You wouldn’t ask a diabetic to pray for more insulin, so why would you ask someone with a chemical imbalance in their brain to deny themselves the medication or treatment they need? Why make someone feel guilty for taking medication that literally keeps them alive and functioning?
The brain, like the heart, is a major organ that sometimes needs medical intervention. Mental illness, addiction and suicide are not moral failings. They are illnesses or the result of one.
Oftentimes, those who suffer depression or some other mental illness are encouraged to pray their way out of it. Still others imply that this was God’s way of teaching you a lesson because you were not strong enough in your faith. You didn’t pray enough, love enough, try hard enough.
Those who have lost a loved one by suicide have also gotten harsh judgment from members of their own church, leaving them feeling hurt and questioning their own faith. They were told their loved one lacked faith or did something wrong. It’s looked upon as a “sin.”
Losing a loved one to suicide or overdose is hard enough without the added burden of people from your house of worship passing judgment. A loved one that died by suicide suffered in ways you many of us can’t imagine. That person’s brain betrayed them and told them there was but one way out.
I ask you to look within yourselves
Is your value system sealed so airtight you can’t grow within your own faith journey?
I’m not rallying against religion because having faith has helped so many find the emotional healing to move forward with their lives after a tragedy. It helps people find recovery, the strength to maintain recovery and come back after a relapse. For many, it is a lifesaver.
Those who suffer mental illness, a loss by suicide or recovery from addiction who are strong in their faith tell me that prayer with action is their recipe. In other words, they pray for the strength to help themselves and accept help when they need it and learn to accept that they may need medication as part of that process.
We should not be using religion to look down on others or to drape a veil on our own prejudices, but rather to support each other in a time of need. Your faith, whatever it may be, needs room to grow. Acceptance and learning should be part of that process.
Personally, I feel if you are not doing that, you can’t truly yourself a person of faith.