The dark and murky world of Melancholy
Posted by appolus on February 3, 2014
There is a very dark and murky world of Melancholy. It presents many dangers to the world at large and specific dangers to Christians and should be avoided at all costs. Now what is this world of melancholy? It’s a world of past events that exists in the minds of all humans. The more tragic the event or events are, the more deeply someone can be drawn into this world. It also can depend upon the sensitivity of the person and their over all emotional make-up , but nevertheless, it can affect everyone.
Hippocrates said that the causes of the effects of this ” world,” were due to an excess of ” black bile,”which is why we have the word ” melancholia,” meaning black bile. Of course this is not true but it is somewhat of an appropriate description, it conjures up images that are not out-of-place. Okay, two examples of the world of melancholy and why I believe it has a dangerous spiritual element. Example number one is a dear saint from Scotland whose adult son was shot and left to die in the street. This made many headlines in Scotland as we do not have a lot of guns or gun related murders. She publicly announced her forgiveness of her son’s murderer and that was a tremendous witness for the Lord. It has now been many years since that murder but she would tell you that every so often this ” feeling” comes upon her. Now this, I would argue, is the call of this world of melancholy, like the sirens of Greek mythology who lured unsuspecting sailors onto the rocks and killed them. What is this ” feeling?” Well, she is drawn into a place where she re-lives all the intense emotions that she experienced when her son was murdered and it begins to drag her down like quicksand.
Example number two is from a dear saint I know whose adult son of 30 committed suicide. The young man hung himself and the dad had to witness his son hanging on a rope in his house. Now this dear saint and his wife have leaned heavily upon the Lord and they have experienced great victory in this tragedy which could have destroyed them and I praise God for that. But the dad will tell you that every so often this ” feeling,” comes upon him and draws him back to the scene he witnessed when he found his son. It begins to drag him down. This is the same testimony of the woman whose son was murdered.
Now, one does not have to have had that level of tragedy in their lives to fall foul of this world. It can be any incident or series of incidents. It could be an act of violence one suffered or witnessed. It could be circumstances related to incidents they experienced as children. Obviously it could be for people who were molested or raped and so on. Whatever the circumstances, one is invited into this world on occasion, perhaps in times of weakness or stress? Why is the word ” invited,” important? Because one does not have to walk through the door when the welcome comes. It is within one’s power to reject it. Now often times people actually go looking for it. They deliberately focus their minds on a time of great tragedy in their lives and they do it for many reasons. Think about method acting, where one draws from a painful experience from their past to illicit certain feelings in the here and now. Think about song writers and poets, they often deliberately enter this murky world to re-engage feelings so that they can record these in their songs or poems.That is why so many people from vastly different back-grounds can connect to a certain poem or song because it brings back to mind the feelings they once felt about a certain situation.
Another group of people who go into this world are those who find it difficult or impossible to feel any emotions at all, probably due to the events that would identify them as candidates to be tempted in the first place. Many people would rather feel something, even if it is negative, than nothing at all. Now the dangers are bad enough if you are sober, but when alcohol or drugs are part of this experience it can often be fatal.
And so, the dangers and the spiritual aspect of this? First of all it takes place in the realms of the ” soulish.” Make no mistake about it, this place of melancholy is real and it’s purpose is to destroy the life of the person that it is attacking. In that world there are any number of demonic influences. The deeper you go into this world, the harder it is to pull our of it. It will manifest itself in all the various forms of depression. If one drinks or uses drugs the lure and effect of the melancholy world will only increase the need to take more and more, a classic vicious circle. I believe this to be one reason why we see so many actors and musicians die from suicide or drug overdose. Every time this world is indulged, for that is what it is, an indulgence, it is harder and harder to pull out of it. Self pity is the key that opens the door to this world.
Prayer and the word of God is the answer to this problem. If you suspect a Christian brother or sister is suffering from this, it must be confronted by prayer and authority. Greater is He that is within us than any spiritual entity that exists anywhere. Just as one voluntarily goes into this world, one must decide to come out of it or once recognized, not go there again for then it is sin-full and dangerous . If the person is not a Christian, then one has to confront the reality of the situation by prayer. Just as the demoniacally possessed can be dis-possessed , then so to can those trapped in this world be brought out of it. We must bear in mind though that if one is not a Christian and is delivered from that place by the power of prayer to God, then there is great danger of them returning to it if they are not born again. This danger also exists for disobedient children of God who would indulge themselves in this world once it has been revealed to them.
Pray saints, pray for those who you know, or ask for prayer if you yourself suffer from entering into this world. One of the reasons Jesus came was to heal the broken-hearted and set at liberty the captives. The dangers and captivity of this place of melancholy are very real . The people who visit or inhabit this world are the broken-hearted. It is a great joy to know the one who can set them free and heal them and deliver them from that which has broken them in the first place and brought them into captivity.