I find it interesting that in light of the shootings in Colorado commonly called the “Movie Massacre” that there is a lot of talk about mental health and mental illness. Many are ASSUMING this young man who was the killer had to be mentally ill since there is not any other conceivable explanation in their minds like sin in the heart of fallen mankind.
So what we are hearing is that society needs to identify those who are “mentally ill” and not sell them guns. I heard one tv commentator who is a psychologist recommend that family members have a loved one committed who is mentally ill and wanting to purchase a weapon. His thought was that this might avoid such a massacre in the future. What wishful thinking!
With the new DSM-V coming out in 2013, more people are going to be more easily diagnosed as mentally ill. In fact, it is predicted that 20 million more people will be diagnosed using the mental illness DSM-V definition of addiction. 13,000 health professionals are concerned about the increase of psychotropic meds and that normal behavior will likely be considered as mental illness. Those are health professionals with concerns about the so-called bible for mental illness, the DSM-V.
In Christian counseling, we understand that unconfessed sin makes one act like a mentally ill person. For example, look at Adam and Eve in Genesis 3. They made underwear out of fig leaves and hid in the trees thinking they could hide from God! I’d say that was a mentally ill-type of thinking, wouldn’t you? Adam and Eve felt guilty, ashamed, and afraid as a result of a sinful choice they made and they should have felt those things because they did something wrong (guilt and shame) and they had to face God (fear).
The prodigal son in Luke 15 could’ve been diagnosed with mental illness – maybe narcissistic personality disorder. What about Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 4 who ate grass like a cow and grew long fingernails? He was mentally ill and it stemmed from pride in his own heart! Until he lifted his eyes to heaven in Daniel 4:32, he was mentally ill and his acknowledgement of God led to being restored in his mind.
In summary, I know people today who are mentally ill. Some of them have real, organic, and physical reasons for their illness. I understand that. But others of them are only mentally ill because they have disobeyed God like Adam and Eve, lived for themselves like the prodigal son, and thought of themselves with pride ignoring God like Nebuchadnezzar. Those people have mental illness due to sin in their hearts and only Christ will restore them to sanity. Unconfessed sin will only lead to more bizarre behavior and self-absorption rather than to real freedom in Christ.
Maybe our culture would be better served by labeling sin “sin” and not calling it “sickness” or a “disorder” or a “mental illness.” If the culture started doing that, however, there would be a need for a Savior and an acknowledgement of God. I don’t think our society is ready to call sin “sin” and for this reason, we will only see mental illness rise, with or without the help of the DSM-V. Be ready because you may one day be diagnosed with mental illness whether you want to or not!
-Mark (grateful that the Bible calls sin what it is and holds me responsible so that I may confess and forsake my sin through repentance and turning to Christ – Prov. 28:13)