Is Depression a Sin?

September 25, 2014
Is depression a sin?  Absolutely not!  Click through to read more!

Dearest Sisters,

Depression is overwhelming.  Depression is is unexplainable.  Depression is debilitating.  Depression is something I struggle with and I know many of you do as well.

The past few weeks I’ve had conversations with far too many people how they believe that depression is a sin.  They claim that a person who has turned his or her life over to the Lord should not have the propensity to go to the dark place that we who struggle with depression know all too well.

Sisters, this is a lie!  Do not believe it for one second of your life.  That attitude and those words just tear us down and don’t truly let the light of the Lord shine through our lives.  The Lord is good and gracious and works in our lives in amazing ways that we often do not understand.

What is depression?  I don’t mean being down in the dumps, being melancholy, or being sad.  I mean true, real, can’t-get-out-of-bed, don’t-know-how-to-go-on-with-life depression.  To put it succinctly and non scientific-ly, it’s a horrible disease.  It’s a chemical imbalance that wrecks how our brains normally work.  If the depression is not a chemical imbalance but is truly due to sin, the Holy Spirit is the one to reveal that to those of us who struggle – whether through the Word, Christian counseling, or His still, small voice in our lives. But, like I said, true depression does not fall into this category.

What other disease would we ever classify as a sin, dear one?   Would we tell someone with cancer that their disease is a sin?  Would we tell a parent of a child born with a hole in his heart that it was because of a sin?  Would we tell someone with bipolar disorder that they struggle with that because of their own sin?  Of course not!  So why do so many people still jump on the “sin” train whenever depression is mentioned?  Darling girl, don’t get sucked into that thinking.  That is not from God.

Is depression a result of sin?  Of course!  Every bad thing in the world is a result of sin.  If Adam and Eve had not sinned depression would not exist.  If the universe still contained the perfection of the Garden of Eden depression would not exist.  Once we’re in Glory with the Lord and the New Heavens and New Earth have been formed depression will not exist.  Isn’t that an amazing promise?  Every one of us who deals with the daily toil of depression has hope in the promises of the Lord!

Don’t get me wrong, dear friend, I am not justifying the things you and I do while in our times of depression.  We certainly can and do sin through our depression and that, dear sister, is wrong.  When we turn our backs on God, others, and even, at times, life itself, that is sin.  And yes, that is wrong.  Is it easy and normal to slip into those mindsets and actions?  YES!  But, even so, we need to call it what it is – sin – and sin is wrong.

That sin does not need to exist we have the tools to repent from those sins and keep from committing them.  Through our depression we need to cry out to the Lord, asking Him to draw us closer to Himself and heal us through His Glory.  We need to turn to other believers, praying with them and growing in the Lord with them.  Sometimes the way to keep from the sins that so easily entangle us is medication and/or counseling.  There is no shame in that. Will we feel normal right away?  Not necessarily.  Many of us have been in the darkness of depression – pleading with the Lord to be freed, praying alongside other believers, and being wise in seeking medication and counseling and yet nothing changes.  That is not sin.  That is sickness.

Don’t be ashamed or hard on yourself, beautiful one.  Don’t hide your depression like I did for years because of the fear that others will judge you.  Find those who will love you and walk with you in the darkness.  Find those who encourage you and lift you up in prayer.  Find those who point you to Jesus, even in the deepest pain.

Most of all, dear sister, turn to God.  He is Grace itself.  God’s covenant of grace teaches us to welcome in and love those who are struggling with depression, not condemn them and tell them that it is due to their own sin. If any of us who struggle with this disease are believers we are covered by the grace of God. Period.  What a blessing!

You are loved, darling, not only by me but, more importantly, by the Lord.  What an amazing Savior!

Your Turn:
Have you experienced others categorizing depression as “sin”?
How can I pray for you as you go through seasons of depression?
  • the biggest struggle for me has been people's reactions to it. i started struggling with depression in high school & my parents were very hush hush about it like they didn't want anyone to know & the kids my age would say/act like i was crazy or tainted. (of course, they were just kids but it really hurt at the time)

    but even now, it feels like it's not talked about in the church & people who haven't struggled with it just really don't understand it. there is a girl at my church who has her dad living with her family because he had no where else to go. i asked her how it was having him there and the response was along the lines of "he's really depressed & it's hard to keep a depressed person happy" – which i think just shows a misunderstanding of depression. it's not "being happy" that is the cure or even a "loss of happiness" that is the cause.

    i talked to my doctor about it last time i had my physical and she said something that i had never been told before. (and that you are saying in this post as well) "depression is not a spiritual weakness" she explained that when you go through stress after stress after stress your brain loses serotonin and that causes depression. it's a chemical thing & not really a mental thing. like, i do believe some of depression is a spiritual matter, but i also believe it's a scientific/chemical matter also. i feel like in the church a lot of times you will hear "if you're depressed you just need to read your Bible more and pray more" but while that definitely does help, if you have a chemical imbalance then science and medicine can help.

  • This post is so true! I've struggled with depression since graduating college, and it finally took a real conversation with my physician to realize it's okay for me to take antidepressants if I need them. For the longest time I felt weak whenever I had to take them, like I wasn't good enough.

  • Great post. I know a few people who suffer from depression and how it is hard to do a simple task as open the mail. It's isn't weakness.

  • Your post warmed my heart. I have known several close friends and family members who struggle with depression and you are so right – it is a disease and not something that they should be ashamed about! Thanks for your bravery in speaking truth!

  • thanks for this vulnerable and encouraging post! i really admire the way that you use your blog to bless others <3

  • So many people I know at Church are being treated for depression! Was not John the Baptist and Kind David depressed?! I remember several years ago someone saying to me 'how can you have depression when you have the Holy Spirit?' We are subject to the same sicknesses and diseases as the rest of the world. I know meditating on the Word helps plus surrounding yourself with a loving and supportive network of friends.

  • This is a great post that applies to so many people, including me.

  • I remember my first bout of serious depression was in the end of the 11th grade and all through the 12th grade. It was one of the hardest times of my life. I wanted to kill myself and l lost so much weight. There was someone very close to me questioning if sin was the reason I was going through this and that there was no way I was going to a counselor (it would bring shame to the family, in their view). Thankfully, I had some mighty prayer warriors lifting me up. This I know depression is very serious! And I will not hesitate to counsel someone to go see a counselor or open up to trustworthy family and friends. I'm so thankful for friends that I have learned that I can be open with when going through hard times. God has been and is so faithful in providing me with friends that not only can I lean on, but that can lean on me and together we can bring each other to the feet of Jesus.
    What a great post!

  • This is the best!!! I become so frustrated when I read about anyone being upset with someone because of their depression. My husband struggles with it as well and he is a very devout man of God. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Thank you for writing this post. Depression has been something that i struggle with and my family pushes it under a rug. I havne't really wrote about it in my blog much mostly do to the fact that I'm afraid to be vulnerable to be judged. Since I am already judged by the fam.

  • This post is so refreshing! Depression is something that needs to be talked about more and in a way that doesn't judge those who suffer.

  • I love this post. Thank you for your courage. My husband and I are actually studying mental health in the context of Christianity and his goal is to educate laypeople about mental health– so this post is so right on and encouraging to us. Blessings to you, sis!

  • I went into a really bad period of depression for the first 8 weeks of college where I would cry hysterically, each of those days, out of the blue and not know why. I would just feel like the whole world was caving in. Professors would see me silently crying in class and just give me this look of pity. I slept whenever I wasn't in class. Suicide was a common thought. And then I started seeing a counselor on campus who diagnosed me with both depression and a panic disorder. I was put on medication and have been doing much better. I still have panic attacks and there are some days that feel "can't face the world" bad but I know I can get through it. My heart breaks for anyone who experiences this pain. But I also want them to know that they can fight their way thought it. <3

  • I love how you pointed out that depression, like every sickness and difficult thing in this world, is a result of the original sin, but is not a sin itself. So true, girl! I think it's so sad that depression is given such a stigma in Christian circles. I hope that eventually it will be seen as the sickness that it is, and treated with understanding instead of judgement.

  • I'm a Christian and I am saddened that people blame the person for their own depression. It steals joy from life, and no one wants to live that way. I hope anyone suffering who reads this post feels the incredible message of hope, and explores options for how to feel better.

  • It would not be possible for me to agree with this post more! It seems that people sometimes believe that Christians can't struggle with depression. Like you said, this isn't true. Christians can still get cancer, have a heart attack, or become paralyzed in an accident. Illnesses, accidents, and depression still happen to HUMANS….Christians or not.

  • Thank you so much for sharing this Susannah. So many people feel depression is a sin. I've struggled with depression and I fight that mindset as well. We need Christ, we need healing, once we start to condemn ourselves, we distance ourselves from the only one who can help.

    Thanks for sharing and linking up to the #SHINEbloghop.

    Wishing you a lovely weekend.
    xoxo

  • you are one of the most honest and influential bloggers i know- you tackle vulnerable subjects that are close to home for many of us, and it's beautiful how you make people feel connected despite the struggles they might be facing (like depression).

  • I have never heard that depression is a sin… but it doesn't surprise me that some people believe that! Mostly I've heard that depression and other mental health conditions are signs of weakness and laziness. I don't get the reasoning behind these theories. Your brain is an organ just like your heart, liver, kidneys, lungs, etc. It is made up of cells. If any organ in the body is malfunctioning… for instance if a person has asthma… people are understanding and willing to make accommodations. But if something is going wrong in the brain, people act like it is a personal defect!

  • Beautiful post. I have struggled with depression at times, too, and I think it's so great when people can speak about it openly.

  • This post just warms my heart and speaks right to my soul. Thank you so much for sharing.

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