I was taking our youngest daughter to her doctor appointment about an hour and a half away. I happened to tune in to a Christian talk radio show during the drive. The topic of the day was depression. Not only depression but specifically how we as Christians deal with it. It was so awesome for me to listen to! I wish I could remember the program name and link it. If I happen to remember, I’ll update the post.
Some believe that any illness including depression is brought on by sin. You have sinned and therefore you are now depressed because of that sin. When it comes to depression, I can understand that thought process… to a point.
Here’s an example: Let’s say that you’ve done something wrong. You’ve sinned. This sin weighs on you and you become depressed about it. You’re upset. You can pray and repent and come out of that depression.
But that’s not the depression that my husband (any many many others) have. The depression described above is NOT clinical depression or what might be referred to as major depression.
Here’s how Mayo Clinic defines depression:
Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depression, major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and depression may make you feel as if life isn’t worth living.
More than just a bout of the blues, depression isn’t a weakness, nor is it something that you can simply “snap out” of.
How Do Christians Deal with Depression?
I’m not saying all Christians but Tim and I have seen first hand how some Christians treat those with depression or illness. You get judged, you must be sinning, what did you do wrong that God is punishing you? If you can’t turn to your Christian family to support you in this time, then what do you do?
We left a church that had this attitude and to be honest, we’re still reeling from it 10 years later. Tim’s depression was not brought on by sin. His family has a history of depression. It’s there, it’s real. You can’t fix them. Yes, you can pray for God to work in their lives and you can pray for God to give you the understanding and compassion for a loved one with depression.
I am definitely NOT saying to not pray. Yes, pray. Pray often and pray the scripture.
Deuteronomy 31:8 “… It is the LORD who goes before you. He will be with you; he will not leave you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.”
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.
During this talk show, they gave an example that made so much sense. Let’s say you have one friend with cancer and one friend with depression. The friend with cancer, you comfort, you support, you lift up. The friend with depression, you try to fix, you tell them to ‘buck up’, you want them to just get over it. No, I am not comparing cancer to depression but I think it’s a great example of how we want to support one but fix the other when we should be supporting both.
2 Corinthians 1:3-4 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.
Depression is not going away. It’s time we started giving support to those with depression. Talk about it, let them know that they are loved and that they are not alone! Lift them up in prayer for healing.
Be there for them, hold their hand, comfort and love them. Do not give up, do not let them push you away, do not accept, “I’m fine.”
Read also… How do you help a loved one with depression.