed It’s A Wonderful Life was in the back of my mind somewhere. Most of us don’t live such dramatic lives, but all of our lives are precious.
Depression seems to be epidemic in this country and if my layman’s information is correct the situation is the same across the western world. We all struggle with times of sadness and difficult circumstances that bring us down for a while, and we say we’re depressed. It’s become part of our common vernacular. Then there’s the persistent depression we call clinical depression and dispense medication for. I don’t want to dismiss any real conditions that might cause chemical imbalances in the brain that lead to depression with purely physical causes, though I do wonder which comes first in some cases, the imbalance, or the spiritual and emotional dysfunction. I am speaking in terms that might be considered cold and clinical; maybe ill-informed and unfeeling. If that’s the impression you’re getting, read back over some of the other things I’ve written in this blog. I think you’ll see the evidence of the struggle in my own life. I speak from personal experience and as one who is still on the journey.
Now to answer the question, yes! I am better off dead. I am better off dead to the sin that draws me away from the life that is found in my Lord Jesus and into a death from which there is no salvation. That’s the symbolism of Christian baptism; the death of the old and the birth of the new. I am better off dead to my own selfish desires, which will only lead me deeper into depression. They can only do so because I am not the source of life. Yahweh is the source of life. His Holy Spirit lives within me, but if I will not listen to Him, I will not have the benefit of the only true Counselor.
I believe the best thing we can do to fight depression is to get the focus off of ourselves. I don’t think it helps much to merely contemplate the state of someone worse off than ourselves. We’ve got to get in there and actually help. That’s when things start to change because that’s when we’re doing what God made us to do. We’re made in his image. We’re not going to be healthy unless we’re doing what we’re made for. So are you depressed? You really are better off dead! (See Romans 6, Colossians 3:1-17.) Leave off worrying all the problems you have, serious though they may be. Focus instead on helping someone else solve theirs. I’ll bet you that if your problems don’t get better, your perspective on them will.