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The Problem of Depression

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Depression’s a problem that plagues most people, and Christians are no different. It’s a natural part of the human mind to take periodic emotional downturns. Here is the problem for Christians: somewhere along the way, someone decided that depression is a sin for a Christian. As my dad would say, “Horsefeathers!” God created emotions. Sadness, anger, and melancholy are all part of a human’s constitution. 
 

Furthermore, the Bible indicates that depression was a normal state of affairs for many Bible characters. David wrote about being clinging to the dust (Psalm 119:25). Job was troubled by loss, disease, a nagging wife, and what he called “miserable comforters” as friends who spoke, “words of wind” (Job 16:2-3). Is it any surprise that he wished he had never been born (Job 3:3-4), or that he longed for the relief death would bring (Job 3:20-21)? The prophet Jeremiah was so disturbed by the rejection of His people that he despaired of preaching (Jeremiah 20:8-9). Surely, the belief equating depression with sin is misguided and unbiblical.

 

The trick for a Christian, when depression arises, is to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Paul said that one should not let the sun go down on anger (Ephesians 4:26). The child of God has plenty of help from God during these times. When depression rears its ugly head, remember some very important facts. 

First, give people a break. Many times we find ourselves disappointed in our brethren. Why have we built them up so? People don’t always do what I think they should, nor do they see things my way all of the time. They disappoint me. Well, so what!? I shouldn’t let disappointment send me into despair. Perhaps the problem is with me, not my “offender.” Think the best of your brethren, not the worst (I Corinthians 13:5, 7). Don’t idolize mere people, and don’t make them live up to your standards. It’s enough that they are serving the Lord (Romans 14:5-6, 10).

 

Second, put your trust in God. The Lord will never forsake you. He will never mislead you. His promises are “exceedingly great and precious” (II Peter 1:4). Family, friends, and even Christians can fail you, but God never will. Stand with Him. Walk in the light and be content to be in fellowship with those similarly walking in the light (I John 1:5-7). 

Third, you’re never alone. Elijah became convinced that he was whipped. He believed Jezebel had won, and he was alone. It was all in his mind because the facts were that although he believed his great victory over the prophets of Baal of Mt. Carmel meant nothing, God told him to pick himself up and get to work. God had seven thousand in Israel who had not bowed to Baal (I Kings 19:1-19). 

Fourth, put your mind on things above. The greatest disturbance of a Christian’s mind and heart is a broken perspective. Quit listening to every news report about Washington’s shenanigans. Instead of obsessing over all the evil in the world, pause daily to focus on things above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-2). Remember heaven is home, not this world (Philippians 3:20).

 

Depression is a subject with which I am well acquainted. I have experienced it often, and I know how badly it can sap one of strength, joy, energy, and motivation. Thanks to the teachings of the Bible, I know how to fight back, and I know how to keep from wallowing in darkness.

 

David Weaks 

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