Swallowed by Overwhelming Depression

“Now if someone has been a cause of pain, it is not I (Sha’ul) whom he has pained, but, in some measure – I don’t want to overstate it – all of you.  For such a person the punishment  already imposed on him by the majority is sufficient, so that now you should do the opposite – forgive him, encourage him, comfort him.  Otherwise such a person might be swallowed up in overwhelming depression.  So I urge you to show that you really do love him” (2 Corinthians 2:5-7). 

Have you ever known someone who has struggled with ‘overwhelming depression?’  Have you ever considered it was caused by a state of pain where there was a lack of forgiveness, encouragement and comfort by those who have hope in Yeshua?

In our world those who are deeply depressed are immediately put on medication because it is believed there is a chemical imbalance in their body.  Of course, medical science can prove this is true, but from where did that imbalance originate?  

Pain

The person who lives with overwhelming depression has caused someone pain whether it’s himself or someone else.  According to Sha’ul, the majority of the Body of Messiah imposes punishment on this person by their actions or non-actions. They allow this person to wallow in their pain without taking the time to really understand what is happening within the spirit and soul of the individual. Few in the Body of Messiah understand the depth of understanding needed apart from just anointing with oil or saying that the doctors know best. Luke was a doctor and from what I read in Scripture, Yeshua never sent anyone to him to be healed. He sent them to the priests to acknowledge that Yeshua healed them.

According to Sha’ul the punishment of those in the congregation through ignorance is not enough. The congregation in Corinth as well as our own congregations are admonished to forgive the person, encourage the person and comfort the person.

“Dear friend, I am praying that everything prosper with you and that you be in good health, as I know you are prospering spiritually” (3 John 2).

A book entitled “A More Excellent Way” written by Henry J. Wright delves into the spiritual roots of disease using the Scriptures along with his medical background.  He suggests that in order to be healthy ‘mind, body, and soul,’ each of us needs to be in right relationship with God, with others, and with ourselves.

Forgiveness

This is ultimately the relationship we have with God.  Through Yeshua’s blood forgiveness of sin comes to each of us as individuals.  Our relationship with God is restored through Yeshua and without him, our relationship with our Creator/Father remains broken and we are complete separated from the love of the One we so desperately need.

“Bear with one another; if anyone has a complaint against someone else, forgive him.  Indeed just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you must forgive” (Colossians 3:13).

Forgiveness from those with whom we fellowship is important.  It is commanded by Yeshua that we forgive our brothers and sisters in order to receive forgiveness from the Father.  We can’t have one without the other.  Yeshua commands forgiveness for a brother or sister 7 times 70 or until forgiveness brings healing to the individuals.

There is also forgiveness of oneself.  This is often the most difficult area of forgiveness because wounding ourselves through wounding another can be a never-ending road to travel.  Satan always reminds us of our fallen nature and judges us with words like, ’You’re not good enough to be forgiven.  You have to flesh this out!”

Because he is the father of lies, these words from the Adversary are also lies.  Yeshua fleshed everything out for us by dying in our place.  Thus, forgiving ourselves is a huge barrier to being truly set free from overwhelming depression or any other disease because it refutes the accusations of the enemy.

Encouragement

“Instead be kind to each other, tenderhearted and forgive each other, just as in the Messiah God has also forgiven you” (Ephesians 4:32).

This is ultimately the relationship with have with others as reflected in the life of Yeshua.  The journey to healing and restoration begins with encouragement in continuing the walk of life as he walked out life.   It is important for someone who struggles with depression and pangs of guilt not to revert into the same emotionally destructive patterns, but to embrace the hope of a full life now, not just in eternity. Encouragement from those in the Body through their own lives living out the teachings of Yeshua become key to complete inner healing and ultimately physical healing.

“Let the Word of the Messiah, in all its richness, live in you as you teach and counsel each other in all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your heart to God in your hearts” (Colossians 3:16). 

Our identity can become so wrapped up in the disease of depression that we need to be encouraged to see ourselves as God sees us – whole and healed being transformed into the image of Messiah.  Our identity should never be in the disease, but in Yeshua who took on our pain and suffering so we could be healed and set free from the spiritual root of the disease.

I knew a woman who asked that God put on her the sins of her husband so he could be saved.  God answered this woman’s prayer and He gave her a very rare cancer.  When she told me what she had done, I told her to immediately repent because we, mere jars of clay, are incapable of taking on our own sin let alone those of someone else.  Her cancer did not go away, but she lived years longer than expected and only passed because of something that really had nothing to do with the cancer.  During her last years of life, her faith in God changed dramatically because she repented and found her life in Messiah.

I was also part of a group of people praying for someone who was ill.  Different pray-ers asked God to put the burden of the illness on them!  Again, we can carry the burdens of the one who is ill by taking care of them, but we were not created to carry the illness or diseases of anyone.  That is the reason and purpose for Yeshua’s death. He is the only One who could actually taken on our burdens of illness because He. Is. God. In. The. Flesh.

“In fact, it was our diseases he bore, our pains from which he suffered; yet we regarded him as punished, stricken and afflicted by God.  But he was wounded because of our crimes, crushed because of our sins; the disciplining that makes us whole fell on him, and in fellowship with him, we are healed” Isaiah 53:4-5). 

Job was afflicted with horrible sores from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head.  He scratched himself with a piece of pottery and sat in ashes.  He never blamed God for what was happening to him.  He never ‘cursed God and died’ as his wife suggested.  Though there was great discourse between Job and his friends, his righteousness before God had been tested because the Adversary challenged that righteousness and God’s protection.  In the end, Job learned about God’s Sovereignty and his life was restored with greater blessings.

Though disease and working through the trial of disease may be allowed by God to transform us into the image of Messiah through suffering, God does not give us diseases to teach us a lesson or show us the way we are going to die.  One of the names or characteristics of God is the El Rafa or the Healer.  It confounds me as to why a Healer would inflict illness on His people and why so-called redeemed people actually believe such nonsense.  Perhaps the only reason a person has been allowed a disease is because it’s the only way to send a faithful servant to a place where someone needs to hear the message of salvation in Yeshua.

Comfort

Praised be God, the Father of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah, compassionate Father, God of all encouragement and comfort; who encourages us in all our trials, so that we can encourage others in whatever trials they be undergoing with the encouragement we ourselves have received from God” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). 

This is ultimately the relationship we have with ourselves as given to us through the Spirit of God.  At the last Passover as Yeshua spoke of the new covenant instituted by his blood, he promised a Comforter when he ascended to the Father.  The Comforter has the power to overcome sin in our life.  Many of the sins in which we find ourselves entangled are rooted in our weakness as a human being. These sins take root and make us ill. By embracing the power of God in our lives, His very Spirit of Life, we become strengthened to stand against those sins and walk in health.  In this way the Comforter  becomes the ‘medication’ that truly heals the conflict between our spirit and soul and ultimately our bodies.

“May the God of shalom make you completely holy – may your entire spirit, soul and body be kept blameless for the coming of our Lord Yeshua the Messiah” (1 Thessalonians 5:23).

Henry Wright suggests that depression is caused by a battle between the spirit and the soul.  What exactly does this mean?

First, I believe it means that when we are diagnosed with an illness like depression, we need to stop and look at what is happening spiritually in our lives.  How is what is happening affecting our soul?  What are we embracing in this world that is affecting our soul. Everyone knows the hymn, “It Is Well With My Soul,” but is it?  Is there a battle between what you know is Truth and what your soul and mind are telling you?  We are to have the mind of Messiah and take every thought captive to him not embrace the lies of our enemy!

“For who has known the mind of Adonai?  Who will counsel him? But we have the mind of Messiah” (1 Corinthians 2:16).

In my lifetime, I have know three people to take their lives.  The first was a man I worked with for several years.  I had lost touch with him only to reconnect several months before he made that fateful decision.  Those who lived near him heard him fighting with ‘someone’ the night he died.  He was alone.  I believe his spirit and soul battled the enemy for his life.

The second was a woman who was a believer.  She never gave any sign of depression though after she took her life, it came out she struggled with depression for many years.  Why, as a believer, did she succumb to the lies of the evil one?  What were her last moments like?  Did her spirit and soul lose to the enemy?

The third was a young man I had known since he was born.   As I tried to understand the reasons for such an action,  I just could not fathom making the decision to ‘end it all.’  He had a wife and two very young sons.  Yet, for some reason, he also believed the lies of the evil one who came to steal, kill and destroy his life and his family.  From the evidence surrounding his life and death, there was definitely a battle going on between his spirit and his soul and they lost the battle with the enemy.

The most famous Biblical suicide was Judas.  Once he betrayed Yeshua, he went to the authorities and said, “I sinned in betraying an innocent man to death.”  He, too, had a struggle between his soul and his spirit.  The leaders didn’t care that he had a conscience and so he hurled the pieces of silver into the sanctuary of the Temple and hung himself (Matthew 27:1-10).

Standing Before God

“We have God’s power for demolishing strongholds.  We demolish arguments and every arrogance that raises itself up against the knowledge of God; we take every thought captive and make it obey the Messiah” (2 Corinthians 10:5).  

When I was in Israel I asked a man who claimed to be a cohen how Judaism viewed suicide.  Christianity has so many perspectives from a loss of salvation to it really doesn’t matter how a person dies because he was loved by so many that  he’s in heaven.  No one ever really deals with the consequences of such a decision.  This man said the Scriptures clearly state that we will each stand before God and give an account of our lives.  In Judaism he said it is believed that the one who takes his life will also give an account of his death.  What a burden to carry for the one who commits the murder of himself!  What would it be like to stand before my Creator and Father and explain why I didn’t want His breath of life any longer flowing through my body? 

“It is the Spirit of God that made me, the breath of Shaddai that gives me life” (Job 33:4).  

After considering these verses in Corinthians I began to see another side of the “account of death.” What if those who take their lives stand before God and say, “No one forgave me, no one encouraged me to walk in faith like Yeshua, no one comforted me with the comfort of the Spirit when I struggled?”  What if the Body of Messiah will be accountable for the death of one of those who was struggling with overwhelming depression?  What if the Body of Messiah has lost the ability to use the Scriptures to the full extent teaching forgiveness, encouragement and comfort? What if the Body of Messiah has lost its connection with the Father through His Spirit and their identity with Yeshua?

Sha’ul is clear in 1 Corinthians 11 that those who ‘eat the body and drink the wine’ in an unworthy manner, who don’t recognize the Body of Messiah,  drink judgment upon themselves.  He says that is why there are many who are weak and sick among the congregation.  Could the same be said for those who don’t forgive, encourage and comfort those with overwhelming depression, suffering a battle between the spirit and the soul only to lose to the enemy?

Ultimately the answers to these questions will be answered by our Father in the coming Kingdom or in eternity as I sure don’t have the answers or understand any of this. Until then, as another man considered a believer succumbs to suicide, I wonder what his resurrection moment will be like when he stands before God and must give an account of his life … and death? Will it be about a battle between his soul and spirit that he had no power to overcome – he lacked the power of the Spirit and walked a life of defeat?  Will it be that he just didn’t know and understand that his identity wasn’t in the pain he suffered, it was in Messiah Yeshua who took on the pain so he could be free from his suffering?   Or, will it be that he never had truly accepted the forgiveness offered by God through Messiah’s blood and though he was a good man had a broken, unrestored relationship that will keep him from an eternal Paradise?

Whatever brought him to this decision of death, an account will be given. It will either be a burden on him to explain or a burden on the Body of Messiah.

“If we would examine ourselves …” (1 Corinthians 11:31). 

©2019 Tentstake Ministries Publishing

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