There is depression all over the world and it is the primary mental illness that is diagnosed widespread, so why is it not more recognized in the church? It is such a dire need for depression as well as all mental illness to start becoming recognized in churches rather than being called crazy. Christians need to recognize that mental illnesses are actual diseases with chemical imbalances in the brain and it does not make people crazy for having these issues it actually turns them away from God more when Christians judge them. Fellow believers should be with their community through everything that is thrown in their way, that is what the body of Christ is for. Their arms should be open wide for each person who is struggling through depression and not feeling worthy enough. Fellow Christ-followers should be showing the love of Christ to the ones who have lost all hope. People who are dealing with depression usually feel symptoms such as loneliness and that leads to suicide. There should be a strong body of Christ by that person’s side to let them know that they have Jesus with them.
If there is truly someone who is struggling with depression they should be sent to the pastor or the counselor of the church. Hopefully someone in the church would recognize the symptoms of the person and let the pastor or counselor know. The counselor would have the best insight to why this person is feeling depressed and be able to consult them. The best part about keeping the counseling inside of the church is that it stays spiritual and biblically based. Without these two components healing from such a mentally exhausting disease would be very hard. Taking time to press into God’s heart and mind through these two things will give clarity to the troubled mind. Depression is such a complicated disease that so many people have but can be easily fixed through therapy but if God were in the mix it would go a lot smoother.
Digging deep into scripture shows the heart and the mind of God and is also one of the best ways to get to know God. For someone who is struggling depression and feels alone through what they are going through. The Bible shows them that they are not the only one who faced hard times or depression. King David for example had faced many trials and tribulations as well as feeling depressed and alone. People with depression tend to feel alone but if they begin to read the Bible they will realize that they are not alone and God is with them always.
Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.Deut. 31:6 (New International Version)
God uses this passage twice in the Bible to give reassurance that He is always by people’s side no matter what and that no one is alone in their struggles. Reading the word gives insight to what people are facing because maybe someone in the Bible has faced the same struggles as they have.
The other key component to keeping therapy in the church would be using prayer to help treat depression. By seeking God’s face and His heart to find clarity into the battles that one is facing. Beginning a strong prayer life especially to help battle depression brings a sense of peace and overwhelming joy to each person. Being in the presence of the Lord is a soothing feeling that is very therapeutic and clarifying. “Several benefits of centering prayer are worth noting, including, but not limited to (a) receiving God fully, (b) increasing love, (c) shedding the false self, (d) reducing loneliness, and (e) releasing tension.”1 Having that time away from the world where it is just one person and the Creator of the universe it begins to clear the mind as well as mend the broken heart.
I have noticed that many Christians seek out medical help first without even considering what spiritual guidance they may need as well. Medicine can address only the physical causes and effects of depression but will never help someone with the spiritual and emotional component of depression.Jenny Swindall2
When beginning to seek help the first place to go is always to a counselor never to a psychiatrist because they usually just prescribe medication when it is not needed. Especially pastoral counselors are there to spiritually guide a person through the right steps to heal emotionally, mentally, and physically from their depression with just the Holy Spirit.
I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.Phil 4:13 (New King James Version)
They believe that with the power of Christ anything is possible and that any circumstance can be fixed with the help of the Lord. Healing is possible if there is even just the slightest faith involved. Pressing into God is more therapeutic than taking medication on a daily basis for a chemical imbalance that a person may or may not have. There are times where seeing a medical doctor may be needed, in certain cases the illness may be too out of hand and may need medical attention. The counselor should have a list of psychiatrists and physicians in the area that they trust to take care of their client that are excellent at what they do. The pastoral counselor also should seek God and ask for His guidance before giving full reign to a medical doctor to take control of a client. Sometimes medicine can do more harm them good for some people.
Sometimes there is not much that people can do in the community of Christ to help someone or no one acknowledges that someone has a real problem. This person’s symptoms increase over time tremendously and they feel like there is no hope and there is nothing left for them on this earth. This person ends their life for the fact of being too lonely and in too much pain to go on living in a world like this.
It is estimated more than one million people die by suicide each year in the world, or more than 2,700 people per day.David Murray3
Suicide prevention is a must in a church especially if someone is feeling depressed there are many people who struggle with suicidal tendencies on a daily basis and it is not a rare occurrence. It has just recently open many people’s eyes in the last year as Pastor Rick Warren’s son committed suicide that it does, in fact happen to anyone, even pastor’s children. Coming together as the body of Christ and realizing the symptoms of someone who seems like they are ready to end their life is very important. Another important factor is to not condemn them of the feelings they have because many Christians believe that if someone takes their life they will automatically go to hell. No one who is on the verge of killing themselves wants to hear that they will be going to hell, they want love and compassion. With a strong community of Christ-like people as well as a spiritual pastoral counselor there should be no problem releasing any suicidal spirits that flow through any church.
Depression has been ignored too long in the church and has also been a negative stigma as well. Christians need to wake up and realize that they are the hospital for the broken and they are meant to be Christ-like people who show compassion not stay in a bubble. They should be able to recognize when someone is hurting and their mood has changed dramatically. All churches should have a pastoral counselor or a counselor on staff for anyone who is having a difficult time. People in the church should go to the pastoral counselor and let them know that there is someone hurting in the church and refer them. In pastoral counseling there should be a mixture of reading scripture as well as beginning a deep prayer life. Those two components make pastoral counseling different than secular counseling. Medicine should be the last resort in this kind of treatment unless there is no other option. Depression does lead to suicide unfortunately, but as a church it is their duty to notice the symptoms of a suicidal spirit and reach out before it is too late.
Those who bear the marks of despair on their bodies need a community that bears the world’s only sure hope in its body. They need communities that rehearse this hope again and again and delight in their shared foretaste of God’s promised world to come. They need to see that this great promise, secured by Christ’s resurrection, compels us to work amidst the wreckage in hope. In so doing, the church provides her depressed members with a plausible hope and a tangible reminder of the message they most need to hear.Dan Blazer4
- 1 Knabb, Joshua. 2012. “Centering Prayer as an Alternative to Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy for Depression Relapse Prevention.” Journal Of Religion & Health 51, no. 3: 908-924. Academic Search Complete, EBSCOhost (accessed December 3, 2013).
- 2 Swindall, Jenny. “Ministry Today.” Charisma News. http://ministrytodaymag.com/index.php/mlife/relationships/20229-can-the-church-respond-to-depression (accessed December 3, 2013).
- 3 Murray, David. “7 Questions about Suicide and Christians.” HeadHeartHand Media. http://headhearthand.org/blog/2013/04/08questions-about-suicide-and-christians/ (accessed December 3, 2013).
- 4 Blazer, Dan. “The Depression Epidemic.” Christianity Today. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2009/start=6 (accessed December 3,2013).
Posted on March 29, 2022
Posted in Depression