Godly People Can Also Suffer From Depression

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Godly People Can Also Suffer From Depression

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Some have imagined that depression is always the result of some sin, of a moral weakness. Although sin can cause depression, it is not true that sin is behind all bouts of depression.

The Bible describes the struggles of people who suffered with depression—including David, Elijah and Job—even though they were faithful servants of God. These men did not suffer primarily because they were sinners. They suffered because they were human and were susceptible to severe pressures.

Job became depressed after suffering many personal losses—first his material possessions, then all his children. Then he was devastated by a grievous physical affliction: He broke out in painful boils.

Elijah grew depressed when he was rebuked while he was anticipating a moment of triumph. His lofty hopes were crushed; he became sick at heart.

The depressions of David, as related in some of the Psalms, stem from any of several probable causes.

These men recovered and went on with their lives, serving God.

No one should condemn someone because he is depressed. The sufferer often already feels self-revulsion. He blames himself and perhaps thinks he has sinned. He may submit himself to torturous recriminations and dredge up all the evil he has done in his life, real or imagined. Because of their high standards, Christians can especially be vulnerable to this thinking.

Passing judgment on someone who is already depressed will only add to his sorrow. When Elijah became fearful and depressed, he fled from his God-given responsibilities. Yet God didn't berate Elijah. He spoke to him in a "still small voice" and encouraged him (1 Kings 19:1-18).

Anyone who is depressed needs encouragement. "A friend owes kindness to one in despair ..." (Job 6:14, New American Bible). Don't forget that the family of a depressed person needs support and encouragement too. GN