Sunday, July 10, 2011


Modern secular psychologists, have for their "bible," the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is a volume of 886 pages containing lists of symptoms for literally hundreds of mental disorders. Yet many Christian psychologists deny the existence of a large proportion of the DSM's plethora of mental illnesses. Jay Adams, one of the most notable of all Christian psychologists writes, “Organic malfunctions affecting the brain that are caused by brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders, validly may be termed mental illnesses. But at the same time a vast number of other human problems have been classified as mental illnesses for which there is no evidence that they have been engendered by disease or illness at all." Why is Adams so suspicious of problems that cannot be directly linked to organic causes being termed mental illness? He writes, “The fundamental bent of fallen human nature is away from God . . . . Apart from organically generated difficulties, the ‘mentally ill’ are really people with unsolved personal problems.”

As I pointed out earlier in this series, abnormal/maladaptive behavior is the direct result of God permitting man to do what his sinful human nature is bent upon doing (Rom. 1:22-32). In Genesis 6:5, Moses wrote, "And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually." And again in Genesis 8:21, he wrote, "And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in His heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake; for the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done." The Apostle Paul wrote, "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned" (Rom. 5:12). Paul is referring to his own sinful nature when he states, "For I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Rom. 7:18).

So, in light of the fact that every human being is a sinner by nature, how should a Christian respond to manifestations of inappropriate behavior? It should be obvious that we should not react in a condescending way (Rom. 12:3). If a Christian sins against you, the Word provides clear instruction on how to deal with the offense (Matt.18:15-17). If a non-believer offends you, you are to "go the extra mile" (Matt. 5:10-12; 5:39-41). And, if per chance the person causing you difficulty has a history of disruptive or confrontational behavior with others, the loving thing to do would be to encourage him to speak with a Christian psychologist for testing and/or counseling. Years ago, the television networks ran a public service announcement that said, "Troublesome people are often people in trouble." It is quite possible that the individual may be suffering from some organic malfunction affecting the brain (brain damage, tumors, gene inheritance, glandular or chemical disorders). The Christian's motive for confronting inappropriate behavior must always be to help the individual become more Christ-like. In so doing, you might become more like Him yourself.

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