Medicine cannot fix our kids. Yes, it can help. When my kids are sick, they are much more likely to sin without medicine than with medicine. And they are not alone. They come from their Daddy and Mommy who a both more prone to get upset, angry, and annoyed when they feel bad. Our bodies and souls and interracially tied together. The one effects the other. And when Medicine relieves us from physical pain, it is a beautiful thing. As physical problems diminish the amount of stress laid upon our souls often diminishes. I am very pro-medicine. Without it, my kids, my beautiful bride, and I would not be alive and our quality of life would be much less than it is now.
But medicine cannot heal all of our problems. Medicine cannot make our kids nicer or fix their personality problems. Medicine cannot get our kids closer to Jesus. No amount of drugs can fix anger, disobedience, and foolishness.
Here’s why. Our attitude problems are heart problems. They are sin problems.
In Mark 7:14-23, Jesus directly and clearly tells his disciples that nothing that enters a child from “the outside can defile him since it enters not his heart but his stomach and is expelled” (v.18-19). We are not evil people because we have chemical imbalances in our brain. Nothing we eat, drink, or inject into our bodies or our kids’ bodies makes us evil, mean, and cranky. There is great relief in this truth. We don’t have to worry about losing our relationship to God because of a pill bottle or because of that shrimp on our plates. Nothing we ingest can reach our soul.
But this truth is also hard for us to swallow because Jesus is saying that our most noticeable and prevailing problem extends beyond our control. If our main problem is food or our environment we could change those things. We could eat this and avoid that and happily earn our salvation. But our ultimate problem is our hearts. Notice what Jesus says in Mark 7:21-23
For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person.
Our sin, our kids’ sin, and the anger, the lies, the slander, and the sexual immorality that we encounter on a regular basis is not the fault of the medical community. One more pill, or just a slightly better therapy will not fix our kids or us. We are evil and we do bad things because we have bad hearts. Our very natures our corrupt beyond repair. We need divine intervention. As the Pastor and Biblical Counselor Heath Lambert wrote,
The only way God’s broken image can by fully restored in sinful people is through Jesus Christ, the perfect image bearer who came to conform us, by grace to resemble God as closely as he does.
So what does this mean for us?
When our kids our sick, we need to point them to medicine. When our kids our overcome by sin, we need to point them to Christ. No combination of pills can change our kids hearts and make them love us, their siblings, and their teachers more. No medicine can cause a kid to repent of their angry heart.
To be a faithful parent, we cannot simply medicate our kids’ sin away. We must go after their hearts, calling them to repent. And we must plead with God to save and sanctify them. Trouble comes from within. And to help our kids change within we inject them with the gospel. Only God through his word is able to bring real change. Are we ready to deal with this divine reality? Are we ready to admit that our children’s biggest issue is their heart?