Friday, September 19, 2014

DIAGNOSING BEDEVILMENT


When it comes to understanding strange behaviour there is plenty of controversial speculation about how the Devil is involved. 





There may be two extremes in this regard—one that does not accept the reality of evil and the other that ascribes too much blame to dark forces.


I remember a man who worked with people with exceptional needs telling me that he thought a particular individual must be possessed to make such strange gestures. Out of his need to explain the unexplainable, he gave the Devil credit.

We see the word lunatic used in the King James Version of the bible to describe some people that Jesus encountered.


Matthew 4:24 And his fame went throughout all Syria: and they brought unto him all sick people that were taken with divers diseases and torments, and those which were possessed with devils, and those which were lunatic, and those that had the palsy; and he healed them.


Matthew 17:
14 And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying,
15 Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatic, and sore vexed: for oft-times he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water.
16 And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him.


If we accept the reality of evil forces at work in the universe, we must ask how they affect humanity. The Scriptures do tell us about the Devil’s strategies. Jesus described himself as a shepherd who stayed at the gate of fold to protect his people from the Enemy.


John 10:
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.


Peter, who was once warned by Jesus that Satan wanted to sift him like wheat, later was known to say,


1 Peter 5:
Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 


Peter knew first hand how the enemy could affect the mind with crippling fear. Peter knew how the mind could play tricks on you and how the devil could convince you of great falsehood.

It is not fair to say that a mentally ill person is possessed by the Devil. But, it is very possible that in the vulnerability of their condition, the Soul Enemy goes to work to bring a crushing load of accusation, shame and destruction. The debilitated mind is not in a state of sobriety where it can process thoughts in a healthy manner.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

EMOTIONAL BONDAGE

Doctor Grant Mullen[i] is a Canadian doctor who has worked extensively with mood and anxiety disorders. As he has treated countless people, his own faith has led him to stretch beyond the paradigm of his clinical training.



He describes mental health as being part of a larger connection of influence in the emotional wellbeing of a person. How do we get free in our thoughts when we experience emotional bondage?


There are 3 giant links in this chain that must be broken if one is to come to emotional freedom.

The three links are:

-Physical illnesses of thought control (chemical imbalances)
-The harassment of Satan (demonization)
-Personality injury (woundedness) 
[ii]


Treating people in the complex matrix of mental anguish requires recognition of all the factors.

Physiologically, chemical and hormonal imbalances can be treated with medicine. If the only issue is of this kind, you may be able to apply medical treatments and achieve satisfactory healing or equilibrium.

Often, medicine must be combined with counselling to respond to the personality injury. The way that we have been emotionally wounded in life greatly affects our mental health.

In his practice, Doctor Mullen became aware that even some of his non-delusional patients would experience phenomena that seemed to indicate the presence and influence of evil beings. Was the devil at work in some of his patients? What we see as demonic activity in the gospels—is that happening today? Or is that a superstitious, primitive way to assign blame for natural causes?

We will explore the effects of spiritual darkness on one's mental health.




Saturday, September 13, 2014

LUNATICS AND THE FULL MOON


No matter how educated and sophisticated we may believe ourselves to be, superstitions still find their place in our thinking. 





Superstition is defined as ‘A widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.[i]

‘Trouble comes in threes.’

‘Walk under a ladder and you’ll have seven years of bad luck.’

‘Don’t say anything when things are good, because you might jinx it.’

Countless times I have heard people blame the full moon for unusual or exaggerated human activity. Is there any science to this?

Since ancient times, full moons have been associated with odd or insane behaviour, including sleepwalking, suicide, illegal activity, and fits of violence and, of course, transforming into werewolves. Indeed, the words “lunacy” and “lunatic” come from the Roman goddess of the moon, Luna, who was said to ride her silver chariot across the dark sky each night. For thousands of years, doctors and mental health professionals believed in a strong connection between mania and the moon. Hippocrates, considered the father of modern medicine, wrote in the fifth century B.C. “one who is seized with terror, fright and madness during the night is being visited by the goddess of the moon.” In 18th-century England, people on trial for murder could campaign for a lighter sentence on grounds of lunacy if the crime occurred under a full moon; meanwhile, psychiatric patients at London’s Bethlehem Hospital were shackled and flogged as a preventive measure during certain lunar phases. Even today, despite studies discrediting the hypothesis, some people think full moons make everyone a little loony.[ii]

When we begin to ask questions about the meaning and cause of mental illness and mood disorders, it’s easy to look for full moon theories to help us sleep at night. As followers of Jesus, we want to pursue truth and discard all superstitions and conspiracy theories. This was an issue for the early church and it is an issue now. We need to become mature in our thinking about complex issues like mental health.



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