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Therapy and God: Can Believers do Both?

Genesis 1:26, “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.”

Biblically, we have no idea what happened between verse 25 and 26. While verse 25 ends with God extending the blessing of “good” to his most recent creation, verse 26 picks up at the start of something new. And God said.. it’s as if we have entered the ending of a conversation that happened between a group we know as us (some mysterious people or beings and God). This verse picks up as a verdict is being rendered and action soon follows. “And God said let us!” Now the ancient Jews believed the ‘us’ God speaks of was a company of wise counsel. Perhaps this was filled with high ranking wise beings who God entrusted to help Him make decisions. Or perhaps it was the God head bodily, God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit. For the purpose of this article, I will lean towards the later. God in His all knowing all wise spirit reached deep within himself and consulted His most trusted counsel, Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ or Christ Jesus as He is known in scripture before He had a physical body. This is what I believe is the first recorded example of therapy. God has created all of these things and called them good. He was consistent in doing this for 5 days. Then the 6th day came and he does something different. He seeks wise counsel on his next project. Now the context of this conversation is not what I want to focus on. But rather these two words, let us. Let defines a position of permission. This gives me the idea that a group was consulted and came to a conclusion. Now the word us is different. Us is a plural word. It identifies more than one person including the person that is speaking. If we put the two together, we can conclude that a group (including God) discussed the creation of man. This my good friends is therapy.

At the foundation of therapy is conversation. Much like prayer, this conversation requires active listening, open hearts, and patience. Just like in prayer you don’t accomplish your assignment in the first session, you won’t walk away from therapy whole after the first session. They both require you to knock and keep knocking. And seek and keep seeking. Still even with the similarities of both events, religion (particularly Christianity) is more accepting to one versus the other. The stigma and shame associated with therapy has prevented many believers from obtaining the help they need. It has made Christians believers of false ideas such as:

  1. You lack faith in God if you need therapy.

  2. Mental illness is a demon and the only way to be free is deliverance.

  3. Prayer solves all things.

So before I debunk these religious myths, let me say that I believe you should pray and keep praying, I believe in the ministry of deliverance, and prayer is powerful! However:

  1. You can have faith in God and trust in a therapist. In the same way you don’t have to pick God or a doctor, you don’t have to choose God or a therapist. You can have both and still believe in God.

  2. This language is dangerous. It reeks of shame and guilt that makes in almost impossible to get help. Nobody wants to be demonized. In all our dysfunction and rebellion, there is no record of God calling us demonic when we sin, fall short, or just need help. So why do we do it to others?

  3. I believe in prayer. It simply works. But not only does it work, it reminds us that God is in control and it’s His reputation that’s on the line when we are in battle. I also know that we can’t stop at prayer. Prayer is designed to be a spiritual journal of your journey with God. It’s keeps record of your request made known and His response. Imagine where we would be if Christ came and only prayed. If He didn’t perform miracles, present signs, or unveil wonders. If He didn’t endure stripes, live without sin, or die on the cross? Life with God requires more than prayer! The same way health of the body requires more than a good diet and exercise.

Even if you are not convinced after this that therapy can be helpful and positively impact your walk with God, don’t go shaming nobody else for using their tools.

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