The last two posts dealt with depression. I was encouraged by the comments and their quality. For the last two days, I have received and have tried to respond to numerous e-mails in which people shared their personal experiences with depression. Many, many people have experienced this in some form.
Not long ago, I posted about "the big pink elephant in the middle of the room." These are the big obvious issues that are very real. Yet, many of us choose to ignore them. So what are they? (Just a sample)
Depression--It is sad when our way of dealing with this "pink elephant" is to either stigmatize it ("You know she has real problems, don't you") or trivialize it (Shake it off! Have a better attitude, blah, blah,...).
Alcohol abuse--Families go on for years with some people knowing the secret and others completely in the dark. Yet, I think about what children witness and what they must conclude when it is virtually ignored.
Divorce--People who have experienced divorce need lots of mercy. So many people find themselves divorced who never dreamed they would experience this. Yet, far too many married people pursue divorces in hopes of finally attaining "happiness." Dad ditches mom for the woman in the short skirt who happens to be fifteen years younger. Mom ditches dad because she is bored and really didn't get to date around earlier because they married at a young age. Meanwhile, children are hurt. I'm not just talking about little children. This can severely impact children who are high school age and college students. Adult children. Yet, so often we rationalize our decisions: "The kids will be OK."
Sexual addiction--As I heard in a fine message recently, what we are seeing in our culture is a reflection of what men are honoring. So strippers, porn stars, etc. are now "mainstream." On any given night, you might turn on your television and see a porn star being interviewed as a "celebrity." Meanwhile, millions are huddled around their computers looking at porn site after porn site. Once you start down this road, the appetite for more only increases.
Social segregation--This unfortunately takes place far too often. Unfortunately, it takes place in far too many churches. A church may publicly affirm social and racial diversity. Yet, on a social level, some may choose to spend all of their time with people just like themselves. For example, as some families experience more and more income (and with that, the ability to buy larger and more expensive" toys"), some may limit their friendships to those who have a similar income. Or, some may affirm the importance of having a good racial mix at church but is that making a difference in friendships?
What other "pink elephants" are standing in the middle of the room? No doubt there are more. Those I listed above are just a sample. What would you include along with these?