In periods of depression, one of the most difficult things for some people is that others judge and condemn them for being depressed.
Condemning the Depressed
Often, if you are depressed, some Christians will say that you feel this way because you must have some unconfessed sin in your life, or you are not trusting God and His Word enough. They will say that if you just pray more and attend church more and read your Bible more, things will get better.
Such statements are often accompanied with the implication that God is punishing us for our sin by making us depressed, and if we simply repent and turn back to God, all will be will. To defend this view, they may even quote Scriptures like Psalm 32:10:
Many sorrows shall be to the wicked; But he who trusts in the LORD, mercy shall surround him.
Though these Christians are often well-intentioned, there is much they do not understand.
Let us see if we can unravel the truth and error in the council of our friends.
Sin Can Cause Depression
First, it is true. Sin and rebellion against God can lead to depression. The Scripture on depression above says as much: “Many sorrows shall be to the wicked.”
But this is as far as the truth from our well-meaning friends goes. Let us turn now to the error in what they say.
God Does Not Cause Depression
Though sin may cause depression, God does not cause it. He never gives depression to someone to punish them for their sin. Depression may be caused by sin, but it is not caused by God. To put it another way, depression may occasionally be a cause, result, or consequence of some sort of sin, but God does not want us to be depressed. To the contrary, He wants to free us from both the sin and the consequences of sin.
Reconnecting with God
How? There are numerous possibilities. First, we do need to repent of the sin and stop doing it. Our souls and spirits were made to be in constant connection and harmony with God, and when sin gets in the way, we can become depressed. If we remove the sin that is blocking our connection with God, the source of our joy and strength can be reconnected.
Numerous Scriptures talk about this, and one of them is right here in Psalm 32:10. The second half of the verse says that those who trust in the Lord will be surrounded with mercy. When we stop trusting in ourselves to get us through the mess we are in, and turn to trusting God, He surrounds us with love, care, protection, and mercy, and helps guide us through our depression.
If you are experiencing depression and have some sin in your life, getting rid of the sin and reconnecting with God may help remove the depression.
Causes and Cures of Depression
But there is one thing that must be recognized.
The truth is that you may not be in some serious sin. Depression can have many causes, and maybe your Christian friends have unjustly judged and condemned you, just as Job’s friends unjustly judged and condemned him. They saw all the bad things happening to him, and said it was a result of sin. But they were terribly wrong.
You are the primary person responsible for your relationship with God, and if you examine your heart and life and do not see serious sin, then the depression may have other causes, and you should consider what they might be. Loneliness, loss of a job or a loved one, or even something as simple as weeks of rainy weather can bring on depression. Don’t let someone make your depression worse by telling you it is a result of sin if you know that it is not.
Many causes of depression require many types of cures. You must consider all of the causes before letting a well-meaning Christian suggest a cure which may only make things worse.
Scriptural Books on Depression
Here are some helpful books for learning more about what Scripture teaches on the topic of depression. Click on a book below to see pricing and reviews.