Christian Depression

Just the idea of Christian depression seemed so
contradictory, at first…
Christian depression just doesn’t seem to fit in
very well with this verse: “I have written to you.
..young men, because you are strong, and the word
of God abides in you, and you have overcome the
wicked one.” I John 2:14
Young people have seemingly unlimited energy and
optimism, how could Christian depression ever be
a problem? With all that strength and word of God,
who could be depressed?
Who would ever imagine, that in the midst of such
strength and zealous activity, stress and
depression often lurk in the murky fringes of
church life. Not only that, it is not at all
uncommon for youth leaders to suffer from the
common depression symptoms.

Things left to themselves tend to decay
When the depression symptoms continue for more
than a few weeks, you need to take action.
Ignoring the problem will not help. A common
misunderstanding is that Christians are inferior
or unfaithful followers if they feel depressed.
The black hole of condemnation is very deep and
dark. It can take years to work out the
underlying causes. Christian depression is more
common than most people realize. Scripture verses
may be used, correctly or incorrectly, to give “
guidance”, this is not the intention of this
The subject of Christian depression and stress is
a very personal one for the author, having been
both a victim of it and a cause of it as well. It
is our hope to shed some light on this important
topic that seems to be largely ignored, but
affects many believers.

Black and white thinking
Black and white thinking, in this case, is the
practice of placing people into neat little
groups, or categories. For example: believers and
unbelievers; the bride of Christ and the harlot;
Christians and “the world”; us and them; the
first-fruits and the second-fruits; zealous and
lukewarm; modest and worldly; saved and unsaved;
and so on. An enormous amount of stress comes
from this manner of viewing people and the world.
This type of thinking is common among
fundamentalist groups, not to mention cults. The
polarizing effect divides families and friends.
Those who are doing the categorizing are, of
course, the right ones. Everyone else is to be
pitied or despised, or converted. Those who grow
up under such teachings and fail to live up to
the expectations are prime candidates for
Christian depression.
A great deal of Christian depression stems from
this way of thinking. Suppose you are musical or
artistic, what are you ever going to do with all
that natural ability if your church teaches that
such activities are sinful, or soulish? Soulish
means that it is an expression of your human soul,
which is even more dangerous to holiness than
being carnal.
Sure, such an artistic person may play church
music, or do “Christian” artwork, but soon that
becomes so limiting and quenching. Of course, you
could always listen to music and play it in
secret, but that brings on the condemnation. For
those who are not artistic, this is not a serious
problem, and very often such people are the
leaders. They don’t feel the inner stress, and
therefore are often harsh in their criticism,
leading to even more Christian depression.
This can be particularly damaging to children.
They are developing their own distinct
personalities and need space to grow. An
especially crass example of forcing church
doctrine on “different” children is the old
practice of beating the left hand of left-handed
children by nuns in schools. It’s hard to imagine,
but this was common until quite recently. The
stress imposed on these children is incredible.
At times, the entire learning process just ceased.

Jesus came to take away your sins, not your mind!
A great deal of courage is required to live
according to your conscience, especially if it is
contrary to your church’s doctrine. To do less is
cowardice and will keep you in the wringer of a
guilty conscience, with the result in feelings
that can lead to Christian depression.
A prominent church leader was lauded at his 50th
birthday celebration for his ability to be
spiritual on a trip across Canada. It seems he
managed to keep from looking at the scenery and
marveling at God’s creation for several days’
trip. He was so holy that he read scriptures and
discussed doctrine the entire time!
On the other hand, another passenger in the car
was constantly amazed at the beautiful rivers,
rolling hills, huge sky and wild animals he saw
on the same trip. Needless to say, nobody
mentioned this at his birthday! He thought it was
absurd to deny oneself in such an artificial and
useless manner as the other passenger. It took
some courage to speak up in the face of such
older, esteemed brothers.
There are many such things taking place everyday
in churches everywhere, but not much is mentioned
about it. For example: being willingly ignorant
of elections, the news, current events, and
community events and so on. About the only time
such zealous believers get involved is when they
can benefit from it. To speak out takes courage,
to silently go along, against your better
judgment can easily contribute to Christian
depression and stress.
If you talk about current events, it had better
follow “party lines.” If you are involved in
community events, you might be contaminated by
all those unbelievers. You are “unequally yoked.”
This type of thinking is especially dangerous for
children and young people. They are usually in
public school and are exposed to everything
imaginable. Unless they are taught how to
interact in a healthy way with those who disagree
or are different, they can easily fall prey to
Christian depression.
This book was written just for parents who have
stressful situations at home. It is the product
of many years experience, including Christian
depression. It is called: “The Secrets Inside.”

Children and the “End Times”
Many children have suffered unnecessarily from
the unwitting ignorance of their parents or
church leaders. Children take everything
literally and parents need to be extra careful
when discussing such topics as the end times with
As children and young people hear the message
about Armageddon and the Great Tribulation and
the Wrath of God, etc., they are imagining
everything literally. This can lead them several
conclusions. Christian depression often has its
roots in childhood.
“We are the only ones who know this and are
special, God’s favorite people.
“Everyone else is going to burn up in the wrath
of God.
“If I do everything “right” I will be saved.
“If I don’t do everything “right”, I will be
burned with the ungodly. Or maybe I’ll go through
the “Great Tribulation” and become a sort of
second class heavenly citizen.
These beliefs can vary from group to group, but
the potential damaging effects are still the same.
Stress, depression, and false guilt can plague a
person for many years.
Suppose your neighbor is Christian from another
denomination and now his entire family, including
your son’s friend, will perish in fire. How does
that impact the mind of a child?
How can the other 99.9999 along in the faith, I’m
going to hell, what’s the use of trying to be
good?” The ditches of life abound with such cast
off lives.
Christian depression carries a stigma of weakness
and unfaithfulness. As you can see, it very often
is the result of poor judgment on the part of the
parents or the teachers.
Talk about fire and dire warnings, just look at
“It would be better for him if a millstone were
hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the
sea, than that he should offend one of these
little ones.” Luke 17:2
On the other hand, “I have no greater joy than to
hear that my children walk in truth.” 3 John 1:4
There are, of course, other reasons for depression
Christians, and anyone else, for that matter, can
suffer from depression for reasons entirely
unrelated to a misunderstood faith. Here is an
excellent resource to learn more about the
physical causes of depression.

Randy Hough

Useful, real-life insight to help with the stress
on today’s family

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