What about the spiritual side of depression? Some Christians believe that depression is the influence of a demonic spirit in the life of the believer. While the Bible teaches that we do wrestle against evil principalities and powers, some of which love to cause discouragement, anxiety, and all sorts of negative feelings, it is good to look at depression from a holistic viewpoint. Can spiritual issues influence depression? Absolutely.
We are wired to handle guilt only so long before it begins to wear us down. There is an emotional weight that goes along with violating our conscience. David wrote in Psalm 32:1-3 Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven… Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit. When I kept silent, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. David paints a vivid picture of what it feels like to hold onto sin. He also tells us there is a sense of blessing that comes from knowing we’re forgiven! The Bible promises that when we confess our sins, Christ is faithful to forgive us and purify us. (1 John 1:9)
False Guilt or Condemnation
Satan, our enemy, loves to make us feel condemnation. If you struggle with a constant, nagging sense of condemnation, take hold of the Bible’s promise that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1) Proclaim and believe it! Stop letting the enemy beat you up!
Jesus teaches a great deal about forgiveness. He showed us the incredible power of His love by paying the price for all of our sin by dying on the cross. We have the opportunity to be completely forgiven because of the love and grace of God. Jesus requires that we forgive others. When we don’t forgive others, bitterness, anger, and resentment occur. Those are toxic emotions. A person can only carry those inside so long before they begin to do their damage. In some cases, depression occurs. I read a quote one time that said, “Unforgiveness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Forgiving someone who has hurt us very deeply isn’t easy or simple, especially where severe abuse has occurred. Forgiveness isn’t about changing feelings as much as choosing to stop holding an offense over another person. It doesn’t make the offense right or unimportant; it just frees the forgiver and allows healing to occur. Sometimes the person we can’t forgive is ourself. We may believe God has forgiven us, but we can’t seem to let ourselves off the hook. If the God of the universe considers you forgiven, shouldn’t His opinion carry greater weight than your own?
Shattered Hope and Trust
When it seems God has disappointed us, hope and trust can be lost, leading to despair and depression. This is a deep, complicated matter that generally requires additional help to work through. If you have experienced something that has caused you to lose hope or trust in God, please talk to a Godly, mature Christian advisor, counselor or pastor. I’ve worked with many clients who have been at this place. There is healing for your relationship with God. No matter how things appear, God loves you deeply.