Mature Class Study, teacher Edith Tolbert.

January is the month of the year with the most depression because of the weather or other reasons. God has a remedy.

John 10:10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

The devil wants to take our peace, joy, contentment – to steal, kill, and destroy. He does it through our mind. The feelings are depression, discouragement, agitation, anger, anxiety, emptiness, impatience, loneliness, sadness, trouble making decisions, trouble concentrating, nightmares; feeling isolated, helpless and in despair. The devil will try to work bitterness in your heart if you get discouraged long enough and people offend you, so you’re anxious and angry. God has a remedy for that. We have to be careful we don’t get angry and let bitterness work. A neighbor thought they were crazy or something was wrong with them because of feeling they couldn’t think straight. They were discouraged, angry, impatient, having a lot of anxiety and trouble making decisions, not feeling they could manage things, feeling like nothing was going right, and their mind was in a turmoil. They were suffering from grief from losing a loved one.

Grief and depression have a lot of symptoms. The enemy wants us to be discouraged so we won’t be what God wants us to. Our feelings may be totally contrary to how things really are. During Desert Storm a pilot was going to bomb a weapons plant in Iraq. He flew in total darkness and had to solely trust his instruments. He became disoriented when he did a maneuver to avoid the enemy. If he hadn’t made the right decision, he would have crashed into a mountain in seconds.

“His mind was telling him his plane was in a climbing right turn, but when he checked his instruments, they indicated he was in a 60 degree dive towards the ground!  He was sure he was in a climb instead of a dive, and his mind was screaming at him to lower the nose of his F-15 to halt the climb. While his mind commanded him to correct the plane in one direction, his instruments instructed him to do just the opposite. Because he was flying in total darkness, he had to decide quickly whether to trust his mind or his instruments.  His life depended on making the correct choice. Even though it took everything within him to overcome what his mind was telling him, he decided to trust his instruments. He rolled his wings level and pulled his F-15 upward, which drew seven times the force of gravity, pulling the aircraft out of its dive. It only took a few moments to realize he had made the right decision. If he had lowered the nose of his jet like his mind had been telling him, he would have crashed the plane. Trusting his instruments saved his life!” (Kent Crockett, The 911 Handbook)

When depression or feelings of hopelessness come, God wants us to go to his word for encouragement. All the people were grieved and wanted to retaliate against David at Ziklag in their grief. David wasn’t responsible for what happened. When people get bitterness in their heart, they want to strike out at anyone. David encouraged himself in the Lord.

I Samuel 30:1-6 And it came to pass, when David and his men were come to Ziklag on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the south, and Ziklag, and smitten Ziklag, and burned it with fire; And had taken the women captives, that were therein: they slew not any, either great or small, but carried them away, and went on their way. So David and his men came to the city, and, behold, it was burned with fire; and their wives, and their sons, and their daughters, were taken captives. Then David and the people that were with him lifted up their voice and wept, until they had no more power to weep. And David’s two wives were taken captives, Ahinoam the Jezreelitess, and Abigail the wife of Nabal the Carmelite. And David was greatly distressed; for the people spake of stoning him, because the soul of all the people was grieved, every man for his sons and for his daughters: but David encouraged himself in the Lord his God.

David went to the priests for help and prayed about what to do. God gave him direction. God always has an answer for your problem. Sometimes we need to go to our pastor about our problems.

I Samuel 30:7-8 And David said to Abiathar the priest, Ahimelech’s son, I pray thee, bring me hither the ephod. And Abiathar brought thither the ephod to David. And David enquired at the Lord, saying, Shall I pursue after this troop? shall I overtake them? And he answered him, Pursue: for thou shalt surely overtake them, and without fail recover all.

We’re all going to be offended at some time. Offenses are so we will learn longsuffering, forbearance, and forgiveness. God doesn’t want us to hold onto offenses or hurts from our past. On the cross, Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34). Sometimes people will hurt you without realizing what they did. Jesus was hurt on the cross but he forgave, even as he continued suffering the pain. He felt like God had forsaken him but he was still trusting God and had forgiven those who hurt him. We have a memory and will remember when we’ve been hurt, even when we have forgiven. It isn’t true that when you forgive, you will forget.

Matthew 18:7 Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!

Jesus said Peter should forgive 490 times if someone sinned against him. Jesus meant we need complete forgiveness.

Matthew 18:21-22 Then came Peter to him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus saith unto him, I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

A servant owed what would be $16 million today. The king had compassion and forgave all of the debt. That servant would not forgive his fellowservant for $15. The king remembered how much debt he had forgiven the first servant when he didn’t forgive his fellowservant.  The servant who was forgiven had no compassion for his fellowservant.

Matthew 18:29-30 And his fellowservant fell down at his feet, and besought him, saying, Have patience with me, and I will pay thee all. And he would not: but went and cast him into prison, till he should pay the debt.

Years ago a woman came to be saved and Sister Edith asked if she was willing to forsake all sin and forgive everyone who had wronged her. She said she’d never forgive her mother for what she did to her when she was a child. She left church and never came back. If we remember a wrong that was done to us, we need to make sure there’s no bitterness, revenge, desire to get even or for something bad to happen to them. We must be sure we’ve forgive everyone for wrongs.

Matthew 18:34-35 And his lord was wroth, and delivered him to the tormentors, till he should pay all that was due unto him. So likewise shall my heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from your hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses.

How do we take offenses? We have to be filled with the love of God to be able to forgive and cover a multitude of sins.

I Corinthians 13:4-7 (Amplified Bible) Love endures long and is patient and kind; love never is envious nor boils over with jealousy, is not boastful or vainglorious, does not display itself haughtily. It is not conceited (arrogant and inflated with pride); it is not rude (unmannerly) and does not act unbecomingly. Love (God’s love in us) does not insist on its own rights or its own way, for it is not self-seeking; it is not touchy or fretful or resentful; it takes no account of the evil done to it [it pays no attention to a suffered wrong]. It does not rejoice at injustice and unrighteousness, but rejoices when right and truth prevail. Love bears up under anything and everything that comes, is ever ready to believe the best of every person, its hopes are fadeless under all circumstances, and it endures everything [without weakening].

I Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

Forgiveness is a choice you chose. Forgiveness is not excusing things. We excuse young children because they don’t know any better. It’s up to you if you forgive or not. Forgiveness is not rejecting justice. When a crime was committed, it needs to be reported and that doesn’t mean you haven’t forgiven them. Forgiveness is a matter of the heart and you need to make sure everything is on the altar. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you let someone walk all over you. We need to set boundaries. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you trust someone. If you caught someone stealing from you, you can forgive them but still not trust them. We must have an attitude of love and be willing to take wrong but still not have a bitter, unforgiving attitude. The enemy wants to steal, kill, and destroy through depression, discouragement, distress, and grief. We all have to battle these things when the enemy comes. God wants us to fight a good fight, claim the promises, and know that the promises are true. God tells us to be strong and of good courage. If depression lasts more than a month, you may need medical help. We don’t find fault or criticize those who do so. God wants us to trust him, knowing he is with us to hold our hand.  Trust the word and not your feelings. God has victory in the battle over depression for us.