I’m always confused about the sin of despair. Is it a sin to be negative and gloomy about life? So often I feel like my life here on earth is never going to get better. My only hope is in heaven and that the only good thing is God. Is this wrong?
Despair is a sin. Depression is not a sin.
DESPAIR. The sin by which a person gives up all hope of salvation or of the means necessary to reach heaven. It is therefore not mere anxiety about the future or fear that one may be lost. It is rather a deliberate yielding to the idea that human nature cannot co-operate with God’s grace, or that the despairing person is too wicked to be saved, or that God has cast one away. It is a grave crime against God’s goodness. Experience also shows that a tendency to despair can seriously injure one’s physical and mental health, and ironically can lead to all kinds of sinful indulgence. (Etym. Latin de, the opposite of + sperare, to hope: desperatio, hopelessness, despair.)
DEPRESSION. A term used by spiritual writers to describe a state of despondency during which a person feels inadequate, tends to withdraw from others, lacks response to normal stimulation, and is pessimistic about the future. Theologians of asceticism warn about giving in to moods of depression, which they describe as the characteristic of temptation of those who strive after sanctity.
Thanks for those definitions. I’ve always thought despair and depression may be intertwingled but now I see the distinct difference.