This is for the Christian who suffers from anxiety and depression and feels the need to hide as well as for the Christian who has never experienced such an affliction.
Anxiety affects 18% of Americans ages 18 or older (NIMH, 2014) and depression affects 6.7% of Americans ages 18 or older (NIMH, 2014).
What does anxiety and depression have to do with Christianity? Christians get anxious and depressed. Whether your views are that anxiety and depression are a sin, a result of sin, a medical condition, spiritual oppression, stubbornness, chemical imbalance or manipulation, these disorders are very real and can significantly impair how a life is lived.
Christians will often suffer with anxiety or depression in silence because they fear what they will be thought of by the same people they go to church with. They fear that they will be broken down, analyzed, put under a microscope and told they are the cause for their struggles. They begin to think and believe that because they are not seeing any progress, that God is angry with them, they don’t have enough faith, or they are stubborn to their “sin”. I believe we live in a fallen sinful world, that everything around us is infected and affected by sin. Anxiety and Depression can be the result of just that, living in a broken world.
As Christians we go to church to worship God, to be in fellowship with one another.
Church is the place where you get to hear about a good and great God, about his grace and mercy through the cross. Unfortunately for some, that grace is not felt from their brothers and sisters in Christ when it comes to their mental health. As a body of believers we must consider how we help those, love those who suffer with invisible afflictions.
Mental Health and psychology are complex loaded topics, but ignoring them, casting them aside, dismissing them will not produce growth, will cause division and worse yet marginalize those who are already on the brink of hopelessness.
Every Christian person is unique and at a different place in their faith with Christ. Struggling with anxiety, and depression are all difficult to treat, require understanding, lots of patience, grace and love.
I am thankful that there are individuals that understand the human mind and know how to treat it. I view this as God’s grace.
Christians, Pastors, Leaders, Churches love your brothers and sisters and know that there is a strong possibility that they are fighting a dark battle that has raged on for years and they are not winning. Have understanding, grace and compassion for their suffering. Get education on anxiety and depression, use that with the love of Christ to love those that are hurting.
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