The Seventh Part of a Nine Part Series on Depression Which Began on February 10, 2016
There are five main causes of depression. Each by itself may lead to depression, but when an individual encounters more than one of these five, depression is far more likely. The First thing that can cause depression is Loss, and the Second is Anger The Third factor that can lead to depression is our own Sin.
Poor Personal Choices: Our Own Sin and Our Response to the Sins of Others
God allows us to experience sadness, discouragement, and depression when we sin. He does this in order to motivate us. If a person has not yet believed in the death of Christ for their sins, and placed their faith in Him alone for their salvation, the intense negative feelings that sin has brought motivates that person toward Christ.
For Christians, one of the great consequences of sin is how we feel as a result of our behavior. It is not God’s desire for us to perpetually have these feelings, but He does allow them so that we will adopt His attitude toward sin and pursue a life of obedient service to Christ.Our poor choices affect how we feel. In Psalm 32:3-4, David describes the misery he felt when he refused to respond to God.
“For when I kept silent, about my sin, my bones wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was dried up as by the heat of summer.”
Chastened by the Lord, David felt physically, emotionally, and spiritually miserable. Ross writes: “This psalm may be a companion to Psalm 51, referring to David’s sin with Bathsheba. At that time David refused for a year to acknowledge his sin. Psalm 51 was his prayer for pardon; Psalm 32 would then follow it, stressing God’s forgiveness and the lesson David learned.”
Ross, A.P. (1985). Psalms. In J. F. Walvoord and R. B. Zuck (Ed.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary, Old Testament p. 818). Wheaton: Victor Books.
David points to the happiness we can experience by being open to the Lord’s counsel when he rebukes our sinful choices.
“Many are the sorrows of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord” (Psalm 32:10).
Paul wrote the Corinthian Christians what he considered a very severe letter because he wanted them to experience the joy of obedient living. In the letter Paul encouraged them to forsake their complacent attitude toward the sinful behavior of one of their members.
In 2 Corinthians 7:8-10, Paul maintained that he did not regret any sorrow he had caused them by what he had written, because it was the type of sorrow God intended – sorrow for sin.
“For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it – though I did regret it – for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
Clearly, the Lord is always looking out for our long-term benefit and contentment. He may allow us to experience some discouragement to motivate corrections in the way we live. But God’s ultimate goal is for us to experience joy.
Dr James P Porowski Raleigh NC February 19, 2016