We’ve made much progress when it comes to mental illness in the church. But there is still an undercurrent of blame and suspicion. In some churches, there is still accusation.
Living counter to God’s will can cause emotional pain and numbness like depression. We can’t be truly healthy while disregarding the commands He has given for our good. He’s our Creator; He knows how we’re designed to operate. Yes, unconfessed sin can cause depression.
While depression is a body and mind’s indicator that something is wrong, a person’s sin is rarely the only factor.
There is a spiritual aspect to all depression and mental illness. Our spiritual health is inextricably linked to all other areas of health – mental, emotional, physical. We’re not one-dimensional, and no aspect of our selves functions in isolation from the rest.
Mature spiritual counsel, discipleship, fellowship in a loving church family, service to others, Bible study, and prayer can all help someone struggling with depression or other mental disorders.
But it’s dangerous to rely on them solely. And, even if there is a pattern of willful sin in an individual’s life, blaming him or her in the midst of a mental health crisis is unlikely to prove helpful.
I have a glitch in my brain.
If I had trouble reading the words on my computer screen, you would suggest an eye exam for a possible eyeglass prescription.
If I broke my arm, you would take me to the emergency room for a cast.
A few years ago, I had my gallbladder removed. I received no sideways glances, overheard no whispers, and encountered no accusation that I was to blame because I didn’t have enough faith…
For the time being, probably the rest of my life, I need psychiatric – yes, medical – intervention to keep from crashing into the darkness where I believe the only reasonable thing is my death. There is something wrong in the way my brain works. It can shift and shove me out of reality. I believe I am beyond grace, and utterly toxic.
I hope and pray I will remain sensible enough to keep taking the medication that helps keep me wanting to be alive.
Depression, Sin, and the Church
I stared down at the table.
I had no response.
Was the comment indirectly directed at me?
There was no point arguing. The meeting was for a different purpose than discussing mental illness and the Christian. And I was too tired, anyway.
My sister in Christ believed what she was speaking was truth. If she knew the depths to which depression took me, would she doubt I was her sister?
Head over to Defying Shadows to read the rest of Depression, Sin, and the Church…