Do the Scriptures address the topic of mental illness?

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Definition and causes

Mental illness is a condition that negatively affects one’s ability to think, feel, and respond to life’s experiences in a proper way. Some causes of mental illness are physical, such as brain abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, and neurotransmitter impairments. Also, nutrition, activity, and sleep can also influence mental health. Even Traumatic experiences in childhood play a role in one’s mental health. Therefore, a complex therapeutic approach should be applied in the treatment of mental illness.

The spiritual factor

The health of the mind can be affected by a spiritual factor. Sin in the life of a person contributes harmfully to his mental wellness (Romans 12:2; 8:7). Transgression can get in the way of our relationship with God and damage our minds (Isaiah 59:2). Therefore, the first step in becoming spiritually whole is to accept Jesus Christ by faith. The believer needs to receive God’s healing grace for victory over sin (Acts 16:31; Isaiah 26:3). God’s child seeking wellness should bring every thought to Christ for healing (2 Corinthians 10:5). Then, he can “be transformed by the renewal” of his mind (Romans 12:1,2; Ephesians 4:23). And when the spirit is healed, the mind gets healed as a result (2 Timothy 1:7).

In addition to fixing our relationship with God, the believer needs to mend his relationship with his fellow men. He needs to have a forgiving spirit that doesn’t hold grudges (2 Corinthians 2:10–11). Also, he should not harbor bitterness in his heart (Hebrews 12:15). He should live in total dependence on God. He should not allow fear and worry to have control over his life (Philippians 4:6–7). And more importantly, a child of God should be filled with the knowledge that he is bought with a great price (1 Corinthians 6:20).

God’s deliverance

While Jesus healed people, who were considered mentally ill, He saw them afflicted by demonic powers. So, He cast the demons out of them and delivered them (Mark 1:34; Luke 11:14; Mark 5:1–20). While not all mental illness is due to direct demonic activity, there may be people diagnosed with mental illness today who are experiencing some kind of demonic influence. Such people need the spiritual deliverance that Jesus offers (Isaiah 55:1-13). These should pray, “Heal me, LORD, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise” (Jeremiah 17:14).

Treatment and hope

There are many tools that can help in the treatment of mental illness. These include: medicine, therapy, psychiatric assistance, support groups, and spiritual counseling (study of God’s Word, prayer and anointing with oil – James 5:14). God wants to heal those that are struggling with mental illness (2 Corinthians 1:3–5; Romans 12:9–21; Galatians 6:2–10; John 13:34–35). Therefore, let the sufferers come to His throne and receive His blessings (Matthew 11:28). He affirms, “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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