A dear friend who I truly do love and respect, threw me for a bit of a loop yesterday by posing the above photo along with this question, “If the Prodigal Son had Xanax, would he have felt bad (convicted) enough to come home?”
Let me first say, this post is not a rant about my friend or a rebuttal to him…but I have not been able to let go of the question itself, so I have to get it out of my system, and this blog is my therapy. Got it? Good.
My thoughts on the subject of people who have been prescribed medication(s) for various problems:
- I haven’t walked even a quarter of a mile in their shoes, so who I am to judge?
- Would we have the same response to a Christian with cancer? Why or why not? Why is it okay to take loritab after a surgery, but not okay for someone who has serious anxiety and been diagnosed with depression or labeled as bipolar to take meds for their sickness? You can’t SEE either disease, but for some reason it is perfectly ok for a cancer patient to have chemo, but not okay for someone with a mental illness to take Xanax, Klonopin, or some variety of a “Happy Pill”.
- If the Prodigal Son had been on Xanax, he probably would have never left home in the first place. He wouldn’t have been nearly as impulsive, and I’m guessing that he would have gone to his room and slept it off.
- Look at the story of the woman with the issue of blood. Do you know that story? An incredible story of a miraculous healing that was performed when a woman simply touched the hem of Jesus’ garment. But back up…for the twelve years before the miracle, she had gone to every doctor in the area, looking for help. She went to all the physicians she could find, and then she met the Great Physician. Had she not had help for the past 12 years, she may have never had that earthly encounter with Jesus.
- The Church (and Church people) must be very careful with our words…and our questions. Questions like the one above (and the thread of comments that tend to follow) are the very things that have caused an entire group of people to feel ostracized from the Church and have made them feel “less-than” an actual Christian.
There are perfectly “normal” Christians, and there are “not-quite-normal” Christians. There are some who medicate with a little white pill, and others who medicate with booze, food, shopping, sex, gambling, etc. If the point of the question (and/or a similar statement) is to say that anything that takes the place of God is a problem, then I completely agree; if the point is to say that prescription drug abuse is a problem, then I completely agree; however, we must be careful with our words so that we don’t make those who aren’t like us (and have a true need) feel belittled or embarrassed.
To those with mental illness: we are different, but not less. We may have experienced hell on earth from our issues, imbalances, and imperfections, but one day, the pain, confusion, fear, and sadness will all be gone. One day, we will meet our Maker face-to-face, and commune eternally with the Prince of Peace.
If nothing else, this experience has taught me a great lesson: don’t make blanket statements, and don’t judge if you haven’t been there.
I look forward to your comments. Remember: this is a safe place and a filter-free zone, so leave your responses and let’s have some healthy dialogue.
Different but not less,