Lately I have been reminded again and again about the stigma of depression within the Church. This should not be. The church does not have a stigma against cancer, chronic fatigue, or kidney problems and other illnesses. But let someone come into the church and mention that they suffer from depression, and people begin to look at them as if they have two heads.
I know that recently there was an online acquaintance that is a Christian who posted an image on their wall on Facebook that I had an issue with. I tried to search and find the image to share, but I was not able to find it again. I mentioned that I found the image offensive and the person got mad at me and had injured feelings about this. The image said something to the effect of Depression happens because you try to handle problems without God...there were 3 different statements that I don't remember but that was the basic meaning of the image.
I said all that to say this is a huge problem in the church. So many Christians who have never experienced depression still think that it is an issue of someone sinning, or someone who does not have enough faith. This is not always the case. True, I was not a believer when I started my battle with depression. However, some of my worst episodes happened when I was a believer and attending Church. It was then that I began to really struggle with the suicidal thoughts. My problems did not make me any less of a Christian.
I can not say that I never sinned in my depression. Yet my depression was not caused by my sin. Christians are not exempt from the problems in this world. Many Christians have health problems, and mental health struggles are still health struggles. So why does the Church insist on treating those with mental health problems differently?
Today I just need to say that those of you doing all that you know is right, God sees you. God loves you with a never-ending love. He does not think less of you, so stand strong and know that you have a chance to help others relate to you. More that, reach out to a friend you know who is being misunderstood and help them feel the love of Jesus.
Those who have never experienced depression simply do not understand. Unfortunately most of us that are depressed lack the energy to try to share it with others because we are so misunderstood. But in your stable moments, reach out and try to educate the world around you, so that the next person may have it easier.
Church, my prayer is that we will learn to love everyone like Jesus and quit assuming that our health problems are a result of sin, just because our problems are different from yours.