In this past Sunday’s Gospel Doctrine lesson on the Johanine Epistles, there was a discussion about God’s love, and how we all should all be able to not just know about it, but truly feel it. It was suggested that one thing that can cause one to be unable to feel the full effects of that love is sinful behavior. A further conclusion was stated that if someone is unable to feel God’s love, they should take a look at their life, and find out what they need to repent of in order to get right with God.
I quickly voiced an, umm, clarified perspective.
While it is true that there is sinful behavior that can perhaps dull one’s spiritual and emotional sensitivity, that should never be the first assumption one makes if someone shares that they are having difficulty feeling God’s love.
I have known individuals who have suffered from clinical depression. One of the effects of this can be the deep inability to feel any pleasant emotion. Our class teacher was quick to acknowledge this, relating an example of a family member who suffered depression who confided that while they knew intellectually at that time that they loved their children, they just couldn’t feel it at that time. That alone was devastating.
To tell someone who is already depressed that they are depressed and unfeeling because they are a sinner is horrible, destructive, and completely insulting not only to the suffering individual, but to God as well. …