Too often we make the mistake of moralising emotions. Making some emotions acceptable to have and others not. One of the emotions that has often been deemed unacceptable, almost sinful, is depression.
The message too often implied to Christians who struggle with depression is that they are failing to live the victorious life, that they are not trusting Jesus enough. That if they simply had more faith then they would experience joy, peace and a fulfilled life. But since they don't, they are a bad Christian. This is simply a lie.
The reality is emotions are neither good or bad, they simply are indicators as to what is happening. Feeling depressed is not a sin, but an indication that something is not right. Statistics tell us that depression will happen to 1 in 5 people in their lifetime. And being a Christian does not safeguard you from ever being depressed. Many people in the Bible experienced depression such as David and Elijah.
And there are many different reasons why someone might feel depressed for an extended period of time. It could be a problem with their brain chemistry, dealing with a difficult time, stress, unresolved past or present traumas, the loss of hope or a combination of all of the above.
Thankfully we live in a time where medical science has given us many different tools to help us combat depression. When depression is strictly a physical problem, then medication is not a sign of failure, but necessary and wise as it will help push away the dark clouds that have been hovering overhead. And taking medication is not a sign of failure or lack of faith anymore than someone seeking medical help when they have a heart condition. Let me say it again, it is not a sin to have any emotional problems any more than it is a sin to have a broken leg or diabetes.
But when the depression is more than just physical, but rooted in emotional issues, then medication can be helpful, but it will not be the long term solution. Instead the medication might give some time and space to find more help. And the best place to look for that deeper healing is to Jesus. For in Him we discover freedom from our hurts, rejection and to find real hope from the person who loves you.
At Crossways to Life we have much experience in walking with Christians who are battling depression, helping them to discover freedom and healing in Christ. If you, or you someone you know, is battling with depression then please contact our office to make a counseling appointment. It may be your first step towards a brighter future.
"The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10