The following comment was written by Adam on the post This is Serious: a warning to christian counselors
Speaking a Christian family physician, that is employed at a conservative Baptist Student Health Center, I have grave concern about the direction of many of the above comments. First, I can tell you not all mental illness is rooted in Sin. We are all sinners and even the most obedient Christ followers fall from grace. Second, there is indisputable evidence that the brains of those that suffer from depression chemically are different than those whom are not depressed. Furthermore, different areas of the brain may respond differently in those depressed than those not depressed.
One of the gravest harms brothers and sisters in Christ can commit toward those whom suffer from mental illness is to directly relate the depth of the depression or mental illness to one’s faith and relationship with Christ. For example, take a 85 year old man that has been on dialysis for several years, is confined to his home due to physical weakness, and thus often isolated from friends and family. Now this same gentleman loves the Lord. He prays nightly for over 75 different individuals in his life. He sings Hymms nightly with his wife for entertainment. He also suffers from depression due to his chronic illness. The biggest sin we as brothers and sisters in Christ is to tell him if his faith was deeper than God would heel his Kidneys and his depression. Clearly this is not true.
The same goes for a young college student that is suffering from depression. She leads a women’s small group. She is engaged to be married to a future pastor. She loves the lord and attends worship daily. However she is struggling to find her way in life. She isn’t sure about her career choice. Her parents expect her to graduate in 3 years instead of 4 to save money (her older siblings were able to do this) She has not yet been able to secure employment. Her sister died last year tragically as did her grandfather she was quite close with. She suffered an injury that ended her career as a soccer player. She also suffers from depression. Her mother tells her that if her faith was stronger she certainly wouldn’t have this affliction.
These people would clearly benefit from an anti-depressant in addition to counseling. They both have strong faith and believe the Lord will deliver them, but that doesn’t make it easier to get out of bed tomorrow and live their life. Telling these people their Sinful lives and lack of faith is the cause of their depression is much more likely in my experience to prolong their depression. Additionally, it may even worsen their depression to the consideration and attempt of suicide. (I have personally witnessed this occur in more than one person.) As brothers and sister our goal should be to love and support these people. To give them Christ’s words of encouragement and to show them empathy. If you are not a medical professional guiding these people away from medicine is akin to a new believer preaching a sermon on the trinity….they have no business doing so and are likely to have an extremely shallow understanding of the problem….thus likely to not guide the congregation in the correct direction….if you ask me that is the tool of satan, not medications!