Be of Good Cheer Glenn Harrell 12-16
“I have told you this, so that you might have peace in your hearts because of me.
While you are in the world, you will have to suffer. But be of good cheer!
I have defeated the world.” John 16:33
Are you a Deplorble? How about an Elite Leftist? Perhaps you are blue collar, or even blue collar with stains? Might you be a white collar, sharply pressed with extra starch, gold cuff links from the limited collection? You might be someone like me who thinks it unfortunate that such labels exist at all. Per statistics, no matter our financial status or station in life, at many points in and throughout life, each of us will consistently experience depression and we will seek to find peace, joy and good cheer. We will, of our own nature and personality, make choices that bring us delight and ones that harm us as well.
A lot of honest humor was portrayed on the 1982-1993 TV sitcom. While it was refreshing, it could not keep up with the deceptive elephant in the room. Depression and alcohol often end up as buddies who co-dependently support one another. Here is where real life and the Hollywood acting job have a face-off. Cheers even brought in Kelsey Grammer to play the role of a psychologist, Dr. Frasier Crane. His wife Lilith, also a psychologist, reminded us all that most professions can spot the problem but few have real life solutions that work.
Wassail and the Spirits
Many of us may try to beat the depressive blues and to be upbeat by using a common deadbeat depressant—alcohol.
Even though this is like using a match box to put out a fire, it won’t stop the ones who are desperate, drowning in their sorrows and unresolved issues—caught up in the downward spiral of addictions tentacles. Then we agree to take an anti-depressant. This is much like the TV advertisements and warnings that,
“Taking this antidepressant may depress you even more. Some have become suicidal.
If you become so depressed that you can’t even move, get up immediately and go to your doctor.
When one type pill isn’t enough, we (pharmaceutical) encourage him to also prescribe this one for you as well.”
Hope and the other Spirit
The longer this world rocks on, the Christian church needs to hear this more and more…
“Others made fun of the Lord’s followers and said, ‘They are drunk.’” (Acts 2:13)
Watch the late night TV shows and you find this to be a common theme. These brilliant comedic minds learn very quickly that it is fun knocking the Christians around for their odd beliefs and actions. I want to add that many times they are just in their comedic jousting—their ability to see the hypocrisy and inconsistencies of those professing to be a Christ-follower. The most classic and deserved is any group of people claiming to know Jesus and yet hating on others at the same time. Then there are the sad TV “Evangelists” who practice their happy-Jesus fund-raising skills before the world.
The Suffering Christ
“While you are in this world”, Jesus said, “You will have to suffer.” Peter reminded us all that there is a just suffering that comes from obeying the gospel and then there is a suffering that comes from our own stupidity.
“You don’t gain anything by being punished for some wrong you have done. But God will bless you, if you have to suffer for doing something good. After all, God chose you to suffer as you follow in the footsteps of Christ, who set an example by suffering for you.” (I Peter 2:20-21)
This Christmas Season, let us all suffer for doing something good. In this we find true CHEER.
– Suffer financially by giving sacrificially.
– Suffer physically by using your body to benefit others through your God given skills and talents.
– Suffer emotionally by visiting an orphan or a widow. Gain perspective on thankfulness and true wealth.
– Suffer the pains of withdrawal. What is it that, by fostering and supporting as habit, we deny God his rightful place as sovereign Lord and provider. Would you or I allow a robber or a rabid animal free access into our home and inner sanctum where our children play and find security? No, we would not. Yet, we allow in, with unfettered access, those things that bring phony cheer, false hope and utter ruination.
Peace and Cheer in the world happens when I have the peace of Christ in my heart. His peace, not mine, has defeated this world and its false hope bravado. Cheers and suffering to you and yours this blessed Christmas season.
CONSIDER DEPRESSION AS A SYMPTOM OF SOME OTHER PROBLEM. PERHAPS THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM IS THAT I’M TO CONTROLLING, TO PERFECTIONISTIC, TO ANGRY, TO COMPLAINING, OR TO SELF-CENTERED AND THEREBY DRIVE OTHERS AWAY. DEPRESSION MAY BE A BY-PRODUCT OF THIS UNDERLYING PROBLEM. BY FOCUSING ON THE SYMPTOM, WE CAN OVER-LOOK THE PROBLEM WHICH PRODUCED THE DEPRESSION.
TO DEAL WITH THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM REQUIRES AN HONEST AND FEARLESS INVENTORY OF OURSELVES, AND THE HUMILITY WITH COURAGE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. NO PILL CAN PROVIDE THAT HONESTY. CERTAINLY, ALCOHOL ABUSE IS COMMONLY USED TO DULL THE DEPRESSION, BUT DOES NOTHING TO SOLVE THE UNDERLYING PROBLEM WHICH ONLY CONTINUES TO GROW.
I SUGGEST ONE OF THE MOST CRITICAL WAYS OF BECOMING MORE CHRIST-LIKE, IS TO BE ABLE TO MANAGE OUR REACTIONS TO PROBLEMS AS HE WOULD REACT TO THEM. TO HANDLE OUR ANGER, OUR PRIDE, OUR EXCESSIVE SELF-JUSTIFICATIONS, OUR COMPULSIVE FEEL GOOD SOLUTIONS…TO HANDLE OURSELVES AS CHRIST WOULD.
ONE MIGHT CONSIDER SPENDING LESS TIME DOING “GOOD” TO COVER OUR GUILT, AND DOING MORE REPENTANCE TO REMOVE THAT WHICH CREATES OUR GUILT.
DO GOODER SERVICE MAY BE ANOTHER FORM OF DEALING WITH THE SYMPTOMS, RATHER THAN THE UNDER-LYING PROBLEM. THIS IS FOR EACH OF US TO DECIDE FOR OURSELVES. NO PILL CAN REMOVE THE UNDER-LYING GUILT; PILLS JUST SWEEP GUILT FURTHER UNDER THE RUG OF DENIAL.