Maybe a good way to start is from the outside in: Voddie Baucham has a great sermon series on Daniel, and my favorite is on Dan 4; he explores the possibility that if Nebuchadnezzar lived today, he would be diagnosed as "mentally ill". At one point in his piercing critique of our inadequate modern perception of mental illness, he put it this way (in a rough paraphrase):
"If you need help with your marriage, or you're feeling blue, or your kid isThe dominant attitude of our society is that religion is a nice thing to have in your life (if you so desire), something to make you feel good and to use as a Band-aid for minor stress. But in the realm of mental health, to solve real problems, we need someone trained in a pseudo-scientific, materialist field whose formative figures hated religion (Christianity in particular) and consciously strove to exclude any trace of the spiritual from their work.
acting up, then go talk to the pastor... he can help. But if you're dealing with serious depression, or anything we would think of as a psychosis, you need real help... you need a professional."
"Electroshock therapy does tingle a little..."
Here's the kicker: the same principle and dogma rules our approach to helping for the poor and needy. Go to the church if you need help moving or looking for someone to housesit for you while you're on vacation, but if you're really down and out, if you've lost your job or you're addicted to drugs or you're sleeping on the street with nowhere to go, you need real help... you need the government. Now for those folks without Christ, we can't be surprised when they look to the only hope they know, the only source of relief: a series of broken programs that enable indolence and create enslavement to the system for what amounts to table scraps. But Christians? What/where should Christians first look to when they are in need?
THE CHURCH!!! However well meaning the "mental health" professionals of our day may be, they are not indwelt and empowered by God Himself to help His people. They are not informed by the truth of God's Word as to the spiritual needs of both the elect and the lost (in fact, their basic presuppositions contradict Scripture,
|I'm disabled... check, please!|
My friend was provided a place to stay for a month and the opportunity to find a job (which was more help than he wanted!). He nailed down steady employment in less than a week... all in all, a success story in the church caring for its own. I'm sure there are exceptions to the communal care lined out for us in Scripture, but exceptions prove the rule. A person who looks to the government to solve every temporal problems is likely to accept their spiritual answers as well.
Photos courtesy of AJremix, stefs sick pics