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Table of Contents


Is depression a sin? Absolutely, unequivocally, no.

All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

—Romans 3:23

What does the Bible say?

horizon theme/depression is not a sin

There are hundreds of Bible verses that address our moods, and nowhere do any of them suggest that our moods or emotions are sins. Even the verse “Be angry and yet, do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger” (Ephesians 4:26) does not say the emotion of anger is a sin. It’s what we do with the anger that matters.

Many Christians do not view depression as the serious illness it is. That’s because they don’t consider it an illness; they consider it a sin. It’s surprising why so many Christians have been slow to understand this. The Bible doesn’t even suggest that depression is a sin. I shouldn’t be surprised at the reactions though.

The church’s view

After all, the subject of depression is rarely addressed from the pulpit even though a large number of the congregation is or has been affected by this illness. When is the last time you heard an intelligent, compassionate sermon about depression? They are few and far between, and it’s a rare minister who will tackle the subject. (Between the first and expanded version of this book, I did hear one sermon and it was pretty good.)

What can be done?

I would suggest it’s because pastors may be uncomfortable addressing the subject to their lack of knowledge. But depression should still be addressed. Pastors could learn enough about the illness to ease the burden of those who are struggling. They could offer hope, just like they do for other illnesses about which they are as equally uninformed. But maybe, it hits a little too close to home.

Rare is the pastor or religious leader who will admit to depression, anxiety, or other troublesome mental issues, although many famous ones, including Charles Spurgeon, Beth Moore, and John Piper, have bravely done so. The subject is shoved under the sanctified carpet with all the other issues the church doesn’t address.

Jesus prayed in the garden of Gethsemane and suffered the worst kind of depression. Our depression can’t be compared to his but I’ll bet many people read that passage and said to themselves, “I feel just like that!” I know I have.

But can depression cause sin?

But are there cases where sin can cause depression? Of course. Anytime we continuously engage in any activity we know is sin, we open the door to depression. No Christian knowingly engaged in constant sin can help but have their mental health challenged in some way.

Christians who continue with activities that are outside God’s often pile heaps of guilt on themselves. The higher the piles get, the harder it is to crawl out from under them. And the more guilt they feel, the more Satan has an opportunity to take their guilt and turn it into depression and anxiety. Satan loves for us to feel guilty. He knows that guilt creates a chasm between us and God. Think Judas. His guilt killed him.

But depression, left unchecked, can also cause us to sin. People engage in all kinds of self-destructive behaviors to feel better—alcohol abuse, drug abuse, promiscuity, gambling, overeating, undereating, and more. These behaviors will only exacerbate the symptoms and you will be worse off than before.

Sinful behavior occurs because we just want the pain to go away. Because we are trying to alleviate the pain, we walk closer to sin’s tentacles. What starts as only questionable behavior turns into a dance with the devil. We walk too close to the edge of the pit and fall in because we stayed too close to where we got out.

So, let’s put this to rest. Depression itself is not a sin, although sin may prompt it, and sin may be the outcome if self-destructive behaviors are resorted to.


Do you find yourself tempted to engage in sinful activities to alleviate the pain?

Will you create a plan that will help you avoid them?

God bless and have a good day.

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