One of my biggest concerns about secular psychology is that it promotes a “victim mentality” where individuals who are responsible for their actions claim irresponsibility. This problem spills over into many aspects of our lives – like in the legal arena. For example, in a court of law an “insanity” plea has been misused because of the influence of secular psychology upon our culture.
I heard someone say recently that a woman who either conspired to kill or did murder her own child should enter an “insanity” plea in court due to her “abnormal behavior.” Their reasoning is that she “must have some type of psychological problem because no mother would do such a thing.” Wrong! Sadly, many mothers and fathers have acted similarly throughout the course of history in a sinful, fallen world.
It saddens me greatly when I hear this type of comment because the person is deceived and minimizing the power of sin and selfishness. A biblical worldview that acknowledges “sin” is the ONLY view that makes sense. We are all capable of acting “abnormally” when we are selfish, fail to confess our sins, and fail to take responsibility for our sins before Almighty God!
People go to any length to cover their sins up. That’s when their actions LOOK insane but they are quite aware of what they are doing. Many of her actions seem to indicate that she was “covering her tracks” which means she knew what she was doing was wrong. She knew that her “abnormal behaviors” were wrong so she has attempted to cover it up and is deceptive about many things. She is aware of right and wrong though she is acting in a bizarre manner.
I do not know if this particualr woman is guilty of committing murder or not. Certainly her actions in this particular case qualify as sins of omission – neglecting her God-given parental duties from Deut. 6:4-8 and Eph. 6 (and other passsages). According to the Bible, there are 2 responses to sin: to cover it up OR to confess it and forsake it -see Prov. 28:13. Those who confess AND forsake their sins will obtain MERCY.
This particular case is sad indeed but what saddens me most is this idea of an “insanity” plea because others perceive her as not acting in a “normal” manner. (By the way, who’s standard deems something to be “normal” or not? This person was not utilizing the Bible as their standard so how can they say what is “normal” behavior?)
I’m not a lawyer but my understanding of the “insanity” plea is that it originated when someone did something illegal but was unaware that it was illegal – like when someone who is mentally retarded commits a crime but is not capable of comprehending it is wrong due to a REAL physiological condition (like brain damage).
Nowadays, this “insanity” plea gets tossed around for any crime that doesn’t make sense to casual observers in an attempt to set a guilty person free. It is bizarre behavior but it is sin and not a psychological problem in many cases. But that’s the core problem with the majority of psychological labels – they re-classify sin and take the responsibility OFF of the offender. The offender often attributes some unproven disorder to be the cause of the “abnormal” or “insane” behavior but there it is only speculation since no real medical tests are performed. What chemicals were out of balance in this woman? They cannot tell you because she simply sat down with a psychologist for a verbal interview and he/she determined that she is suffering from some psychological label – thereby excusing her murderous thoughts.
Bottom line: It’s dangerous to diagnose “sin” as “sickness.” A biblical worldview reminds us that sin must never be minimized. Whether she committed the crime or not, her bizarre behaviors afterwards simply display a “self-centered” heart caught in the trap of serving selfish desires.
When we hear about a case like this, we must all be reminded that without God’s grace in our lives, we could all act in a similar manner IF we continue to DENY our sin, cover it up, and fail to CONFESS it like this mother. Sin has powerful consequences when it is allowed to continue. Thankfully, we have an answer for sin in our Lord Jesus Christ when we confess and forsake (or repent) for those sins!
-Mark (grateful for God’s truth which makes sense of life in a Fallen world -Gen. 3 – when we understand “sin” is not a “sickness”)