Christians and Depression

This is a topic that remains taboo in many christian circles, but eventually some degree of depression reaches each person's life no matter how close they are to God. There can be a wide variety of reasons why depression comes, ranging from illness-to circusmtances-to an inherited pre-disposition towards depression. It is a very real thing and although depression can be the result of sin or departure from God's face, it is not always the reason for depression. In fact, for God's people it may be during these times that their faith is greatest because they are clinging so tightly to God's promises.

Well meaning, yet ignorant people, might say things such as; Repent and ask forgiveness for your sin!- Real Christians don't get depressed-Scripture says everything that happens is for your own good!-Depression is a self discipline problem-You just need to rebuke that spirit of depression and tell it to leave you. Don't let Satan steal your joy-There must be something wrong with your spiritual life. Although in some situations these things are true-taken out of context they can be quite harmful to the brother or sister is is suffering this way.
For instants, "The scripture says that all things happen for our good." Does it really say that? No, it says that all thing work together for our good. {Roms.8:28} And, is it always a matter of something being terribly wrong with our spiritual life? What about that man Job? No man was more perfect than him. No he wasn't perfect, but he came as close as any man could. He got quite down when things were falling apart around him. He didn't smile and say everything was ok. But, while he was down, he did not forget God and His promises.
"You just need to rebuke that spirit of depression and tell it to leave you. Don't let Satan steal your joy."

There are two problems with this statement. One problem is the assumption that all depression is caused by demonic oppression/satan's attacks. The other problem is the assumption that joy and happiness are the same thing.

Blaming a "spirit of depression" can be a wonderful cop-out. Just cast out the spirit and you're cured! No need for long term support, for prayer, for counselling, for anything at all! And with this statement comes the implicit assumption that once again it's your fault you're depressed, this time because you're not "spiritual" enough to get rid of the spirit yourself.

Yes it is possible that satan's attacks can cause depression, but he is not responsible for every case of depression. Imagine what would happen if this statement was directed at someone with cancer, or had just lost a child, or was in a terrible marriage ("Just cast out that demon attacking your bones and be strong again!").
The second problem with this statement is that joy is equated with happiness. People with depression are not going to be the happiest souls in the church. I've heard it said that happiness depends on what happens, whereas joy can exist in very unhappy situations.
And lastly, we must remember that so many times we confuse depression with a natural, healthy longing for Heaven and Home. When the soul is weary and all around a person, life is falling apart- we are likely to lean more heavily on the hope and promise of eternity. Yearning to be whole, at that final victory place-at the feet of Jesus isn't something we think about as often when life is going"ok."

It is during the times that our sisters and brothers in the Lord must support the weary soul. True, there are times when a person is willing to linger in that slough of despond and needs a kick in the butt. But most of the time they just need that kind word or knowledge of someone's caring to keep them fueled in order to get to higher ground.

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