by | Jan 4, 2018 | Depression and Faith | 2 comments

Pride keeps a person from exhibiting this trait. We don’t want others to think we are weak and needy, or to see that we don’t have it all together.

We erroneously equate expressions of this trait with spiritual immaturity and self-centeredness, because demonstrating it requires us to talk about ourselves.

But here’s the inescapable fact: without it, we forfeit the help we need to cope with the symptoms of depression.

The trait I’m referring to is transparency.


What Is A Transparent Christian?

Something is transparent when you can see through it. So a transparent person is someone you can see into and know what’s going on.

A transparent believer isn’t pretentious. She discloses her setbacks and inner turmoil as well as her victories and inner highs.  People close to her know when she’s hurting because she lets them know.  She’s willing to raise a white flag and surrender to the need for emotional and spiritual support.  Specificity and honesty characterize her prayer requests.

If she teaches a Bible class or small group Bible study, with discretion, she shares anecdotes showing how God’s Word challenges and encourages her. Her learners know the truth has touched her affective domain, not just her mind.  She glorifies God because others realize that her perseverance and fruitfulness stem from her dependence on Him, and do not originate from within herself.

She’s real, or authentic about the struggles of following and serving Christ in a fallen world.


Why Is Transparency Integral to Handling Depression?

No one can help me bear the burden of despondency unless I’m willing to disclose it.

God’s Word clearly acknowledges the need for each other in the body of Christ. According to Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” In Galatians 6:2, Paul commands us to “bear one another’s burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Yes, we are told that God Himself bears our burdens (Psalm 68:19), but sometimes His means of doing so are others who know Him.

But they can’t help me bear a burden if they are unware of it. That’s why, on my worse days during a depressive episode, I call my best friend, who prays for me over the phone.

The term translated “burden” in Galatians 6:2 referred to a heavy weight, such as the load on a shipping vessel. If the freight on a cargo ship was too heavy, the boat was in danger of sinking.  Similarly, we are in danger of sinking when others aren’t there to carry part of the load.  Each of us needs a close friend or a small group with whom it’s safe to be vulnerable, so others’ physical presence and prayers can help alleviate the heaviness of a dark spirit.

Getting help from a professional counselor also requires transparency, otherwise we waste time and money.  As a Christian leader in my community, the first time I visited a counselor about depression symptoms, I was reluctant to be gut-level honest.  I was more concerned about my image as a leader than in the healing I needed.  (What will he think if I tell him that? I’ll lose all credibility with him!)

Until I was willing to mention the lack of motivation for daily responsibilities, the extreme hopelessness, the inexplicable bouts of weeping, the irritability with those I loved, and suicidal thoughts, his capacity to help me manage those symptoms was thwarted. Ultimately, I saw the pride affecting me and confessed it.


Can You Give Me An Example of What You Mean?

I know of a pastor who told his story of discouragement, and illustrated how a willingness to talk to someone else enabled him to receive needed help.

The pastor had broached his despair and suicidal thoughts to a friend shortly before he took a walk on the beach. The act of mentioning his despondency over some hard knocks he had taken as a church leader did not immediately relieve his despair.

As the pastor walked, he seriously considered following through on suicide. He couldn’t imagine how things could get any better.  Then the friend with whom he had disclosed his burden started looking for him, finding him on the beach where they had occasionally walked together.  His friend didn’t chide the pastor for lack of faith, nor dish out superficial solutions.  He just kept walking alongside him, listening to the pastor’s venting, told him he loved him, and prayed aloud for him as they walked.

His gift of presence incarnated God’s love and instilled hope in the depressed leader. To use the pastor’s own words, “My life started coming together again.”

His problems didn’t suddenly evaporate, but the pastor gained a new resolve to finish God’s calling on his life for the church he led. His human comforter had experienced a rough patch in his own life, and knew first hand that the sustaining power of God’s Spirit often flows through the care of His people to those who hurt.

But what facilitated the turnaround was the pastor’s willingness to disclose his inner turmoil and pain to another person. Only then could the friend lift the heavy rocks off the pastor’s chest.



When you are hurting, whether the cause is depression or some other affliction, to what extent do you admit your need to a select few whom you can trust?

In addition to talking to another person, do you also vent your burdens to the Lord in prayer? ( See Matthew 11:28-30 and 1 Peter 5:6-7.) Too many times in my pilgrimage, I’ve asked others to pray for a matter when I kept silent before God.

What are the worst possible consequences of being more transparent? Are these consequences worse than the results of keeping your pain inside and bearing the affliction alone?

When you’re despondent, not everyone needs to know. What should describe the person or persons in whom you confide?  On what basis can the people you confide in offer help?


“Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep” (Rom. 12:15).




Please note: comments are closed after two weeks. You are welcome to contact me directly after that time if you would like to share your thoughts.


  1. To find such a friend is a miracle in itself. One who comes alongside and doesn’t “preach at” but prayerfully walks near, close enough to hear – close enough to listen. To find such a friend, is to find a true friend which is rare and precious as buried treasure.

    Melody ~

    • Yes, God created us with missing parts, and he put those parts in other believers. Gal 6:2


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