Thursday, March 19, 2015

Is it a Sin to Take Medicine?

Someone asked me, "Is it a Sin to Take Medicine?" This is another opportunity for you to seek the Lord in prayer and the Word for an answer. I do not see a Scripture that says the words, "medicine is a sin." However, I will share my opinion, based on what I know, based on the Bible, God's Word.

Biblical Examples of Medicine
The Bible does speak about oil and balm for soothing purposes.  And it says that Hezekiah used a poultice. "Then Isaiah said, 'Prepare a poultice of figs.' They did so and applied it to the boil, and he recovered." (2 Kings 20:7, NIV). But look at what came before that.

First Hezekiah became ill unto death. Then the prophet Isaiah told him to set his house in order since he would not recover, but would die. Then he prayed with tears asking God to heal him. Then the Lord sent the prophet to tell him that the Lord heard his prayers and would heal him. He only used the poultice at the Lord's direction and it was a natural remedy divinely inspired.

That sequence is a good one to follow. You should take the time to pray first, set your house in order, get your heart right with God, amend your ways, ask for healing, and trust the Lord to do so, because it's His will to heal us (James 5:14-16).  Jesus took up your infirmities on the cross and provided for your healing through his atonement (Mt 8:17; 1 Pe 2:24). (See Healing is in the Atonement).

In addition to praying, I encourage you to do your research and see what Biblical ways you could help your body heal. These could include practical steps like resting, drinking plenty of pure water, changing your diet, avoiding white poisons, stretching, exercising, hot or cold compresses, or using natural remedies. It could also certainly include repentance, fasting, and receiving deliverance from demonic sources causing the malady.

Sorcery Connection with Pharmacy
Another thing to keep in mind is that the Greek word for "sorcery" or "magic" is "pharmakeia." That is the root word for our modern English word "pharmacy" or "pharmaceutical". Sorcery itself is one of the sins that will keep you from heaven (Gal 5:20- 21; Rev. 21:8; 22:15).

Pharmaceutical companies belong to the most influential and richest companies in the world. They are producing various powders, pills, and potions for doctors to prescribe for you, so they can sell them to you.  Most of them don't heal our bodies but simply address symptoms. If you do your research online or by calling the pharmacist, you will find a list of possible side effects and risks, such as diseases caused by taking the so-called medicine. Some medicines can cause cancer, serious complications, and even result in death. What good is taking medicine that makes you sick with something else now or later?

It makes me think of the woman with the issue of blood, who, "Although she had endured a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all of her money, she had not been helped at all, but rather grew worse." (Mk 5:26, NIV).

Who is Your Physician?
Learn the lesson from that woman! Once she heard about Jesus, she sought healing from Him, the Great Physician, because she realized that no other doctor could help her.  "When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, 'If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.' Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering." (Mk 5:27-28. NIV).

Reach out and touch the hem of His garment, so that you may be healed. Call upon His Name, which is more powerful than any disease you can name. Don't put your trust in doctors to save you! Although the Lord may use a doctor, and He certainly does sometimes, yet He is the ultimate Healer.

"Do not trust in princes, In mortal man, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit departs, he returns to the earth; In that very day his thoughts perish. How blessed is he whose help is the God of Jacob, Whose hope is in the LORD his God, Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;" (Psa 146:3-8, NASB).

Mortal men cannot save you.  Only the Lord can.  So turn to Him first.  When you are sick, let me encourage you to read and pray through Psalm 41.

Examples of When It Is a Sin to Take Medicine
There are some situations where it would definitely be a sin to take prescription or non-prescription drugs.  For example, it is a sin if you abuse it or use it excessively or overdose.  It is a sin if you use prescription or non-prescription drugs for purposes other than those for which it was intended (e.g., using cough medicine to get high). It is a sin if you take it when you really don't need it, or if you become dependent upon it or addicted to it.  It is a sin if you make it an idol. It is a sin to take it if the Lord has told you not to take it. It is a sin to use any drug for recreational purposes. And it should be obvious that it is a sin to take anything prescribed by a witch doctor, user of white magic, or New Age practitioner.  That includes things like stones, crystals, and various other occult therapies such as acupuncture and acupressure.

I do not advise people to take mind-altering drugs, known as psychotropic medications.  These are ones used to treat mental illnesses, such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, ADHD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic attacks, phobias, and psychosis. These medications can open up doors for demons to enter your life. Once you start taking them, it is very difficult to get off them.  And they don't really solve the root cause of your problem, but rather mask it. These types of problems often have spiritual causes that cannot be solved by medication.

Yet often times our motive for taking medicine is that we want quick and easy solutions to our problems.

International Statistics
One in four teens has misused or abused a prescription drug at least once in their lifetime. --PATS 2013

More people die from abusing prescription pain relievers than cocaine and heroin combined.  --CDC
Prescription drug abuse, while most prevalent in the US, is a problem in many areas around the world including Europe, Southern Africa and South Asia. In the US alone, more than 15 million people abuse prescription drugs, more than the combined number who reported abusing cocaine, hallucinogens, inhalants and heroin.  --drugfreeworld.org
In 2005, 4.4 million teenagers (aged 12 to 17) in the US admitted to taking prescription painkillers, and 2.3 million took a prescription stimulant such as Ritalin. 2.2 million abused over-the-counter drugs such as cough syrup. The average age for first-time users is now 13 to 14. -- drugfreeworld.org
10 million young people (12 to 29 year olds) in America are in current need of treatment for substance abuse and addiction. -- NSDUH 2012
Depressants, opioids and antidepressants are responsible for more overdose deaths (45%) than cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine and amphetamines (39%) combined. In the United States, the most deaths used to take place in inner cities in African-American neighborhoods, but they have now been overtaken by white rural communities. The same trend can be seen in the rates of hospitalization for substance abuse and emergency hospitalization for overdoses. Of the 1.4 million drug-related emergency room admissions in 2005, 598,542 were associated with abuse of pharmaceuticals alone or with other drugs. -- drugfreeworld.org
By survey, almost 50% of teens believe that prescription drugs are much safer than illegal street drugs—60% to 70% say that home medicine cabinets are their source of drugs. --drugfreeworld.org

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, teens who abuse prescription drugs are twice as likely to use alcohol, five times more likely to use marijuana, and twelve to twenty times more likely to use illegal street drugs such as heroin, Ecstasy and cocaine than teens who do not abuse prescription drugs. -- drugfreeworld.org
Personal Examples
I cannot say that we have never used medicine as disciples of Christ.  My wife gave birth to most of our children naturally, although two of them had to be induced (through injection of pitocin). In one case, she needed a spinal anesthesia whereby a local anesthetic drug is injected into the spinal fluid. That is risky and can result in paralysis. But the Lord was faithful and she regained all her sensation after it wore off. One of my children had to use an inhaler for asthma, although the Lord definitely healed her at one point.  Another time I went to the emergency room for kidney stones and they administered pain killing medicine intravenously, which brought relief to my extremely intense pain. When we have dental work done, we accept the use of dental anesthesia to numb our mouth.  Members of our family have used allergy medicine to find relief. And when I had an abscessed tooth recently, I was in so much pain that I eventually went ahead and took a pain reliever, as well as an antibiotic prescribed by the dentist, although I hate to take those.

Your God-Given Defense System
Keep in mind that the word "antibiotics" comes from two words: "anti" means "against" and "bio" means "life."  So they not only kill the bad living organisms in your body, but they also kill the goods ones that your body needs, weakening your own immune system.  The medicine doesn't know how to distinguish between the good organisms inside you and the bad ones.  So it is best not to use these, if you can avoid them. Your own immune system is quite capable of fighting off infections and disease on its own, if it is kept healthy. It is your God-given defense system.

In addition to antibiotics, the weakening of the immune system could be brought about by a number of reasons such as exposure to chemical pollution, ionising radiation, electric fields, poor nutrition, accidents, shock, depression, and many more. That's why it is important to keep it healthy. And if it has already been weakened, then it's important that it be restored it to health, so it may be strong enough once again to defend you.

Conclusion
So I am not advising you to use medicine.  In fact, generally speaking, I think a Christian should try to avoid using medications. But I am not saying it is always a sin to use it in every instance. Many times the reason for not taking them may simply be for health reasons. And I do not say that we should never take an aspirin or other medicine. If you do, be sure to pray over the medicine before taking it, so that it may be purified in the blood of Jesus. That is my advice, but please seek the Lord about it for yourself.  And it is best if you seek Him first for healing, before making a decision whether to take medicine.

Don't be like King Asa. Pray about it! "In the thirty-ninth year of his reign Asa was afflicted with a disease in his feet. Though his disease was severe, even in his illness he did not seek help from the LORD, but only from the physicians." (2 Chronicles 16:12, NIV).  He died within two years of being afflicted with that disease, and I think the way he handled it surely displeased the Lord.

Let me encourage you to visit the Home page of this blog, as I have many articles on that topic that I believe will be helpful to you.  If you have not given your life to Jesus, then please do so today.  And if you are a backslidden Christian, please return to the Lord today.

Disclaimer: This article is not to be construed as medical advice.  You must seek the Lord on your own, do your own research, and consult with a physician as you deem necessary, as the Lord leads.

Attribution notice: Most Scripture quotations taken from the NASB. Most other Scriptures taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® NIV®, unless otherwise noted.

Author's note: This post is part of a series.  If you enjoyed it, you may also like the other posts in this blog available through the Home page, such as What Does the Bible Say About Vaccines?, Healing is in the Atonement, and White Poison. I also recommend The Name of Jesus and my daughter's poem, Faith Should Not Depend on Feeling, which she wrote the same day she received a divine healing in her body.  You may also access my blog directory at "Writing for the Master."

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"
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Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission. www.dmiworld.org.

4 comments:

  1. SO what should someone with bipolar disorder do if you think they shouldn't take medication?

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    1. Dear Nancy, thanks for reading and commenting. First of all, the exact cause of bipolar disorder is unknown. Secondly, there is no fool-proof way to test positive for bipolar. The diagnosis is given based on the individual's displayed symptoms.

      I am of the belief that we should treat the root cause of illness and disease and not symptoms. And if the root cause is unknown, how can one effectively treat it. Without knowing the root cause of a problem, any solution is but a band aid, and may even make matters worse! I do not advocate shooting in the dark or fixes that backfire.

      While I am not a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist, or social worker, and my article should not be taken as "professional advice", the fact is that the Bible is the Book of Truth and holds the answers we need for life. In order to do the right thing, we must know what is true. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (Joh 14:6). He said you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free (Joh 8:32). And whom the Son sets free is free indeed (Joh 8:36).

      While counseling is one aspect that is needed, heeding the Word of God is essential in order to receive healing. We know that Jesus gave his disciples power and authority over all the demons to cast them out and to heal every kind of disease (Mt 10:1; Lk 9:1). That's a wonderful truth. He is able to heal every kind of disease (Mt 4:23).

      An individual diagnosed with bipolar disorder may commit sinful acts like anyone else and must treat those sins like any other person should, according to God's Word. He should acknowledge that his actions are sinful, repent, and seek forgiveness. Believers should never blame their illness for their behavior, because we are all accountable to God for whatever we do while in the body (2 Cor 5:10).

      I believe that healing is available through Jesus Christ. He may choose to do that in various ways. I have found that sometimes healing comes through laying on of hands for healing in Jesus' name. It can also come through deliverance from demons in Jesus' name. And it can come through repenting. And it can come through forgiveness, both receiving it and giving it to others. It can come through prayer. It can also come through making changes in the diet, as well as exercise and getting proper rest.

      I also believe in taking the Word of God as medicine. In other words, finding the Scriptures that apply to your situation, praying through them, claiming the promises of God, and then turning those into proclamations you say out loud over yourself. Making those proclamations three times a day with meals is a good prescription for healing.

      I would encourage you to listen to the story of Josef Korbel on this link (https://youtu.be/FV27N_KTgqo), taken from the book, In My Enemy's Camp. Josef worked with The Salvation Army in pre-communist Czechoslovakia, and was subjected to persecution due to his faith in God after the subsequent take over of his country. One part of his story that is in this video is about a crazy man with whom he shared a prison cell, and how that man was healed by God as he read through Josef's Bible and through the presence of God in Josef's life. Once the man repented and gave his life to Jesus, he was restored to his right mind.

      I hope this helps. Shalom! (Phil 4:4-7)

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  2. Hi. I was raised in church. My grandfather was a Pentecostal preacher. I have suffered mental illness since childhood. I'm 52 and have struggled with my illness and faith all my life. I've been diagnosed as bipolar 2, ptsd, generalized anxiety, and borderline personality disorder. There were times I couldn't leave my room for weeks. My relationship with God was on and off like everything in my life. .. unstable. No medications were right and prayers only lasted so long. One year ago I found a christain psychiatrist and counselor and my life had never been better. Yes I'm on medicine and I'm back in church faithfully. I look forward to the next service before I leave church. I am truly happy for the first time and I have a personal relationship with my Savior Jesus Christ. I have prayed for healing and talked to Him about my medications and so far I have no guilt or condemnation about taking them. If at anytime He tells me to stop then I will trust Him and do so. But it is a personal walk and sometimes people with mental need to be on the rightmedication for a while before they can even begin to know what is real and what is not. I know God can and does heal but if a person doesn't have that faith sometimes medications helps to get the mind back to normalcy. I still give God all the praise and all the glory.

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    1. Dear lovinmylifewithJesus, thanks for reading and commenting. I'm glad you have a personal relationship with Jesus and that you have talked to Him about your medications. With regard to your happiness since beginning to take medication, let me just say that happiness is not a good indicator of whether something is right or whether it is the will of God.

      Plenty of people are happy in their sin. Someone may be happier since they left the church and since they left Jesus and went back to the world and divorced their wife. Someone may be happy in an adulterous relationship. That does not make it morally right. One pastor even had an affair and thought he could divorce his wife, marry his mistress, and remain pastor. The elders had to tell him he couldn't do that. In the end he was kicked out, if I recall correctly, because he refused to repent. Sin is deceptive.

      Someone may feel happy when they use illegal drugs like marijuana or cocaine or meth or ecstasy, but that does not mean it is the will of God or that it is not sin. They may feel happy when they drink alcohol or eat chocolate or eat an icecream cone. But that doesn't mean they are necessarily experiencing that emotion due to being in the will of God. Emotions can fool us.

      Drugs do have an effect on the mind. And psychotropic drugs used to treat mental illness are no exception. They do affect the mind both short term and long term. In fact, if you research it yourself, you may find that the long-term effects of psychotropic drug use are a problem that may be just as bad as the mental illness they are treating. How many victims have suffered from their long-term use mentally, emotionally, and physiologically? How many have suffered spiritually? These are questions to ask.

      All too often when the medicine is presented a solution to something physical or mental, there is a price to pay. The price is not only monetary but also personal in terms of suffering side-effects that may be worse than the disease itself. So I still would not advise anyone to use psychotropic drugs. Like other drugs they are putting a bandaid on the problem instead of actually dealing with the root cause, In my humble, non-professional opinion.

      God bless you.

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