Everyone develops ways of coping with life's struggles. Sometimes struggles can trigger depression, even in the most devout Christians. So, what does the Bible say about depression? It says absolutely nothing and absolutely everything. Confused yet? While the Bible does not specifically use terms like depression, anxiety, or bipolar, the Bible is not silent on the issue.
Many godly people dealt with mental illness in the Bible. Moses, Naomi, Hannah, John the Baptist, and even the Apostle Paul experienced forms of depression. Look at David for example. In Psalm 13, he sinks into deep despair. Even though he is disheartened, David says "But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation. I will sing the LORD’s praise, for he has been good to me." (Psalm 13:5-6, New International Version). We as Christians have to remember that God loves us and is good to us all the time, especially when He carries us through life's challenges.
Christians have varying ideas as to the proper help a person with depression needs. Some will say it's a spiritual problem that is solved by studying the Word and by becoming more devout follower of Christ. Other Christians argue that it is purely a physical struggle. They argue that the person needs to see a doctor and take therapeutic medications. While both of these lines of thought have some merit, I believe in a holistic approach that treats both the physical and the spiritual issues.
The Bible gives us direction for dealing with depression. My belief in a holistic approach comes from the scriptures that tell us that depression and mental illness incorporates the whole person. To address the physical ailments of depression, encourage the person to see his or her doctor. Counseling can be beneficial for learning coping mechanisms and talking through your problems. I would encourage anyone seeking counseling from a psychologist or social worker to also consider meeting with a minister that is well trained in pastoral counseling. It may seem redundant to see a therapist and minister, but the 2 professions bring different insights for use on the road to recovery. Depressed individuals need spiritual help that is obtained by showing them support and encouragement through the Word. Do not be afraid to share scripture and pray often. Keep in mind that it takes a while for both physical and spiritual medicine to work.
If you are experiencing depression, please reach out for help. If you are contemplating suicide, please call the National Suicide Hotline at (800) 273-TALK.
Always 4 Him!
Rev. Cassie Tritthart is a graduate of Westminster College and Rawlings Divinity School. She is an ordained minister, a public speaker, and a ministerial services provider offering assistance to Miami and the surrounding areas. She owns Tritthart Special Event Services and can be reached at (918) 919-1500 or www.Facebook.com/tritthartses or www.tritthartspecialeventservices.com