Christianity vs Mental Health

Christianity vs Mental Health

The mind is a very powerful tool and as Spiritual beings we know very well that it’s the devil’s play ground. The mind has the ability to turn anything into a reality, but with that being said- it still doesn’t mean being optimistic will cure depression, bipolar, anxiety attacks, attention disorder, schizophrenia, OCD and PTSD.

Suffering from the above mentioned illnesses as a Christian can be daunting because we as Christians tend to limit ourselves intellectually, there’s this mentality that we’re not affected by the things of the world; yes we are not to conform to the standards but with that being said, it doesn’t make us invisible from the challenges that come with being human. There is an old expression, “Don’t be so heavenly minded that you’re of no earthly use”, it might not be biblical but it’s the kind of lifestyle that even Jesus lived as an exemplary to all Christians. As much as Jesus was not of the world, He came as a human being and suffered like we do, and that should serve as a daily reminder that we aren’t indiscernible to the suffering of the human nature. So many of us have become so earthly useless, we have fixed our minds so much on our mage that looking righteous and indestructible matters more than the actual mandate that was given to us- to preach the gospel and bring healing to the world. We have made the whole healing gospel about physical health and we’ve ignored one of the most vital components of the human nature, i.e. the state of the mind.

Mental health, if not being the most important, is one of the crucial parts of any human being. Your mental state is what influences your perception about life or everyday activities, it gives birth to human behaviour. The mistake we have made as Christians is believing that mental illnesses can be cured overnight or we label them as witchcraft, therefore giving the enemy an advantage as we sweep it under the carpet. We love quoting the scripture Hosea 4:6. “My people perish because of lack of knowledge” to the public that we missed an important keynote, “my people”, and who are God’s people according to the bible? Is it not Christians?

Listed below are some of my observations as to why it is so unendurable having to deal with mental illnesses as a Christian.

  1. Ignorance

As mentioned before, we have limited ourselves intellectually. We are so comfortable with the little knowledge we have about our surroundings, it’s as if acquiring more “worldly” knowledge would make one catch a “spiritual virus.” We hide behind Romans 12v2a, “do not conform to the standards of the world,” the devil actually plays around this mentality, we have ignored an important part and he defeats us using it.

So many young people come to church looking for emotional healing but end up backsliding because the struggles we focus on are temptation and poverty, what about the emotional damage that an empty stomach has done to a person? Some young people come from broken homes, yes we preach prosperity and equip them with the right resources to better their lives, but how will money solve years of experiencing abuse- whether directly or indirectly. How will preaching “resist the devil” amend years of sexual abuse? How will telling that young man to pray for financial freedom teach him that you don’t need to be violent to get your way?

 

  1. You’re labelled ‘weak’

When going through an emotional breakdown/depression, Christians are quick to assume that prayer and reading the word alone is enough to bring healing, we expect an overnight miracle, when you take long to heal you receive remarks such as, you don’t pray enough, you don’t read the bible, you don’t fast, and the favourite, “ye of little faith.” All you’re ever told about is ‘faith’, yes I understand that faith is the foundation of Christianity, that is undisputable, but I also know that faith without works is dead (James 2v17). If you read James 2 from verse 14 to 17, it clearly explains how futile our words are when all that is needed is for you to put in the work. An individual cannot be expected to heal from depression through prayer and faith alone, these two things need to be accompanied by putting in the work. When God promised to heal the land in II Chronicles 7v14, it was not just through their prayers, they laboured day and night building the temple and it pleased God because when you work for something and go through the whole procedures you show commitment and the desire to attain something.

When one is looking for a job and asks for prayers, they are prayed for them and it doesn’t just end there; you have people recommend you, advice you, and you are constantly encouraged to put in the hours. You can still come back three months later with the same prayer item and you will still receive prayers and encouragement, you will be advised to persevere and continue trusting God. But when it comes to mental illness the script changes; you ask for prayers and they start casting out demons, you come back three months later with the same prayer item and immediately your faith is questioned. Why can’t we use the same principle used for job hunting on mental illness? Funny enough mental illness is way deeper than being unemployed.

  1. Witchcraft

We have fallen in love with spiritual warfare, it makes us feel powerful and mighty- rightly so, but it’s an excuse we’ve used for centuries to run away from facing the reality that mental illness actually exists. Do not get me wrong, I know witchcraft exists but we cannot hide behind it whenever someone needs help- especially help that requires us to use our money and resources. The thought of using money to take someone to see a specialist or take just 5 minutes at work to research on mental health and give out pamphlets is daunting for some, we all have better things to do with time and money, everyone is just so busy and lazy, we use the devil as the scapegoat.

There are people who have been bewitched, but what does witchcraft have anything to do with a girl suffering from depression because her mother sold her for a quick fix? Or the young boy raised by an alcoholic father who beat him up every day?

  1. Escapism

This is a term used to define people who use fantasy to escape reality. We use ‘miracles’ to escape reality, everyday we’re hoping for an overnight miracle, it’s what we’re teaching people, “joy comes in the morning” is the most used scripture. I do no argue with the fact that God can heal/deliver overnight, but you cannot compare the mind and the body- a physical scar can heal overnight but not an emotional one. With emotions you have to face your reality in order to deal with it.

  1. You are blamed

Someone once wrote on Facebook about the ignorance surrounding depression and one of the comments was, “it’s our sins that lead to depression.” I was shocked. Christians need to understand this- sin doesn’t lead to depression, depression leads to sin. How is that? When one is depressed, self-condemnation becomes a lifestyle, and condemnation easily leads to sin because you start seeing yourself as unworthy and that you don’t matter to God or anyone for that matter, that leads to God becoming a distant figure in your life. It is not easy to honour God when He’s not a part of your daily life, which leads to living a lifestyle that is unpleasing to Him. When one finally starts healing from depression and starts speaking about it, there are those who will have the audacity to walk up to you and blame you for not speaking out, that you could’ve received help before you became depressed, well let me tell you this fellow brother/sister; silence is a sign of depression; not the cause. Imagine if you were blamed for having cancer.

As Christians we need to get up from our mighty chairs and move out of our high pitched fences and actually become useful beings on earth.

I am going to repeat this, ‘faith without works is dead!’ If prayer was the answer to everything then there would be no need for the blood.

“You cannot recover from anxiety by just staying calm. You cannot recover from depression by just being positive. You cannot recover from anorexia nervosa by just eating more. If mental illness were that simple, we wouldn’t be struggling in the first place.” – Unknown

 

2 Replies to “Christianity vs Mental Health”

  1. This is really hard core truth. The mandate of healing the world and making it a better place seems to be lost to today’s Christian. We stamp feet and clap hands when it comes to casting out devils et al, but no one seems interested in sitting down to learn the word and gain understanding to make the world a better place.
    Nicely written here

    1. Thank you. I just hope that our generation being well informed as it is will bring the change that is necessarily needed

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