Saturday, November 25, 2006

Am I Showing a Lack of Faith If I Take Medication?

"SAD" asked the following question in the Q&A board at Phatmass:
So I'm wondering if it's wrong to take anti-depressants instead of just asking God to heal me? What if I'm supposed to be patient until He heals me instead of trusting in modern medicine? I'm just not sure what to do
I certainly think that we are allowed to take medication for our ailments. We see this in Scripture too:

Luke 10:33-34
33 But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was; and when he saw him, he had compassion,
34 and went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; then he set him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

1 Tim 5:23 No longer drink only water, but use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments.

2 Kings 20:7 And Isaiah said, "Bring a cake of figs. And let them take and lay it on the boil, that he may recover."

God can use the things of this world and the advances that man has made in science and medicine to heal us. It does not imply a lack of faith to take medicine anymore than it does to go to a doctor or a dentist. However, insure that the Lord is always involved. Pray to him daily for healing. Acknowledge the "Great Physician" working through the human physician. We must never give the Lord the impression that we can do just fine without Him.

I hope that helps

Pax Christi,

ps: Anti-depressants are the most effective in conjunction with counseling, so I recommend finding a therapist as well.


Tiber Jumper said...

As a practicing physician, I was always saddened to see well-meaning sincere Christians struggle with depression and other mental illness because of their wrong conclusion that God should heal them through prayer, bible study etc etc.
I too bought into this wrong theology a long time ago and watched my wife slowly die of cancer leaving me with two young children who didn't realize she was dying because we didn't want to "block the healing" by accepting her dying.
Regarding the original post:
For some reason, christians think of mental illness as a spiritual issue, and not a physical issue. To be sure, folks who live in sin and make bad choices often deplete serotonin and become depressed, however, more often than not, I treated godly people with a strong genetic predispostion to depression who suffered terribly through no fault of their own.
Part of the this mindset of not taking meds, borders on christian science and gnosticism, flesh=bad, spirit = good.
I used to have "hyper faith" christian patients ask me for antibiotics for their colds, bronchitis, etc, to alleviate the symptoms so they could better "believe God for the healing"
If that isn't twisted and convoluted, I don't know what is. Talk about a works mentality!
But back to the subject, I pray that folks with mental illness, anxiety, depression etc, can rest in the loving arms of their Savior and simultaneously, see their counselor and get on some good safe medications!

phatcatholic said...


I too have seen the damaging effect that "hyper-faith", "name-it-claim-it" teaching can have. See paragraph 6 from my reversion story:

Praise Christ our King that you crossed the tiber.

Kim said...

Good question, good answer. I'm on meds myownself and sort of thought about this but never really dwelt on it.

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