Christians and Depression
Is it okay for Christians to feel depressed?
This question is important because there are probably many Christians around the world carrying the weight and burden of depression alone.
They are afraid of reaching out for help because many believe that Christians shouldn’t get depressed.
Why shouldn’t Christians get depressed you might ask?
Well, because we have the Holy Spirit living within and that should be enough to keep us happy and content.
So with a little cliché, this real-life issue gets glanced over as an issue only the less spiritual people deal with.
The thing is I don’t know that I’m okay with this answer or any other answer that dismisses that reality that Christians can suffer depression.
Disclaimer before you keep reading: I don’t claim to be an expert on this topic. I am just talking about it from personal experience
Same question different words
Let me ask this question with different words and see if this helps.
Is it okay for Christians to be tempted?
I would say that most people would agree that yes Christians have been, are being and will be tempted.
So why do we think it’s okay to be tempted?
It’s because we understand that we live in a fallen world. And we understand that we live in sin broken bodies that are prone to sinful desires.
Paul himself, tells us about his personal battle with sin in Romans 7 and then in Corinthians, he shows us that even God knows we will face temptation-
- Romans 7:15 For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate.
- 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “…God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation, he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”
So why would it be any different with depression?
Was Jesus tempted? Yes.
Did Jesus go through times of depression? Yes. (Matthew 26:36-39)
It’s not any different.
Christians can and will go through depression because we live in a sin-broken world and depression is part of the curse that plagues us mentally.
It’s how you respond
The difference is how we react to depression.
I think many of the weapons we use to battle temptation can be used to battle depression: Go straight to God, Accountability, Eliminating toxic people or environments, and setting up safeguards.
Go straight to God
Just like when you are tempted, you don’t need to give in to the temptation. Depression can drag you into very dark and hopeless places. When you find yourself believing these thoughts, stop yourself as well as you know how and seek God.
Pray at that moment and seek God for deliverance out of or through it. He is always available even when it seems like He’s not.
Jesus knows what you are going through because He experienced it as well.
When you are tempted you have the options to get help from others.
There are other people who have faced depression or are in the middle of it. But they can’t help you if you don’t know what you are going through.
Eliminating toxic people or environments
Remove yourself from the current situation. Sometimes it’s toxic people or toxic environments that can cause you to feel depressed.
Setting up safeguards
Set up guards in those moments. Maybe find things that combat those feelings.
Stop ignoring it
Depression does happen to Christians and ignoring is not going to help. My hope is that this at least gives you a sense of relief that you are not alone.
But more than that I hope it helps you take some steps towards healing.