Q: Our degree of self-control is the measure of our soul. Is it cheating to use medications to increase ones control of emotions like anger, sexual lust, anxiety or any other emotional unbalance?
A: It may be a measure of a person’s soul that they think enough of themselves and other people to want to do whatever they can to get help if they feel out of control in the way of harmful emotional states. These states can be due to so many things—environmental, inherited, or simple imbalance, some of which can be addressed through medications. Sometimes people are not thinking of anything but relief from their symptoms…getting that relief may help them in their spiritual life.
Whether or not such a person is “cheating” because they may be getting help with harmful emotions seems a very subjective and personal matter which is none of my business. If it helps people to navigate in this world a little better for awhile, where’s the harm? And why pass any kind of judgment?
Is it cheating to take a tranquilizer to keep from getting an anxiety attack? Drugs are drugs; some are intended to normalize abnormal behavior. To not use them when they’re available and intended to correct a particular behavior pattern would be ignorant.
Jesus taught us that self-mastery is an ideal worth striving for. Those of us who are lucky enough to have this revelation know that true self-mastery is a spiritual achievement which can be had through perseverance, determination, faith, trust, and prayer. But even so, just because a person takes medication to help them through a rough time in their life does not mean that they are failing at self-mastery. Seeking help may, in itself, be evidence of self-mastery. And spiritual work can surely be done even with medication.
How you get to self-mastery not be not the important thing—THAT you get there seems more important.”