He shared how when he has shared his disability with pastors or teachers (he hesitates to bring it up anymore), he is often told that his problem is "unconfessed sin in your life." Now my sin can definitely cause me to be depressed, however, if I have clinical depression based upon a form of mental illness, my depression is not due to unconfessed sin. That is the first lession. Second, if you tell me that the reason I experience depression is because I have unconfessed sin in my life, you are basically saying that you think you are better than me because you, as an idyllic, humble example of righteousness have confessed your sin so you do not experience depression. While I have such an obstinate attitude that I will refuse to confess my sins and thus I experience my depression.
This response is not only simply wrong, it is so prideful in judging one's neighbor when you may have no idea of what the person with the mental illness is experiencing. Need I even mention the book of Job? You experience no impairment, no disability, no mental illness because of your righteousness, while I experience impairment, disability, mental illness because of my sinful condition that you claim I refuse to confess.
This perspective is referred to as the moral model of disability. I basically states that impairment/disability is due to what I have done, or my parents have done or my family has done. You see I/we are bad people and we are just getting what is coming to us. But if we were more like you who does not experience impairment/disability then we would not experience impairment/disability too.
When I have the opportunity to speak to groups, I often ask whether sin is the cause of disability. Not from the perspective of the "original sin of Adam" but just more related to my personal sin. Now I can do things of a sinful nature that can cause disability in others. If I act violently towards another person I can cause disability. But does the fact that I am a thief or a liar, or do not honor my parents, etc., basically that I am as Paul referred to himself the worst of all sinners (1 Timothy 1:15), should I expect that my children will as a result be disabled? In reality if sin were the cause of disability and I truly understood the sinful condition of people, then I should expect that ALL of our children would be disabled. In my personal life, I know that sin is not the cause of disability because neither of my children are disabled. I know myself, and trust me if sin were the cause of disability my children would be disabled.
But back to the conversation I had with my friend. He may do things in his life of a sinful nature that can cause him to feel depressed, but his experience of mental illness is not due to unconfessed sin in his life any more than the lack of mental illness is caused by the confessed sin in the life of his detractors. We need to understand human impairments for what they are. We need to understand the pervasiveness of sin in all of us. Recognize that it is the pride in me that causes me to see myself as somehow perfection in my spiritual astuteness to confess my sin, while simultaneously seeing someone who experiences impairment/mental illness as other and imperfect and unrepentant.
Get the log out of your own eye before you point out the splinter in someone else's eye (Matthew 7:5).