Depression - Part IV
“He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.” —Isaiah 53:3-4
In previous articles, we covered how, spiritually, depression can be caused by hopelessness, lack of purpose, and grief. This article focuses on one more cause of depression: guilt.
Guilt is the fact of falling short of God’s standards because of sin (Rom. 3:23), and not just a feeling. In the Bible, there are three kinds of guilt: condemnation, conviction (godly sorrow), and the sorrow of the world, which is only being sorry about getting caught and having to face consequences (II Cor. 7:10).
Condemnation is not only deciding that someone is guilty of doing something wrong and deserves punishment, it also judges the motives of the heart and eternal destiny of a person, and imposes the sentence. Conviction, on the other hand, comes from God when the Holy Spirit reproves of sin, righteousness, and judgment (John 16:7-11).
The Bible says the following are some results of guilt:
People do a lot of things to avoid guilt. They try to change or modify the Bible, blame their circumstances, or redefine sins as diseases or bad habits. These are attempts to either decrease or remove the need of dealing with problems as sin, but none of these are successful since there is only one answer and solution for sin. For the unsaved person, the only answer for guilt is to get saved, and for the believer, it is to repent and ask for forgiveness (I John 1:9). Both are possible only because of Jesus dying on the cross.
- Fear of judgment, hiding, and blaming others (Gen. 3:7-13)
- Shame (Prov. 13:5)
- Distress, trouble, and a broken heart (Lam. 1:20)
- No rest or peace (Isa. 57:20)
- Confusion (Jer. 7:19)
- Physical, spiritual, and eternal death (Rom. 6:23)
- Envy, strife, and divisions (I Cor. 3:3)
- Grief (Ps. 31:10)
- Fear (Mic. 7:17)
One of the greatest descriptions of the physical and emotional results of guilt are found in Psalm 38:
- God’s hand (strength and power) presses me sore (Ps. 38:2).
- There is no soundness (wholeness or soundness) in my flesh. Neither is there any rest (peace, or tranquility in my bones) (Ps. 38:3).
- My sins are a burden (load, to be lifted, to carry or bear) too heavy (burdensome, multiplied) for me (Ps. 38:4).
- I am troubled (my mind is rent, twisted, disturbed, and distorted). I am greatly bowed down (caused to stoop, crouch, sink low, subdued, in humility, and servitude). I go mourning all the day long (with darkness, sadness, and gloom) (Ps. 38:6).
- I am feeble (stunned, paralyzed, astonished, and weakened). Sore broken (crushed, broken in pieces, contrite, humbled, weighed down by guilt, judgment). Roared (crying out) by disquietness of heart (agitation, threat of despairing of hope) (Ps. 38:8).
- Groaning (moaning, and sighing because of physical, spiritual, and mental despair) (Ps. 38:9).
- Heart panting (goes back and forth, wanders, and throbs). My strength (power) fails me (leaves, forsakes, and abandons because of being defeated resulting in sickliness, leanness, and gauntness). Light of my eyes is gone from me (so I cannot see) (Ps. 38:10).
- My foot slips (is removed or falling causing to waver, wobble, instability, stumbling, and falling) (Ps. 38:16),
- I am ready to halt (to give up and quit). Sorrow (pain, suffering, and grief) is continually before me (Ps. 38:17).
- I will be sorry (uneasy, anxious, and fearful) for my sin (Ps. 38:18).
When a person gets saved by confessing and repenting of his sin, and through faith, receives Jesus Christ as his personal Savior and Lord, his sins are forgiven and guilt is removed. This means that the justice of God is satisfied for his sins because of Christ’s death on the cross, he is at peace with God (Eph. 2:14-17, Col. 1:20-22), and reconciled to a right relationship with God (Rom. 5:10; II Cor. 5:18-19).
Not only is the penalty, or punishment, cancelled, but the sin, which is an offense to the holiness of God, is also removed. So both the sins (Ps. 78:38; 79:9; Lev. 5:18), and the sinner (Lev. 4:20) are atoned for. This is the only way that guilt, which can lead to depression, can be removed.