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Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team.

An open letter to Robin Williams on World Suicide Prevention Day

“…Mr. Williams, I would have told you this:  As hard as it was to believe at the time, the grief, panic and helplessness you were feeling were the vicious propaganda of a Grim Reaper–major depression–attempting to delude you into believing that life itself was a scourge. 

I would have told you to look at every single negative moment you were experiencing that day as a cruel trick of perception, no different than if a kidnapper had spirited you away and drugged you.  

I would have told you to entirely discount any conclusion you had come to about when the pain might stop or life might brighten, to not rely at all on your reasoning, because major depression as deep as yours had commandeered your logic.  It had told you a nearly irresistible lie about yourself.

I would have told you to start talking back to your depression right away.  That would have given us a little hope of you noticing that your depression was a very separate thing from you, and stalking you.  I would have told you to literally tell it out loud …. that it was a liar and a thug and that you were onto it, and you would see to it that it died before you.  I would have told you to tell it that you would bear anything to defeat it, and that you would defeat it, because it couldn’t outlast you…. 

I would have told you to fight against the invader with everything and every resource, without pride.  Deploy every weapon.  And because the truth is the mortal enemy of every lie, I would have told you to get to an emergency room or call a suicide hotline or 911 and tell someone the absolute truth about all the dark thoughts you were having–yes, even the one about leaving the planet.  Especially that one.  Because that one is the big lie implanted in your mind by the God-forsaken charlatan, scum named major depression.  Your enemy.  And mine.

I would have told you to recruit soldiers to help you fight the war against depression and drive it from the lands of your mind and soul…”

Dr. Ablow counsels people suffering from depression to treat the affliction as an enemy from the outside who wants to kill and destroy us. Therefore we are to go to war against it—relentlessly and ruthlessly in order to destroy it before it destroys us.

In the same way, “Princeton’s McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence told Breitbart News that American ‘victory’ against ISIS—the Islamic State—means that ISIS must be destroyed as Adolf Hitler’s SS forces were” (article from Breitbart.com).

Similarly, conservative talk show host Rush Limbaugh argues that there is no compromise with political liberals and progressives. There is no appeasing them. The only way to deal with them is to destroy them at the ballot box through the political process.

In much the same way, Scripture teaches us that we do not compromise with sin or exercise “tolerance” toward it. We do not seek to appease it. We are to put it to death—meaning, we are to kill it.

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.

Titus 2:11 For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age…

Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come. 2 It would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble. 3 So watch yourselves.

“If your brother or sister sins against you, rebuke them; and if they repent, forgive them. 4 Even if they sin against you seven times in a day and seven times come back to you saying ‘I repent,’ you must forgive them.”

5 The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!”

6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

7 “Suppose one of you has a servant plowing or looking after the sheep. Will he say to the servant when he comes in from the field, ‘Come along now and sit down to eat’? 8 Won’t he rather say, ‘Prepare my supper, get yourself ready and wait on me while I eat and drink; after that you may eat and drink’? 9 Will he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do? 

Because Christ lives in us through the Holy Spirit, we have authority over the misdeeds of our body, that is, over our sin nature. Before coming to Christ we were slaves to our old nature, and it ruled over us daily. But now through Christ, it is under our authority and thus it is “our servant.”

We do not serve or feed our sin nature by obeying it, by tolerating its actions or by compromising with it—absolutely not. Rather we rebuke it severely and put it to death in in the name of Jesus Christ HisHisusing His authority. We say “No” to it with absolute finality. And since it is under our authority as followers of Jesus Christ, it obeys us. In this way we can walk in holiness in obedience to our Lord Jesus Christ. Now how about our infirmities?

Infirmities: “cousins” of the sin nature

Since the ultimate cause of infirmities is our fallen sin nature dating back to the Garden of Eden, infirmities are therefore related to the sin nature as “cousins” so to speak. Not that we are afflicted by a specific disease as a direct and immediate consequence of having committed a specific sin (although this is possible), but that we are subject to disease for the very reason that we are descendants of Adam and Eve who sinned and therefore we share their fallen nature.

But through Jesus Christ our sins have been forgiven, and our sin nature is now under our authority. And therefore our infirmities which are directly or indirectly the consequence of our sin nature can now be healed.

1 Peter 2:24 “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.”

Conversely the one who has authority to heal infirmities is the one who has authority to forgive sins.

Mark 2:10 But I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins.” So he said to the man, 11  “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12  He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. 

Jesus healed the paralytic here to prove that he had authority to forgive sins as the Son of Man.

Luke 4:38 Jesus left the synagogue and went to the home of Simon. Now Simon’s mother-in-law was suffering from a high fever, and they asked Jesus to help her. 39 So he bent over her and rebuked the fever, and it left her.

Jesus exercised his authority over the fever by rebuking it and commanding it to leave.

Infirmities are also under our authority for sake of the gospel

Luke 9:1 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, 2 and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 

For the sake of proclaiming the kingdom of God to the lost, we disciples have been given a measure of power and authority over disease and demons. This authority is exercised by issuing commands to that which is under our authority.

And just as we exercise authority over our sin nature as taught above, we can also exercise authority over infirmities in the name of Jesus Christ. Dr. Ablow in his open letter to Robin Williams above counseled depression sufferers to talk back to the disease telling it “that it was a liar and a thug and that you were onto it, and you would see to it that it died before you. I would have told you to tell it that you would bear anything to defeat it, and that you would defeat it, because it couldn’t outlast you… I would have told you to fight against the invader with everything and every resource, without pride.  Deploy every weapon.”

In the same way but now with divine authority, believers in Jesus Christ who are suffering can talk back to the infirmity and rebuke it harshly, severely, and without reservation holding nothing back.

We do not tolerate it, appease it, or compromise with it. Rather we attack it in the powerful name of Jesus Christ. We will not relent until it obeys and leaves us.

Paul’s Thorn & the Theology of Helplessness