A couple of weeks ago I attended a conference on different personality disorders. The conference had a lot of good information but after a while I was just ready to go home. The one thing that I took away from the conference that helped me with my perspective of counseling came from a time that the presenter was not reading to us but rather sharing his heart. He began telling the story of the Demoniac in Mark 5:1-20 which I was very familiar with. He then shared the three different views of how we treat people who have mental disorders which is when I totally perked up.
- Society: The demoniac is described as someone who cannot be bound with even chains. The presenter said that this describes our attempts to bind people with medication as well as hospitalization.
- Clinical: The Bible also says the demoniac could not be subdued or tamed. The presenter described this as the attempts to modify his behavior which is what clinicians do.
- Jesus: When Jesus saw the demoniac, He identified the problem and offered deliverance. The Bible describes the deliverance as complete by showing the demoniac as clothed and in his right mind.
Many times we treat people’s problems with efforts that cannot get to the root of the problem. Now before you think that I am anti-medication, I am not. I have advised some people to see their doctors about being medicated. If you will notice though, medication does not heal the mental disorders…it only masks them or attempts to subdue them. True, sometimes we need to take medication in order to see some things clearly. I never tell anyone just to stop taking the meds. While the medications and the clinicians attempt to mask the symptoms and then try to modify the behavior, as a pastoral counselor I present a Biblical approach to getting to the root of the problem. Many times only the creator of the “machine” can fix the problem that is present within the “machine.” God has created us in His image, therefore if we are going to function in His image than we need to know His image.
I believe as we read:
Luke 4:18-19 (ESV)
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
We will see the ministry of Jesus, not just physically but also spiritually and emotionally. People who are poor need the good news of encouragement. That phrase does not have to do with money, it has to do with the encouragement of who Jesus is and the fact that He provides a life that is full of His abundance. Sometimes that encouragement might be a dollar or two, but many times it is more about the eternal hope and joy of having a right relationship with God through Christ.
Many people feel like they are captives to their emotions. God describes our emotions as liars and as being wicked (Jer. 17:9). In the next verse, God says that He will search our emotions. God wants to bring right thinking and feeling to His followers.
People who do not know Jesus are called blind at time throughout scripture. In order to bring light into that darkness, we must reflect the light of Christ in our lives. Many times people are not able to “see” the truth of God in their situations. He wants their sight to be “recovered.”
Many people are oppressed by their sinfulness or maybe someone else’ sinfulness toward them. When we begin to look at the freedom that knowing the truth brings, we will experience liberty in our lives so that we can function in a way that brings God glory.
As you think about your life, maybe it is not as much of a mental disorder as much as it is a spiritual disorder. I am not suggesting that the medical world is totally off track; I am saying that God is the ultimate healer. We need to seek His healing and His principles for our lives.