How would you distinguish between apathy and close cousins like depression, despondency, and what might be called “dry spells”?
It’s important to note that I’m not using the term apathy in a clinical sense, but instead as it pertains to the things Christians purportedly value, the things of God. There is overlap between this kind of spiritual apathy and depression. But there are certain characteristics unique to each. Depression relates to things like suicidal ideation and a pervasive lack of energy or motivation in every area of life.
Apathy, however, tends to be more selective. With the young men I’ve mentored, they are not apathetic about everything. They might be quite excited about gaming, or their girlfriends, or the LA Lakers. Depression tends to be more pervasive, and it might require therapy or other forms of treatment that wouldn’t necessarily apply to apathy.
As for despondency, I define it as a deep sadness, or bewilderment, especially as it pertains to the things of God. If we’re dealing with despondency rather than apathy, what the despondent person needs most is to be comforted.
With dry spells, or what we might call the dark night of the soul, we’re dealing with something that is good and divinely orchestrated. God intends it for our good. The person going through the dry spell just needs help to persevere through it and press into God.
Uche Anizor’s college students know the importance of the Christian life. At least, intellectually.
“But they can’t get themselves to care the way they know, deep down, they should.”https://t.co/LBU1mvrX37
— Christianity Today (@CTmagazine) March 24, 2022