Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash
Photo by Anh Nguyen on Unsplash

Dealing with Depression


I’ve struggled a lot with depression. To make matters worse, I think my husband is ashamed of me and doesn’t think I should seek help. He says I can take care of this without seeking professional or pastoral counseling. What if he’s right?


If he is right, then you have nothing to lose by seeking a one or two session professional or pastoral consultation. If he is wrong then BOTH you and him have a lot to lose!

The Bible tells us that every human has been made in the image of God. While the image of God in men and women has been damaged and distorted by sin, we are still image-bearers. Part of what it means to be made in the image of God is that we have emotions. God has a mind, a will, and emotions. Man has a mind, a will, and emotions. One of those emotions is depression.

Emotions are not in themselves good or bad, there are only good or bad uses of them. The good news is that all of our emotions were given to us by God to enrich and enhance our lives. The bad news is that just as sin distorted and damaged our spiritual life it also distorted and damaged our emotional life. But the good news is that part of the process that the Apostle Paul describes in Romans 8:29 as “becoming conformed to the image of His Son” involves God removing the distortions and healing our damaged emotions. That includes the emotion of depression.

The simplest definition of depression is that it is a specific alteration of one's mood downward. When we understand and are in control of our emotions, they can be very constructive. However, when we don't understand depression and when we allow it to control us, it can be a very destructive emotion. Research suggests that one out of every seven individuals will need professional help for depression at some time of their life. It is estimated that industry loses four to six billion dollars of productivity due to the effects of depression that is unacknowledged and untreated.

It is unfortunate that some Christians find it hard to admit that they experience depression.

Many have the wrong idea that the Bible teaches that Christians should not be depressed and so depression must be a sin.

Instead of identifying their emotion as depression and dealing with it, many Christians prefer to say they are sad, discouraged, or just feeling a bit low.

In today's world, the risk of depression continues to be two to three times higher among women than men. There are a wide variety of other factors that can contribute to the development of depression. Regardless of the variety of causes, it is essential to deal with depression as soon as you become aware of it so that it doesn’t get worse. The good news is that there is a lot of help and hope for Christian’s who struggle with depression.

Healthy people experience depression. Christians experience depression. Smart Christians seek help for their depression and allow God to use it as an opportunity for growth in their lives.

Gary J. Oliver, ThM, PhD
Executive Director at Center for Healthy Relationships | + posts

Dr. Oliver is the Executive Director of The Center for Healthy Relationships, and professor of Psychology and Practical Theology at John Brown University.  He has authored over 20 books and more than 350 professional and popular articles.  Dr. Oliver has over 40 years’ experience as a Clinical Psychologist, Marriage  & Family Therapist and Spiritual Director.  He leads seminars & workshops both nationally and internationally on a variety of counseling-related issues, healthy relationships as well as Emotional & Relational Intelligence (ERI).

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