Monday, September 1, 2014

Gloomy with God

A reader wonders if some people are just naturally gloomy. What does Billy Graham think?
QUESTION: I work with a woman who just never seems to be happy. I’ve tried to be a friend to her, and she doesn’t seem to have any more problems than the rest of us, but she’s never cheerful or optimistic. Are some people just born unhappy? — Mrs. V.L.
In matters like this, details matter. Maybe they just aren't a people person, maybe they do have
something bringing them down but don't feel comfortable sharing this info. I'm certainly more of an introvert than an extrovert, but that doesn't mean I'm not happy.
ANSWER: We all have different personalities, and some people do seem to have a natural bent toward unhappiness (just as some have a natural bent toward happiness and optimism). Sometimes the reasons are obvious (an unhappy childhood, for example) but often they aren’t.
True, but sometimes the problem isn't that the person is unhappy but that they are simply perceived as such. Maybe the problem isn't with VL's coworker, but VL's perception of them. In a work environment where they may just be trying to be private and professional, this could be a very real possibility. Is VL overly perky? I know that would annoy me quickly.
I’m thankful, however, that you’ve made an effort to be this woman’s friend, because I suspect she may not have many friends. (After all, who wants to be around a gloomy, negative person all the time?)
Or maybe she just doesn't want to be VL's friend. Perhaps they want their relationship to be no more than professional. Maybe VL did something to turn her coworker off. Maybe the coworker really is just a sourpuss, but there's no need to so swiftly jump to conclusions when so many different possibilities are available.
As part of this, ask God to help you be a patient and good listener – and also a wise advisor and encourager. You may find, for example, that she has a very negative view of herself and feels she’s worthless, and you can help her realize it isn’t true. The Bible says, “A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver” (Proverbs 25:11, NKJV).
It would be sad if she really does have a feeling of such low self worth. I wonder where that could come from...
The most important thing you can do, however, is to help her see herself the way God sees her.
Oh that's right! The Christian teaching that all are born dirty, vile, worthless and broken. That all are deserving of eternal torment simply for being born. If they believe that, I could see where such a low picture of self worth could come from.
God loves her just as she is
That's not true though. God's love is conditional, just like salvation. Don't worship Jesus? Piss off!
He loves her so much that His Son gave His life so she could become part of His family forever. The Bible says, “This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world” (1 John 4:9).
He loves us enough to commit murder? Sorry, that sounds more like a sadistic stalker than a glowing endorsement.
Then pray for her, not only that she’ll become a more cheerful person, but also that she’ll turn her life over to Christ. And if you’ve never made Him the center of your life, do so today.
Yeah... Because someone that is depressed must be something other than a Christian.  Talk about presumptuous.

-Brain Hulk

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