Ministering to a friend with depression

How should I go about ministering to a friend suffering from depression? He told me he is not a believer anymore and seems to be against Christianity now (for example he said do not pray for me, don’t tell me Jesus is the answer, etc.). I try to understand him so I can help but he gets annoyed by me asking questions. How should I respond to this person?
I have asked a pastor who knows him to reach out.

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@Sgpage Your question really stands out because I can hear the compassion in your question for your friend. When we see someone hurting, especially someone close to us, we want to help. I often wrack my brain trying to support people in my own life who are struggling. It’s hard, but we know our Father is the Great Shepherd who cares deeply for each of His sheep.

While we can be vessels for showing His love to others, it is ultimately God who works in each of our lives. I hope knowing even you and your friend’s situation is not beyond His care and attention gives you hope and encouragement. Ultimately, it is God who works in each of our lives, and we can trust He has our wellbeing in mind.

If you’re looking for a place to start, TheHopeLine has many wonderful resources. You may find these articles helpful on supporting a loved one struggling with depression. I especially appreciate their suggestions of listening and praying.

Listening is crucial for the success of any friendship or relationship, but it’s especially powerful for your friend with depression to know they’re heard. It helps counter their feelings of isolation and reminds them that they are indeed worthy of your time and attention.

You can pray for your loved one with depression anytime. If prayer is part of your daily routine, put them on your prayer list. Ask them if they need more specific prayer. Next time, you read an encouraging or uplifting verse, share it with your friend to remind them of God’s love and care for their heart and their circumstances.

And here is another conversation threads here on Connect you may find helpful, too.

Please know I am lifting up you, your friend, and your pastor in prayer today. One day, I trust your friend will look back on this difficult journey and realize there were people with them every step of the way. Even as your friend seems to distance themselves, and you give them space, knowing someone is within reaching distance can be helpful.

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Sometimes just being a friend is all it takes. Our actions of care and listening can be the most influential and Jesus-like choice. The opportunity to share your spritual heart will be given again. Til then your heart reminded me of a casting crowns song. Check it out: https://youtu.be/GTcjTCt_xYo

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Hey Sadie! @Sgpage
I love your name, by the way :relaxed:

@Brittany_Bowman1 and @Keldon_Scott had such great responses…and I’d second their thoughts!

I have two people very close to me who suffer from depression. I feel at a loss at times… concerned when I can’t pull them out from the dark cloud.

But, then, my friend recently thanked me for showing up- checking in on her. That feeling alone and unnoticed can be what swallows her…so, just sending a text, call to say “hi”, stick a note of encouragement in his door … All of it matters.

I’d say you’re pushing back the darkness with those rays of light. Even if it doesn’t seem like you’re making any ground.

Pray for his mental clarity, that he’d get a break from the fog and come into the clearing for a while.

Depression is such a quiet ill- great job noticing your friend.

Just being thoughtful, checking in, and noticing him may be the way God opens him up to the truth.

You’re a great friend, Sadie!

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@HeidiMitchell @Keldon_Scott @Brittany_Bowman1 thank you all for your responses. I have another question for you guys: If this person is not seeking professional help (therapy, counseling, etc.) should I encourage him to do so? It is clear that he is experiencing depression but he insists he can “handle it on his own.”

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Personally I’d push [gently] for talking to a therapist. This is not my field of expertise.
But having said that I’d certainly practice walk alongside another as Keldon says.
Stay blessed
Bill

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There is no downside for encouragement to seek help, but if you know he is reticent to that conversation then treading carefully would be prudent. Just being a friend and offering direction when he seeks direction, not when we think it is time, may be the best route to help.

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