Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fighting Despondency A Bit More

I continue to think of the battle against depression, or despondency, or sadness that seems to come from nowhere, by suggesting another tool: alcohol. The Apostle Paul commands Pastor Timothy to "use a little wine for the sake of your stomach and your frequent ailments" (1 Ti 5:23). Here, Paul seems to separate Timothy's stomach issues from his ailments; meaning they are not the same things. Is it possible that Paul's reference here speaks to stomach problems caused by brain problems? Did Timothy have what my mother would call a nervous stomach? In other words, Timothy's stomach woes were caused by his anxiety. There a number of instances within 1 & 2 Timothy where Paul exhorts Tim to be the man God demands he be as a pastor; to be the man the church needs. Apparently, Timothy was sometimes slow to exert himself in a pastoral sense. He was relatively young and in charge and this caused him distress. (I feel his pain). So maybe Paul's words are meant to convey that the way to treat the stomach issue is to treat the brain to "a little wine". I say this because of texts like Pr 31:6f; Ec 23ff, 9:7, etc; and the places where the Bible speaks of wine "gladdening the heart (Dt 14:16; Ps 104:14f), or being used in celebration (Jn 2). So my point is not that we should drown our sorrows in booze (God condemns drunkenness), but that there may be a place for easing them via a "little" drink.

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