Facing Depression As A Christian: Beware These Misconceptions
Not only can depression make you question God or feel distant from Him, but it can also make navigating Christian community more difficult. Depression can be even more challenging for Christians because, unfortunately, there are misconceptions and stigmas associated with depression in many Christian communities.
When you or the people around you do not understand the reality of depression, it makes seeking help more difficult. Depression can already distort your perception of reality or make you doubt your judgment. Its crucial to be able to recognize what is and is not true about depression.
Many well-meaning people may actually give you bad advice because they dont understand depression.
Does The Bible Have The Answers
Many people wonder if the Bible even addresses the struggle of depression because the word depression doesnt appear in Scripture. However, its important to know the major factors that lead to or increase depression. For example, feelings of depression are most often a result of emotional stress.
Here are some emotionalstressors that multiply feelings of depression:
- Guilt and Shame
- Broken Relationships
Recent studies of individuals battling depression have identified these emotional stressors that multiply the feelings of depression and trigger waves of depressed feelings.
We cannot effectively deal with depression without evaluating our responses to the difficult circumstances and emotional stressors of our life. The Bible provides much guidance on how to respond better.
In order to reduce feelings of depression, we have to learn how to respond to emotional stressors.
Everyone has emotional stressors. Each person has stressors that hurt them and distract them from living a full life as God offers. At BCC, we often say that depression begins with disappointment. Our emotional stressors are often rooted in a deep feeling of disappointment regarding something we had and lost or about something we have longed for and never received. Depression is a progression, which left unchecked can go deeper and deeper. The following chart illustrates how this often happens:
God Can Bring Good Even Out Of Something As Painful As Depression
God can handle your doubts, frustrations, failures and darkest moments because He is astoundingly gracious. He loves you through it all because thats simply who He is.
God will use us to bring hope to others. Hope means the most when it comes, stumbling, out of the dark places.
I find myself in tears whenever I hear people say they want to kill themselves because Ive been there. Empathy is powerful. It enables us to comfort others and know how to pray for them.
As I was healing from a season of deep depression and anxiety, I got to sit next to a young woman who was in the thick of it. I listened. I offered my story. Tears streamed down her face as she whispered, Me too, again and again. I put my arm around this woman and prayed for the things I had needed just a few months before.
Ultimately, God will use us to bring hope to others who are hurting because weve been where they are and made it to the other side. Hope means the most when it comes, stumbling, out of the dark places.
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Which Bible Characters Struggled With Depression
The heroes of the faith loom so large in the consciousness of believers that it often comes as a surpriseand a comforting reassuranceto realize that they were every bit as human as we are. After all, if God worked in the midst of their struggles and weaknesses to accomplish his willoften in extraordinary wayshe can and will do the same in our lives.
Case in point: if youve ever struggled with depression, you may find comfort and encouragement in knowing that several well-known Bible characters seemed to struggle with it as well.
What Are The Causes Of Depression According To The Bible
The Bible would teach us that depression is an issue of directional perspective. Gods plan for us is what we have not seen, and depression establishes itself in what is seen. We get depressed when we see the tragedies and coming nightmares that we feel we cant avoid. We want to see God change the things in our life. We want Him to reach out and change our circumstances and bless our environment so that we can get out of the depression. We look to be blessed outwardly to inwardly. Gods ways are higher than our ways. He doesnt bless from the outside in but from the inside out. Depression is the hopelessness that comes in the absence of Gods blessings. We look outwardly first and when things are not good all around us, we get depressed inwardly. God doesnt work that way.
Ok, sometimes, He does bless us when we are down and depressed. He blesses us outwardly to support our inmost spirit. He does something good in our life to give us hope in our spirit. But if our relationship with God was dependent upon everything around us being good, or at least more good than bad, we would become like spoiled children who want what they want no matter what. We would be unable to praise God until He blesses us outwardly. We would take Him for granted and worship Him for His gifts.
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Jeremiah Wrestled With Great Loneliness Feelings Of Defeat And Insecurity
Also known as the weeping prophet, Jeremiah suffered from constant rejection by the people he loved and reached out to. God had called him to preach, yet forbidden him to marry and have children. He lived alone, he ministered alone, he was poor, ridiculed, and rejected by his people. In the midst of it, he displayed great spiritual faith and strength, and yet we also see his honesty as he wrestled with despair and a great sense of failure:
Cursed be the day I was bornwhy did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame? Jerermiah 20:14, Jeremiah 20:18
This Is My Prayer For You:
Father God, I pray that you will meet your sons and daughters by your Spirit. That you begin to open their hearts to hope and life again. Meet them in the broken and desolate areas of their heart and help them to receive your unconditional love for themselves so that any brokenness can be healed.
Father, if there is anyone who has hurt them, or torn them down with their words, help them to forgive that person and to release that person. Teach them to put on the garment of praise when the spirit of heaviness tries to tempt them. I also pray that you give them courage and endurance in their overcoming journey. Renew their minds by your Word and help them to recognize your voice over the enemys voices. Help them to put all of their hope and trust in you so that you truly can be their deliverer.
Finally, raise them up to be the person that you created them to be, help them to find their purpose and identity in you so that they, too, can experience the fullness of your righteousness, peace, and joy.
In Jesus name, I pray, Amen.
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Coping With Depression: Finding Hope And Getting Help
There is a belief out there that if you are a Christian, you should not be depressed. I hope in this short article you have seen that many people suffer in this way Bible heroes, famous Christians, and you and me. If you have depression, you are not alone but in good company.
I hope I have encouraged someone who is walking through deep water in their life. If you are depressed, there is hope. Hope in Christ and in His promises, and hope that He will send someone to walk alongside you as you recover. If the Lord would help me, then I know He can help you.
If youre interested in meeting with me or another Christian counselor at one of our office locations, please dont hesitate to contact us. Coping with depression can be very difficult on your own, but progress can be made with the right tools and professional guidance. Call today, help is available.
DISCLAIMER: THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE
The information, including but not limited to, text, graphics, images and other material contained on this article are for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please contact one of our counselors for further information.
When We Have Had Great *spiritual Benefits
This was how it was for Elijah. He had had a great experience onthe mountain. What a great success it had been! Godhad showed his power and greatness. Elijah must have felt great excitement. Hewas so happy. Then it came … *depression!
It often happens like that in our lives. There is no naturalreason for it. God has just given us a great benefit. But the reason should beplain. The devil wants to steal from us. He wants to take away our joy andpeace in God. To make us feel depressed is the easiest way. The devil can usejust a minor event in our lives. He tries to make us forget about God. Then webecome very depressed.
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Are There Biblical Examples Of Depression And How To Deal With It
The spirit of a man will sustain him in sickness,But who can bear a broken spirit? Proverbs 18:14 NKJV
I am laid low in the dust preserve my life according to your word. Psalm 119:25 NIV
There are numerous biblical references to depression, one of the human race’s most common and distressing afflictions. It is likely that the first humans to experience depression were Adam and Eve, after they sinned against God.
Some Have Imagined That Depression Is Always The Result Of Some Sin Of A Moral Weakness Although Sin Can Cause Depression It Is Not True That Sin Is Behind All Bouts Of Depression
Some have imagined that depression is always the result of some sin, of a moral weakness. Although sin can cause depression, it is not true that sin is behind all bouts of depression.
The Bible describes the struggles of people who suffered with depressionincluding David, Elijah and Jobeven though they were faithful servants of God. These men did not suffer primarily because they were sinners. They suffered because they were human and were susceptible to severe pressures.
Job became depressed after suffering many personal lossesfirst his material possessions, then all his children. Then he was devastated by a grievous physical affliction: He broke out in painful boils.
Elijah grew depressed when he was rebuked while he was anticipating a moment of triumph. His lofty hopes were crushed he became sick at heart.
The depressions of David, as related in some of the Psalms, stem from any of several probable causes.
These men recovered and went on with their lives, serving God.
No one should condemn someone because he is depressed. The sufferer often already feels self-revulsion. He blames himself and perhaps thinks he has sinned. He may submit himself to torturous recriminations and dredge up all the evil he has done in his life, real or imagined. Because of their high standards, Christians can especially be vulnerable to this thinking.
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Depression In The Bible
Proverbs 12:25 – Anxiety in a man’s heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad.
Romans 12:2 – Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Psalm 9:9 – The Lord is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble.
2 Timothy 1:7– For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
Revelation 21:4 – He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.
Case And Point: Daughter Raised In A Christian Home
Loving Christian parents brought up Carol . Although it would cost a lot, her parents placed her in a reputable Christian high school in Wheaton. Many American public schools have become a ghetto, to say the least.
Carols disobedience caused her depression to spiral downwarddespite efforts, prayers, and counseling. She had inappropriate relationships and harmful influences. Carol died of a heroin overdose.
Sinful habits allows satanic foothold.
TESTIMONY OF PASTORS KID, JOY TAN CHI.
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What Does The Bible Say About Treating Depression
But, as with all the problems people face, there is one thing we are supposed to do with them: bring them to God.
Jesus acknowledged the weight of our troubles, whether physical or emotional, promising,Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light .
Hope does lie in God, as the psalmist writes , but its important to understand that just because we put our hope and faith in God doesnt mean our problem will go away. Like cancer, diabetes, and other diseases, sometimes well have it the rest of our earthly life.
The apostle Paul struggled with what he called a thorn in the flesh, a physical ailment that caused him much torment . He begged for God to take it away, but God told him no, that Gods power was able to shine more brightly in Pauls weakness . As he wrote about the same time in his letter to the church in Philippi, Paul discovered what was, for him, the secret to contentment: focusing on the Lord and drawing our strength from Him .
And to his young friend and mentee Timothy, whom Paul knew struggled with frequent illnesses, stomach issues, and other hardships, Paul offered some encouraging words: Flee from evil, fight the good fight, take hold of eternal life .
Who Has Died Of A Broken Heart
Confirming that you can indeed die of a broken heart was a former NFL quarterback Doug Flutie, who announced that both of his parents suffered fatal heart attacks in one day within minutes, in 2015. Flutieâs father was in the hospital after suffering a heart attack and eventually succumbed to the condition.
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Signs Of Feeling Alone
We all feel lonely at times but feeling disconnected from others for long periods of time can have serious side effects.
Boredom, depression, feeling excessively tired or just numb are all symptoms of feeling alone.
It doesnt matter if you are married or single, you can still feel alone.
It doesnt matter if you have children or not. Loneliness can happen to anyone.
Depression Due To Guilt
Then the Lord said to Cain, Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will not your be lifted up? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door and its desire is for you, but you must master it. Genesis 4:6-7 NASB
When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted awayThrough my groaning all day long.For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.Selah. Psalm 32:3-4 NASB
Release from depression caused by guilt came from confession and seeking Gods forgiveness
For I said in my haste, I am cut off from before Your eyes Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You. Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD. Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, Whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man to whom the LORD does not impute iniquity, And in whose spirit there is no . I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I have not hidden. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the LORD, And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah. Psalm 31:22 – 32:2, 32:5 NKJV excerpts
If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NKJV
David’shumbleprayer for forgiveness
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When Doctors Or Faith Didnt Help
In 2018, Andrew Stoecklein, a young and vibrant megachurch Pastor, preached about depression, then killed himself. In 2019, Jarrid Wilson, church leader and mental health advocate committed suicide.
Likewise, Matthew, son of Rick Warren, killed himself. Jeff Morris, son of Charles, host of Haven Today, died from a drug overdose.
Indeed, these men are not faithless, so why did they lose the battle, despite so many prayers, therapy, and medication?
Are spiritual deliverance biblical?
What Does The Bible Say About Depression
Proverbs 12:25 mentions depression directly, “Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad” . That’s a good place to begin. In this little couplet God, via the wisdom of Solomon, provides both a diagnosis and prescription that can help people grow beyond depression. A heart full of anxiety is the culprit. Jesus said:
“Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light”.
In broad strokes, many Christians suffering from depression can find hope in biblical foundations. You can also find stories of the Bible where certain people experienced depression: Moses , David , Elijah , Job, Jonah , Psalmist .
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