You might say “But I have a chemical imbalance!”. Of course you do! That is not even in question! Remember, the Lord created humans. The Lord created the human body and mind to run on chemicals. Every thought, action, or sensation that we experience changes the very chemistry in our brains and bodies. That is how the Lord made us. Our brains do not work on magic, and neither to our bodies. He created hormones, chemicals, synapses, reactions, instincts, organs, feedback, cognitive thought, and electrical impulses.
However, they can become imbalanced with our abuse of our body and mind. Remember, even the secular world understands this. It is interesting that medicines that work to adjust the chemistry in our brains (SSRI’s) only provide help while we take them, but then we will revert back to bad behavior when we stop them. However, cognitive therapy can actually change the chemistry of the mind so that our brains look like normal brains on MRI’s, with nothing but changing our thoughts and actions. The Lord is logical, obvious, and sound—even the secular, unsaved world can see His creation.
Regarding hormones: If you look at an adorable baby or hear your lover’s voice, your body and brain will be flooded with hormones like oxytocin and prolactin, which are hormones that gives us those “warm fuzzies”. If you read something that makes you positively incensed or if you have a fight with someone, your body and brain will be flooded with testosterone and other “aggressive” hormones. You will feel the aggression inside of you increase as more hormones are released with the battle. You will feel the warm fuzzy feeling inside of your increase as more oxytocin is released with that baby smiling at you or your lover stroking your hair.
Not only that, but our bodies are so perfectly and intricately made, our minds so perfectly reactive, that even if the baby is not there, if we think about the baby, we still release oxytocin (mothers will even sometimes release milk while thinking about their babies). And if we dwell on a fight with someone, even if they are not there, our bodies will release aggressive hormones. We do not have to be in the action for our bodies to react as if we are.
Yes, you have a chemical imbalance. The hormones that are plaguing your life are epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol. These are released by your pituitary gland and your adrenal glands when you are stressed. However, since your thoughts are constantly dwelling in thoughts of danger, and you live your life in a state of stress, your body is constantly overreacting with the production of these hormones. Your thoughts are causing the release of too many chemicals in your body.
You might say “Yes, but how is this sin, if this is something my body does automatically?”. GOOD question! We have to understand what sin is—it is veering away from the will of the Lord. Sin can be physical (robbing a bank), or mental (impure thoughts about someone we are not married to), or emotional (failing to control our temper).
Having these hormones is not a sin. They are what the Lord gave us to keep us safe if we are, say, being attacked by a lion or a bear. These hormones serve specific, useful purposes in specific situations.
However, these hormones in us are not being produced because we are constantly being stalked by a lion. These hormones in us are being produced because we are MENTALLY and EMOTIONALLY sinning. These hormones would not be produced if we control our thoughtlife*. If we stopped relying on our emotions to direct us, stop allowing our mind to wander, and started relying on the Lord and the wisdom He gives, then we would not have these hormones constantly bathe our brain and body.
Let’s go back to the release of testosterone. It is not a sin to have a release of testosterone. The Lord created us with the ability to release this so that soldiers in battle could fight, so that we would be disgusted with evil, so that we could fend off a bear. However, it is a sin to indulge in this hormone by hating someone. It is a sin to encourage the release of this hormone in a fit of road rage. The hormone did not cause the road rage, the mental and emotional “spinning up”, the irritation with other drivers, the self talk and muttering about your rights, how they need to get off the road, how dare they cut you off….those thoughts are the sin. That mental indulgence leads to the release of testosterone.
Again, the sin is not the fact that you have a hormonal imbalance. The sin happens when we allow bad thoughts to continue which creates the hormonal imbalance. You have the ability to control your thoughts, to think of blue toothbrushes or pink cupcakes, as you choose. However, you are letting your mind wander down paths that the Lord said not to allow your mind to wander down. It is just like the man who passes a woman on the street and thinks about having sex with her. That is a mental sin, actually adultery, even if he never touches her. We have mental sin too, though ours are cowardice, self protection, and lack of self discipline.
This might really sting. It stung me, and still does when the Lord reveals yet another sin that I did not know I was doing. It hurts and frustrates me sometimes. However, we cannot dwell on that but rather praise the Lord for it! Since this is a sin, then we can fix it! Since this is a sin, we can repent and be DONE with it! Since this is a sin, we can be forgiven and healed by the blood of Jesus! God never told us not to have a cold—we cannot keep from having a cold. However, He does tell us how to think, what to think about. We can stop a sin! That means that, while we are stuck with a cold, we are not stuck with OCD, panic disorder, depression, or anxiety.
Don’t forget our verse today: FOR ALL HAVE SINNED AND FALL SHORT OF THE GLORY OF GOD. It should not surprise us that we have sins we did not know we had. It is hard when you think you are doing all you can, and find out that you are sinning in ways you did not even know. But that is human life. That is our fallen state from Adam and Eve. That is why we need Jesus, because we cannot possibly avoid all sins, and there will always be some that sneak up on us.
Even now, sins are revealed to me today that I did not know I was doing yesterday. However, it is ok, because I know the Lord is just showing me, patiently and with full measure of forgiveness, how I can live more like Him, how I can please Him and how He can bless me more.
Understand that the Lord gave you this knowledge now because you are ready to confront it. He is ready for you to overcome this sin, so He is bringing it to your attention for a reason: because you are ready to repent and able to overcome that through Him. Take joy in that!
*There are medical conditions, such as tumors, that will cause our bodies to release hormones regardless of our thoughtlife. However, I presume that your doctor has already verified that you do not have a tumor or other condition.