That question may surprise some, that question may offend some, and yet, my hope is that you think deeply about your answer. I’ve been told by Bible teachers, acquaintances , and even my son’s friends told him that because I have depression, I must be sinning.
From a Medical or Psychiatric Viewpoint
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel (DSM) created in 1952, is currently on it’s 5th edition. Depressive Disorders are characterized by feelings of intense sadness, guilt, fatigue, and irritability. During a depressive period, people with bipolar disorder may lose interest in activities that they previously enjoyed, experience sleeping difficulties, and even have thoughts of suicide.
There are depression disorder tests include questions about appetite, sleep quality, ability to experience joy, ability to participate in everyday activities, etc. They are open ended questions with time for the clinician to ask more questions.
Anxiety can go with or without depression. Anxiety disorders are those that are characterized by excessive and persistent fear, worry, anxiety and related behavioral disturbances. Fear involves an emotional response to a threat, whether that threat is real or perceived. These symptoms can be measured physically by pulse, blood pressure, an FMRI machine, depression tests measured by a clinician.
Transition to a Spiritual Viewpoint
We can all experience sadness and worry, and legitimately. Many situations come up and our responses are possible worry or sadness and we wouldn’t say that person has a mental disorder. If we run late and we really wanted to be on time, yeah, we can become anxious. When my dog, Barney died of cancer, I cried on and off for weeks. When I argue with a family member, afterwards I experience sadness and regret. When we have an event, i get anxious that we don’t forget things, don’t have to stop for gas, etc.
We have dozens of Bible verses to address trusting in the LORD or to not worry because the Lord will provide. We see His provision in the Bible, history, and I see it in my life. He has the entire world in His hand. He performs miracles daily.
Some Scripture verses…
Say to those who have an anxious heart, “Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you.” – Isaiah 35:4
“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? – Matthew 6:25-2
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. – Matthew 6:34
So when does sadness turn into depression and worry tun into anxiety?
Generally, when the symptoms last for more than 2-4 weeks, according to most therapists and psychiatrists. A trauma can make theses symptoms last years.
We are warned not to worry, fear not, be joyful in the Lord. Yet, the Bible doesn’t have specific verses about continued sadness, OCD, bipolar disorder, borderline personality, hormonal disorders or thyroid disorders, etc. I’m a big proponent of feelings being real, but not truth.
We do see Christ healing by word ( raising Lazarus from the dead by having a tombstone rolled away and calling Lazarus’s name) ; healing by touch (healing a blind man by spitting in dirt and rubbing it on the blind man’s eyes, he touched Peter’s mother in law by the hand and she was well). Jesus showed that we are physical, emotional, and spiritual beings. He healed different ways based on the individual and situation.
To get back to the original point? Is depression or anxiety sin?
Most Christian denominations that believe in God as a Trinity (God the Father, God the Holy Spirit, and God the Son (Jesus) believe that the Son of God was Jesus and He lived a perfect life without any sin, so that we could trust in Him, to be able to have eternal life. Jesus never sinned. This is my firm belief.
Before Jesus Christ’s crucifixion, Jesus, as the perfect form of man and perfect form of God, went into a garden to pray. He prayed intensely. So intensely that the Bible says he prayed great sweat drops of blood.
Now I’ve been extremely stressed (anxious) that I’ve cause myself to have a migraine, my pulse to go to 140, BP super high, but I’ve never been so stressed to have great sweat drops of blood.
By all medical accounts, Jesus was anxious. But never sinned.
My opinion is that medically standard anxiety or depression are not sins. If Christ had the raised heartbeat, blood pressure and sweating blood – all physical manifestations of stress and He never sinned, anxiety and depression are not sinful medical diagnoses.
I know some extreme conservatives will disagree. I’ve had one extremely conservative psychologist tell me to my face I wasn’t depressed and didn’t experience PTSD, and ignored any medical proof I gave.
I’m asking you to clearly think and weigh physical, emotional, and spiritually evidence to make a well informed decision. I’m asking that if you disagree with me, to be wise about how you teach and word these issues to your children.