Written by guest author Terrence Mackenzie
In this blog post, we are promoting the episode entitled ‘Jesus and Therapy’ of the podcast Thirty Minutes with The Perrys, hosted by Preston and Jackie Hill Perry and produced by Ivey Media. In this episode, Preston and Jackie Hill Perry discuss the benefits on a Christian’s life to have the assistance of therapy and other forms of mental health counseling, while not neglecting the need for ultimate dependency to be found in God alone.
“People think it’s weird,” says Jackie, “or some people think it’s ungodly, like you’re not trusting God if you go to therapy.”
The Perrys present a provoking point, as many people within the Christian and religious community treat those who go to therapy and counseling as if they are somehow lacking in their faith by seeking help, questioning that person’s trust in God to provide for them or to heal their mental health.
Jackie later says, “We don’t look at any other (…)bodily health help in that way. Like, I don’t think that Jesus is less-than when I take a Tylenol. I don’t think Jesus is less-than when I eat breakfast. I don’t think Jesus is less-than when I got married. (…)Jesus is our all in all, Jesus is everything. But Jesus has also given us good gifts to enjoy and to assist us to love Him better.”
Jackie and Preston emphasize how other forms of help in life seem to be less scrutinized than therapy. Medicine, food, and marriage are used as an example. Most of us trust that God has provided us with the needed ingredients to produce products that can help our body recover from physical ailments, we trust that God has provided us with medical professionals who can do their jobs to assist our physical needs, and we trust that God has created a beautiful union in marriage to bring us help in the mundane aspects of living our daily lives. Though some may have extreme views even in this, I would venture to say that most Christians don’t look at someone seeking help in these places and question their trust in God. There’s a clear inconsistency in thought here with many Christians and religious individuals.
Preston makes the point that “Jesus is the great shepherd. We don’t go to church and say ‘Pastor…JESUS is my shepherd!'”
The Perrys point out the continued inconsistency to rely on God’s provision of the people He’s gifted to assist us (even in the very body of The Church) while treating therapy as somehow different. God can use counseling and therapy to help us. It can point out things that we may otherwise be unaware of that God is wanting to bring to light. God can use therapy to bring healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. This is not dependency on man but rather trust in God to work through people to help us.
Proverbs 11:14 says “Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in an abundance of counselors there is safety.” Now, this isn’t specifically referring to the professional position of a therapist or counselor, but the principle of God’s help coming from the source of a person giving assistance is Biblical. Proverbs 13:10 says “By insolence comes nothing but strife, but with those who take advice is wisdom.” When we refuse to seek the assistance and advice of others, scripture warns that we may fall into bitterness and strife. Wisdom comes with humility and seeking where God is trying to teach us, not by shutting ourselves off from hearing anyone else due to some fear that we will no longer be relying on God.
With that being said, it would be wise to seek a therapist who shares your values. Pursuing a Christian counselor would be a good choice if you wish to receive advice and application that aligns with biblical values and teaching. Though caution should still be taken to ensure that they are professional with their practice, and much of that process is dependent on personal discernment as a therapist is sought out.
We live in a fallen world of sin, brokenness, pain, hardships, and sickness. We face difficulties including mental and emotional battles due to this fallen world, and therapy or counseling may very well be a way that God will bring help or healing for us in those battles. Therapy is a beautiful source with which God has provided us. We should not condemn or fear it but instead rejoice in the many wonderful gifts that God has given us to bring us closer to Him.
We recommend that you listen to the podcast episode of Thirty Minutes with The Perrys that has been mentioned in this blog. You may not agree with all of the theological or political views of Preston and Jackie Hill Perry, and we do not hold all of their exact views ourselves. But regardless of any differences, this episode is an interesting, insightful, and encouraging conversation on this topic. We would also like to issue a warning before you listen, as Jackie Hill Perry does briefly discuss her trauma of being sexually abused as a child, and Preston discusses his trauma of witnessing a murder and suicide. These things may be triggering to some listeners, so we wish to give you this disclaimer to listen at your own discretion.
Links to listen to the episode can be found below.
Apple podcasts link: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/jesus-and-therapy/id1458672189?i=1000522007762