Broken Clocks: Agreements & Convictions Regarding Medication and Mental Health

This is the third post in a series of biblical responses to ESPN'S articles on mental health. This post interacts with the article: To medicate or not? The Thorny mental health issue in the NBA.

A broken clock is right twice a day, but that doesn’t make it reliable. Christians can agree with many observations of secular psychologies, but they must reject solutions that ignore biblical truth. Here are four thoughts from the ESPN article that Christians can affirm, realizing that the Bible shows a different path to lasting help:

Agreement # 1 – Medication often aims at the fruit, not the root.

Medication is not sinful, and the Bible does not condemn seeking comfort or managing pain, if we do so biblically. Biblical principles come into play when medication side effects prevent work, mandate relationships, control us, or violate governing authorities.

  • Biblical Conviction: While alleviating symptoms, remember true relief, hope, and help will aim at the heart, something medications are incapable of doing.

Agreement # 2 – Effects of medication have a shelf life.

Medications and pills can alleviate pain, keep messages from traveling through the body, speed up or slow down natural processes, or introduce agents that are lacking. However, they do not last forever: patients may soon need stronger meds.

  • Biblical Conviction: The effects of medication are short term. Biblical counselors seek to minister the Messiah to people, providing an eternal solution with current implications even if the pain or circumstance never fully subside.

​​Agreement# 3 – Medication is not the only option.

Forms of meditation, cognitive behavioral therapy, and simply living in community have proven effective helping mental health issues. Medication is not the only option, but too often people look to -“quick fixes”- instead of dealing with the heart (see Agreement #1).

  • Biblical Conviction: Other treatments help for a moment, but fundamentally exhibit the same nearsightedness of Affirmation #1 by pivoting from pills but still ignoring the heart. Techniques withouth Christ and the Gospel simply fit a new ring around the same hole. ​​​

Agreement# 4 – Mental health has spiritual implications.

  • Biblical Conviction: Whether helping people deal with suffering, or discerning possible causes, there are spiritual implications that should be addressed when dealing with mental health. Spiritual matters require spiritual remedies, namely the Spirit of Truth, wielding the Word of Truth, bringing individuals to Christ who is the Truth.

Finding the Right Physician

In Mark chapter 5 we find spiritual, mental, and physical illness running rampant. Two of the sufferers tried every worldly solution, leaving them hurt, poor, and alone. When Jesus steps on the scene however, they meet the one with authority over demons, diseases, and death. Christ is the Great Physician who sees the unseen, sifts through symptoms, and provides a prescription for even death. Christ has authority over all things. Players should not decide whether or not to medicate first by the effects on ability to play, but in relation to their relationship with God. He must be at the heart of the matter from the start of the matter.

Soul Training:

Read Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 12:33-37, & 15:18-19

  • What does the Bible say comes from the heart?

Read Mark 5

What had the man, the woman, and the father tried before coming to Jesus? What was the result?

What were the results of their interaction with Jesus?

What do you take to other people or things to deal with instead of Jesus?

Use James 4:1-3 to search your heart, pray for God’s help, and seek Biblical wisdom as to what God says about it and how he wants you to handle that situation.