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Faith and Family — Dealing with depression: Bible vital resource for life’s challengescomment (0)

November 14, 2013

By Joel L. and Kaye Farrow

Many Christians have experienced depression and the guilt that often comes with the belief that they should not have been depressed in the first place. Where do we get this belief? 

We are hard-wired to feel and to think, since both are necessary to be in relationship with God, self and others. Depression is a physiological brain state involving chemicals that are intricately connected to the thinking and feeling process. When we shame ourselves for feeling and thinking what we are designed to feel and think, we put up a wall that separates us from God, others and even our inner self. Shame can turn a healthy and appropriate emotional response into a downward spiral of emotions.  

Fortunately we are not alone in this struggle. Consider the journey of some of the heroes of the Bible:

  • Abram became depressed when God did not walk with him through the sacrificial ceremony when he expected God to do so (Gen. 15). 
  • Jonah became depressed when God did not agree with him that the Ninevites had mistreated him and should be destroyed (Jonah 4). 
  • Job became depressed when God allowed all that he had to be taken from him (Job 4).
  • David became depressed when King Saul wanted to kill him (Ps. 42). 
  • Peter became depressed as he dealt with the guilt of denying Christ (Luke 22:62). 

Disappointment, frustration, hurt and fear are all appropriate emotional responses to many of life’s challenges. Instead of telling ourselves that we are wrong for having these thoughts, we can model our response after those in the Bible who faced the same feelings: 

  • Abram listened to God and received the covenant promise of land for his descendants. 
  • Jonah faced his fear and saw the power of God. 
  • Job cried out to God and was restored. 
  • David obeyed through the struggle and was given the kingdom.  
  • Peter allowed Jesus to restore him and became the missionary to the Gentiles. 

Depression affects body, mind and spirit. Appropriate responses include addressing each of these areas. 

Scripture teaches us that there is healing for our body, renewing for our mind and freedom for our spirit. When we address our thoughts and feelings, we must do so with compassion toward ourselves and an openness to hear from God. We should remember Proverbs 2:6: “All wisdom comes from the Lord, and so do common sense and understanding.”

We will have many emotional responses in our lifetime, and many will have the potential to lead to depression. Be encouraged to respond to yourself with compassion and to use all of the wise resources that God has provided. 

Editor’s Note — Joel Farrow is pastor of First Baptist Church, Chalkville, in Birmingham Baptist Association. Kaye Farrow is a marriage and family therapist.

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