by Tad Lindley
There are three words that show up much more often in the vocabulary of people who are depressed. Depressed people say them far more than people who have never been depressed or used to be depressed, but have gotten victory over it. Any guesses as to what the three words are?
Made him lose his job
Case in point, the devil. Before the devil was the devil, he was not evil, he was an angel involved with music, he was created for it:
You were in Eden, the garden of God;
…The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes
Was prepared for you on the day you were created. (Ezekiel 28:13 NKJV)
Timbrels are drums and pipes are wind instruments. Plain and simple, he was some sort of music leader among the angels, until his aggressive use of one of these three words cost him his entire career, even his very eternity.
The Five Big I’s
When you read about Satan in the Bible, you find that he got tripped up by the use of the word “I”.
“How you are fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning!
How you are cut down to the ground,
You who weakened the nations!
For you have said in your heart:
‘I will ascend into heaven,
I will exalt my throne above the stars of God;
I will also sit on the mount of the congregation
On the farthest sides of the north;
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds,
I will be like the Most High.’
Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol,
To the lowest depths of the Pit. (Isaiah 14:12-15 NKJV)
Count them up. There are five big I statements that show that Lucifer was more focused on himself and glorifying himself than he was about glorifying God, and it cost him everything.
What about “me”?
The second word that linguistic scientists found showing up disproportionately in the vocabulary of the depressed, is “me”. We can all put our finger on someone who is constantly in a “me first” mindset. Some of them have extreme difficulty seeing beyond the tip of their own nose. This is why the prophet, John the Baptist, said in John 3:30, “He [Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease.” Paraphrasing for him, “Guys, this isn’t about me, it’s about Him!”
The third word that is overused by the depressed is “my” and its first cousin “mine”. “My” and “mine” denote ownership. This is something that a person has (or feels like they deserve to have). This concept is so powerful that God addressed it in what many refer to as the Ten Commandments. “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.” (Exodus 20:17 NKJV) Let’s unpack the word “covet”. When a person “covet’s” something somebody else has, they are thinking to themselves, “I wish that guy’s wife was my wife”, or “I wish that new sewing machine was mine, I deserve it more than she does!”
Listen to yourself think and talk
The Bible says, Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:45) Are most of your thoughts and words self-centered? If so, it’s time to shift the focus. People who have never experienced depression or who have gotten over depression are far more likely to live longer and better lives. The simple difference is that they have shifted the focus from “I, me, and my” to “us and them and Him”.
Better than Prozac
Man’s answer to depression is “I need more Prozac*”, “I need more marijuana”, “I need more… (fill in the blank)”. Jesus gave this simple prescription for overcoming the grip of the self-centered life. And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. (Luke 6:31) The minute we take the focus off of what happened to me, and how, “I am not getting what I deserve,” and how “this life of mine is not worth living,” and begin to ask God, “Jesus show me how I can help others?”, we are putting him first, others second, and ourselves last, we will be able to rise up from our bed of depression and know joy.
*If you are on Prozac or any other antidepressant please consult your physician before stopping cold turkey. Many lives have been wrecked when coming off of these drugs too quickly.
Tad Lindley is a minister at the United Pentecostal Church in Bethel, Alaska.