Monday, September 16, 2013

Depression and sin

From a sermon by Bromleigh McCleneghan, reminding us why and by Whom we are valued:
.... The Psalmist speaks to many of our hearts when he prays, remember not the sins of my youth or my transgressions, but remember me according to your steadfast love.

These are among my favorite lines of the Psalms. My youth was not so remarkably sinful; I’ve invested a lot in being a good girl over the years. But I want to be known by God, remembered, as the person I long to be, as the person I sometimes am, and not for my myriad and mundane failings. ....

It’s not sinful to be lonely, nor to be depressed, but to me this is the heart of what sin and faithlessness do – they isolate me and make me feel as if I will never really be a part, known or loved, again. I wish I could say I avoid sin because I am so good, but it’s not true. I avoid sin because I hate this feeling with all that is in me. I want to avoid it. The memories of when I have felt that way are terrible enough, and somehow remain ever fresh. I can conjure that isolation with little effort.

This is also how many describe the feeling of clinical depression, of a major depressive episode. To be constantly standing outside one’s own life, without agency, will or power to connect, or to hope that things might change. To bear the weight of hopelessness and loneliness. ....

Depression and sin – not one and the same, but in this alike – tell us that we are replaceable. That those who love us do not really know us, that our failings and our brokenness are the only memorable things about us. That they are all we will be remembered for.

But those are lies. Depression, sin, self-loathing: they lie to us. For we are all, each of us, beloved by God. The Lord God remembers, not the mistakes and fears on which we ruminate and base our self-loathing, but the steadfast love from which we are created and which is ever extended toward us. ....

.... I often feel like one of the 99 sheep who has never wandered off, wondering why God is leaving to get the one. But, well, that’s just the nature of God. God comes to get the one. Even me, even you, even when the bubble separates us from everyone, even when we are lonely and afraid. Even when we think there is no hope. God remembers us, notices that we have wandered off alone and are endangered. God remembers us, each of us, and knows that even though there are 99 still safe, that one, even that one, can never be replaced. You cannot be replaced.

You are remembered according to the steadfast love of God. And you cannot be replaced. .... [more]