Dealing with Depression as a Christian

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Is a Christian sinning if he/she is depressed? How does a Christian deal with depression? The Bible says that Jesus wept (John 11:35), but the next thing he did was to raise Lazarus from the dead (John 11:43). How do these verses apply to me and depression?

These verses changed my life! I had learned that depression was the way to handle life’s circumstances when life was overwhelming or chaotic or sad from my mother. Then I saw that Jesus wept, but He didn’t stay there! The next eight verses tell of Him getting up and raising Lazarus! It is okay to be sad, to grieve, to be overwhelmed, and to weep. Jesus did. But it is not okay to wallow in the grief or sadness. As time passes, we are to get up and be about the Father’s business.For some that may be two weeks and for others two years. It may include seeing a counselor or talking to someone you respect. Depression is not a sin, it is an emotion. But as with all emotions, we must handle depression biblically and not let it rule over us.

I used to think that Philippians 3:13-14 (“…forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead…”) meant that I couldn’t take the time to deal with the hurts of the past and present, but that I was to just keep looking forward. I was learning that one cannot go forward, until one has dealt with the past and then one is able to put it behind. Repressing the hurt or anger only leads to destruction, depression, and even death. It is okay to weep! 

I have struggled in the past with clinical depression. It is a dark place to be. Healing takes time, but we should be in the process of healing. A friend told me that forgetting and reaching were active verbs. In other words we are to be about the business of putting the past behind, and we are to be about the business of reaching forward. She described a big bonfire. That fire is our past. We may be crawling away, walking away, or running away, but we need to be actively moving away. t is a process.  Sometimes that process comes with weeping and groaning and, hopefully, lots of prayer. Identifying the lies that Satan is telling you about false guilt, shame, and worthlessness is the first step of overcoming depression. Secondly, we must replace those lies with God’s truth: What does the Bible say about me, about God, about this situation? If there is sin involved, I repent. If not, I lay it all at the cross and believe that Jesus’ death covered all my sin and shame. Lastly, we stand on God’s truth and trust Him.

When the weeping is over, the fire can no longer burn us, and we can reach for the hope of the cross and eternal life. A Christian who smiles and glazes over anything that would be sad is fake and will eventually reap the consequences of burying their feelings. A Christian who weeps, who lays prostrate before God in anguish, and then rises to victory and effectiveness will reap joy.

Are you in a season of weeping? If you are, that’s okay, just don’t stay there. Remember, Jesus wept, but then He got up and raised Lazarus from the dead!

Hint for the Day: If you are dealing with bitterness, anger, or grief, give yourself time. These emotions take a lot of energy. It is okay if you cannot function up to your normal level during these times. Make meals easy, don’t over commit, and give yourself extra time to be in the word and on your knees. Tomorrow will come with rejoicing and praise. Go to Jesus, He is there and He understands.

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