Depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders can be an uphill struggle for Christians. Unfortunately, some churches view them as signs of weakness or lack of discipline on part of an individual.
However, it’s essential to recognize that mental illness is not your responsibility and you cannot control if and when it arises – just like cancer cannot be managed or prevented.
Genes play an integral role in mental illness. According to scientists, most mental disorders are hereditary – meaning they run in families. Genes and environment interact to produce mental illnesses – with most conditions being caused by both factors (living/working environments, smoking habits, diet choices and physical activity patterns) as well as genetic mutations (or certain gene mutations).
Family histories of mental illness increase an individual’s risk for mental disorders; similar to how family history influences risk for heart disease. While we cannot currently test for mental health conditions using heritability testing methods, studies have demonstrated this factor is influential when it comes to depression (31% heritable), general anxiety disorder (43% heritable), bipolar disorder (60% heritable), schizophrenia (73% heritable) and obsessive-compulsive disorder (58%).
God warns in Deuteronomy 28:28 of spiritual and physical illnesses in His people of Israel who rebel against His authority, such as madness, blindness, confusion of mind or madness and blindness as punishments; He gives an example in Jonah who disobeyed and was swallowed up by a fish for three days before finally being released back onto land.
Jesus often used Scripture to address mental illnesses when healing those considered mentally ill, such as when He met a demoniac from Gerasenes in Mark 5:1-20 and told his demons to leave so he could return back into sanity.
Though we may never fully understand the causes of mental illnesses, Christians must still take them seriously and recognize that the church can serve as an environment where those struggling can find support and healing. Churchgoers should not judge those suffering from mental illnesses but instead help them seek professional medical help when necessary; people living with mental illness are just as valuable to the congregation and should be treated with love and respect as any other individual in it.
Alongside genetics, your environment plays a pivotal role in your mental wellbeing. This includes both physical environmental factors that affect biology and brain chemistry like whole nutrient-rich foods or lack thereof, lack of health-related resources available to you, stressors encountered and psychosocial influences like your perception of reality or ability to cope. God is present within the many factors which impact your life by providing healthy alternatives such as medical, pharmaceutical, dietary supplements or spiritual treatments that promote wellbeing for you.
Life experience is defined as any event that alters an individual, including hardships, problems, risk taking and effort where people strive to better their characters and talents. Although such events can often be positive experiences they can also be negative; both types are essential components of human growth – some even leading to mental illnesses.
Bible scripture contains numerous accounts of mental illnesses. One powerful story is Job’s. Although very wealthy and powerful, he still struggled with depression. One day God visited Job to reveal to him how his character and actions had been formed around lies and pridefulness; He told Job to humble himself before Him and repent – which resulted in everything the enemy had destroyed being restored back double.
Another story worth remembering is Jonah, who disobeyed God and found himself trapped inside of a large fish for three days, experiencing depression as a result. But eventually his spirit left and he fulfilled his mission successfully.
People suffering from depression or other mental health conditions should seek professional assistance such as medication and therapy, while seeking spiritual peace that transcends understanding from Christ. God does not judge them because of their circumstances. If suicidal thoughts emerge, people can reach out for support at church to rally behind and keep following Christ.
Mental illness deserves equal recognition as any physical illness, making its treatment just as serious. Christians should talk openly and candidly with one another about any struggles related to their mental health in order to reduce stigma surrounding such illnesses and increase access to treatment for more individuals.
Mental illness is sometimes seen as a sin due to its potential to compromise obedience to God, according to Scripture. But it is also important to remember that He has put doctors, therapists and counselors into our lives for a reason – it may just not always seem so at the time!
Personality refers to the unique patterns of thoughts, feelings and behaviors that define each person individually. It reveals their particular way of responding to different situations – usually staying fairly constant throughout life. Genetics and environment both play an influence role on personality; but ultimately it comes down to individual decisions as well as genetic makeup.
One of God’s prophets, Jonah, disobeyed Him and endured an incredible storm while being swallowed by a fish for three days, then being spat back out onto dry land (see the Book of Jonah). These events would have been avoided had Jonah simply obeyed God.
Jesus can also be seen healing those considered mentally ill by psychiatrists. For instance, He healed the demoniac of Gerasenes (Mark 5:1-20) who displayed unacceptable behavior and displayed signs that his demons were controlling him (a situation we would typically confine this person in today’s mental hospitals), instead going straight to their source to cast them out and cast out all demons from him (Mark 5:1-20).
As with physical illness, Christians need to understand that mental illness doesn’t make them less of a person or less Christian. Instead they should pray for strength and trust in the Lord who alone can bring rest and peace for their spirits.