“For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things.” (1 John 3: 20)
The apostle of love gives spiritual people a beautiful definition of depression. In the Bible the heart is related to our emotions and feelings. When we feel condemned John tells us some very good news: God is greater than our feelings. Our faith is not based on something as fickle as how we feel. He goes on in this passage to tell us that our faith is based on the fact that we keep our Lord’s commandment that we should love one another.
Throughout the history of the Church of Jesus Christ devout people have struggled with bouts of depression. Some extraordinary spiritual leaders have battled depression. This battle frequently takes place in isolation because it is thought to be inconsistent with faith. People of faith are ashamed of their depression.
While medical professionals are often pharmacologists who medicate depression rather than determine its cause, the Apostle John gives some devotional and practical counsel to a depressed believer. As a busy pastor when I had feelings that condemned me I went on a people binge. I often found that when I became a conduit of the love of Christ for others I affirmed this wise counsel of John.
The Holy Spirit lives in believing people. Although your depression wants you to isolate yourself, when you love other believers the Spirit passes back and forth between you with a healing effect on both of you. That’s why James prescribed that we confess our sins to one another and pray for one another that we may be healed (James 5:16).
John is prescribing something very similar when he tells us to treat our depression with loving one another.
More and more, I have found that “confessing our sins one to another” results more in shunning and hostility rather than exhortation and prayer. It never fails that when I am honest and confess my shortcomings that I am treated like ‘the enemy.” This results in even more isolation and you get more and more hesitant to confess to anyone except God.
This is how bad the church has fallen these days. People don’t want to be brought down by another’s negativity. They take the scripture “whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things” (Philippians 4:8) so literally, that they won’t allow anything negative to cross their path, not even a fellow brother or sister who is hurting.
Thank you for this comforting post. I appreciate it. I hope it not only helps others who are hurting, but maybe touches someone out there who has shunned and turned away from a hurting brother in fear of bringing ‘brought down.”
This is a very good tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.
Brief but very accurate info… Thanks for sharing this one.
A must read article!