Does God Want Me To Use Depression Pills or Psychotropic Medications?
Christianity versus Pyschotropic
For years I have been told from other people that their church, their pastor or their friend has told them that God does not want them on life saving psychotropic medications. Christians are told that by taking Zoloft or Paxil they are not trusting in God. As a Christian believer and as a person who takes psychotropics on a regular basis, I know the need to get out the proper information on this subject. Before you begin or end any medication YOU MUST consult your physician. This article is intended to debunk the rumors of God versus Psychotropics.
Who has made you feel guilt over using anti-depression, anxiety or any psychotropic medication?
First we need to define mental disorder. Mental Disorder is defined by Merriam-Webster as, "a mental or bodily condition marked primarily by sufficient disorganization of personality, mind and emotions to seriously impair the normal psychological functioning of the individual." (http://www.merriam-webster.com) By this definition, we must conclude that there are at least two types of impairments of the "normal psychological functioning," minor and serious. Freedictionary.com's medical dictionary defines mental disorder as, "any clinically significant behavioral or psychological syndrome characterized by the presence of distressing symptoms, impairment of functioning, or significantly increased risk of suffering death, pain or other disability." (http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/mental+disorder) Again, we must conclude there are serious or significant symptoms and non-serious symptoms. This will help us see how God, through the Christian faith, sees the use of psychotropic medication.
Scriptures Taken Out of Context
There are three verses in the Christian Holy Bible that are most often used, out of context, to show believers that taking psychotropics is "un-Godly."
- Ephesians 4:26-27, "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil." (English Standard Version)
- II Timothy 3:16-17, "All scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work." (English Standard Version)
- Romans 15:4, "For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope." (English Standard Version)
First, let us look at Ephesians 4:26. Some would tell you that instead of taking medication you need to not sin so that satan will not be able to use your sin to make you feel depressed. The cure to depression is expressing anger so that satan can not use it to depress you. When we look at this verse in context we see that Paul, the author of Ephesians, is expressing a need for unity in Jesus and then expounding on a new life through Christ Jesus. Paul is telling us to put away our old way of doing things in exchange for a new way of doing things. In other words, instead of reacting in anger that destroys the other person; talk to the offender and resolve the issue immediately. This passage is teaching Christians how to react. It is not teaching Christians to ignore medical professionals.
II Timothy 3:16-17 is used by some to tell believers that the only treatment believers need is the Christian Holy Bible. Again, let us look at the context of this verse. II Timothy is literally a letter from the Apostle Paul to Timothy giving instruction to Timothy. In this particular passage, Paul explained how there would be godlessness in the "last days" and then immediately begins to tell Timothy how he can trust scripture in these times. This particular verse is telling Timothy that all scripture is inspired by God and is useful to equip, teach and/or correct the followers of Christ. Paul is "equipping" Timothy with the Words of God and not telling believers that medical treatment is not necessary.
Finally, Romans 15:4 is used to tell Christians that only through Scripture can believers hope to be healed of depression, anxiety or mental illness. This is again not what the author of the book of Romans intended. Contextually, Paul is referring to the example of Christ that believers follow. By following Christ Jesus' example believers can have hope and encouragement. This is not telling believers that their mental disorder can be only overcome by scripture.
Doctors for the Sick
There is not a single instance in the Christian Holy Bible where God or Jesus forbids medical treatment. As a matter of fact, Abraham wrote some very medically sound requirements in the Pentateuch (first 5 books of the Christian and Jewish Bible) in reference to handling of dead people or animals. The Christian Holy Bible never states that people should ignore doctors and rely only on the Word of God.
According to our definitions, there are two types of impairments-serious and not serious. The Biblical references that we have seen, when placed in context, can help with minor mental impairments. The encouraging words of the Bible can and will lift a Christian's mood, outlook and moral compass. Ephesians 4:26-27 is meant to encourage a better moral compass. II Timothy 3:16-17 is meant to provide a different outlook on life. The Christian Holy Bible works with medical science and not against it. Could the Bible help keep infections from spreading? Yes, Leviticus 15:13 tells us to wash our hands with running water when we come into contact with disease. Can the Bible cure us of an infection already in our system? No.
In closing, psychotropic medication can be used in conjunction with faith. The Christian faith does not outlaw or discourage the use of a medical professional. Christians need to be able to see the truth and encourage their fellow believers.
I believe that Jesus can and does heal physical problems that people have. This article is meant to address the fact that mental disorders are physical problems that may be severe enough to need a doctor.