The Narrow Lutheran Middle: The Problem of Being a Clinically-Depressed Christian
Clinical depression can bring about a great deal of problems in a person’s life. These include a depressed mood, negative self-image, harmful self-talk, a flawed perception of the truth, feelings of anger, sadness, worthlessness, or a lack of feeling, loss of energy, a tendency toward perfectionism, and an inability to self-motivate. As Christians face depression, this diagnosis becomes more complicated when treating the whole person: body and soul. The problems of depression bring significant spiritual implications into consideration. The problem then for the Christian is to weigh the information before him: “Is this a spiritual problem, or is this a physical problem?” This question has been answered in many different ways in recent history, and this answer is exceedingly important because the answer effects how a person should seek treatment for his depression. In answering this, a Christian will have to be a good steward of the information psychology has provided in regard to clinical depression, while balancing that information with what God reveals in Scripture. Satan works exceptionally hard on a person suffering from depression. Since depression often comes with a skewing of logic and perception of the truth, a depressed Christian can feel especially scared when thoughts of doubting God’s promises creep into his mind. But God’s Word brings comfort even as a Christian struggles with depression. In calming a Christian’s mind from the fears of depression, a pastor will seek to find a qualified psychologist to assess the depression and continue to encourage the Christian with God’s Word. Clinical depression cannot be considered a purely bodily or purely spiritual problem in a Christian; pastors will need to minister to the whole Christian, allowing psychology to help in ways it is able, and applying God’s Word appropriately in cases of clinical depression.