Depression is the state where a person has persistent feelings of hopelessness or dejection, lack of energy, inability to sleep and sometimes suicidal tendencies. Clinical depression is a very serious problem which necessitates professional treatment. Through medication and therapy, most people suffering from clinical depression can resume a normal life.
Until recently, anyone diagnosed with depression was immediately classified as either a mental nut job or a “whiner” or “wimp”. Because of these stereotypes, people with depression tend to get even more depressed. Without help, a depressed person will withdraw from society and become a recluse or find a way to end his/her life.
There are many things in our society that are not only bad but downright hurtful. The tag attached to people suffering clinical depression is one of the worst things that society has ever come up with. To blame a person suffering clinical depression (a disease just like arthritis, heart disease or cancer) as either a hypochondriac or a weakling is the predominant reason for the spike in suicides.
When a person feels dejected, continually sad, like a social outcast or misfit; they descend the ugly ladder into one of the most tormenting versions of personal hell there is. Of all the feelings a person goes through in this life, the feelings of hopelessness and rejection are the most tormenting and disastrous.
I can think of nothing Christians do that is worse than condemning someone suffering depression because of a tragic event that took place or because they have a disease. When a preacher beats people over the head with the Bible and tells them there is no excuse for being depressed, it only serves to drive a person deeper into depression. When an individual believer sharply rebukes another believer because they are depressed, it only serves to drive that believer into a state that is dangerous and spiritually sick.
There are, of course, times when a person is just feeling sorry for himself and they need a swift kick in the rear to wake them up and get moving again. Clinical depression does not fit this description. There is a HUGE difference between a temporary pity party and a state of mind brought on by chemical imbalances within the body or something wrong with any number of different organs or bodily functions.
It seems that any Christian who admits to going to see a Psychologist or other mental health professional is immediately judged as insane and guilty of gross unbelief. Somehow it is fine for a Christian to see a medical doctor but not a doctor specializing in mental or emotional disorders. I think this is very wrong and has prevented many individuals from receiving the help they desperately need.
Having said all this, I believe most of us do NOT suffer from clinical depression but rather the reaction to bad things happening to our bodies, families, finances, relationships etc. When we are forced to endure a string of bad things we tend to get depressed. When we must become the most austere people on earth and live on snow and grass because of no money, we tend to get depressed. When relationships go sour, the car breaks down, a loved one passes away and we get diagnosed with cancer, all in one day, we tend to get depressed.
Simple depression can many times be helped by someone manifesting the love of God. Simple comfort and exhortation from the Word of God can lift a person out of a temporary down time. Many times a person just needs to spend some quality time with the Lord or go have fun to break the back of simple depression. Sometimes a person needs to sit with a qualified Christian counselor to isolate the problem and take steps to correct it.
Depression usually is the consequence of oppression. Oppression is a heaviness or downward pressure brought on by gloominess, negatives, lack of results, loneliness etc. The biggest cause of oppression is sickness. Long term sickness of any kind is oppressive and that oppression almost always leads to depression.
Satan is the author of oppression and he uses it constantly to hinder and beat down Christians. Oppression is the opposite of inspiration and enthusiasm. Oppression thwarts the ability of a believer to recognize God working in them to do and to will of His good pleasure. Oppression drags us down to the level of the enemy instead of raising us up to the exalted position we have in Christ Jesus.
The Word and power of God can and does break the back of oppression when spoken and manifested in love. Prayer can and does lift the suffocating blanket of oppression. Action many times knocks oppression flat on its back. If these things are not done, oppression slowly drags a person into the dark night of depression.
Oppression is on the outside and is caused by everything from the weather to the day’s headlines. The biggest source of oppression is legalistic religion. Whenever and wherever legalistic religion reigns, oppression will overspread the area as a heavy blanket. Oppression is like carrying a heavy burden on one’s back. Oppression hangs over a person like a giant anvil ready to drop on them whenever they sin. Religious oppression is ugly, wicked and lends itself to depressed people robbed of a reason for living and resigned to a life of woe.
Religious oppression inevitably leads to depression. This is why religiously oppressed people manifest hopelessness, dejection and gloom. Certainly the enemy succeeded in making a mockery of the joy we have in Christ by oppressing God’s people under a yoke of laws and regulations that are impossible to keep. In my travels, many of the most oppressed areas I have seen are filled with depressed people living in the so called “Bible Belt”.
God has called us to liberty and not the bondage associated with religious oppression. God has called us to walk in the freedom Christ won for us on the cross and not to spend our lives carrying that cross on our shoulders. God has called us to walk in His power, grace and joy. God wants us to enjoy all He has given to us while we share to GOOD NEWS of the gospel of Jesus Christ with others.
Breaking free from religious oppression is the single greatest thing that a believer can do to overcome depression. We have not been called to walk in fear of going to hell but rather to walk in the exuberance of those absolutely called to an eternal life with God in the heavenlies. We have not been given a tablet of stone to record all of our sins but rather a glorious Word of God filled with exceeding great and precious promises.
We, of all people on earth, have no right to ever feel hopeless or helpless. We have been given a bright and glorious hope and the promise that God is with us and fighting for us. We must renew our minds to believe what God has said in His Word and categorically reject the lies this world and religion attempt to place upon us.
If you suffer from clinical depression please seek professional help. If you suffer from depression brought on by oppression, FIGHT. That is right, FIGHT for yourself, your family, your future. Never give in to the relentless pressure of negativity but rather claim the promises God has given to us. God is able and willing to lift oppression and break apart depression. With God’s help, we can lay claim to the promise that “the joy of the Lord is our strength”!