So it’s Mental Health Awareness week so I’ve decided to write a short series of blog posts about how the Bible speaks about, and into, our mental health. This post is rather short but so very fundamental.
There are two keys to understanding mental health from a biblical point of view:
- 1. behind every emotion is a theological statement
- 2. every dysfunctional, fallen emotion is a distortion of God’s original, pre-fall design
So let’s explore these a little bit. Firstly the idea that behind every emotion is a theological statement.
Let’s take the common idea of “glass half full / half empty” issue and apply it to what the Bible says. For the Christian, optimism – “glass is half full” – is naive. Why? Well, primarily because we believe what the Bible says about sin and about fallen human nature. Often the optimism simply has a theologically shallow view of the human condition. Equally however, the pessimism of “glass is half empty” is atheistic. Why? because it forgets that God is sovereign. It acts as though God is not on His throne. Often the pessimist simply has a theologically shallow view of God’s Rule.
How does the gospel change this? By standing in contrast to both to these. It not only identifies the true nature of humans but it also declares that God in His sovereignty has done something about it. The message is that Jesus is crucified, has risen from the dead, is alive on the throne, and is coming back with His Kingdom.
That first foundation for understanding biblical mental well-being is that behind every emotion is a theological belief. What we believe about God is the most important thing about us, says Tozer.
Now, the second point is this: every dysfunctional, fallen emotion is a distortion of God’s original, pre-fall design. This idea promotes the fact that God designed us with emotions and since He declared all things to be good at His creation, this includes emotions. However, since we are fallen, we now experience emotions in a deeply broken way. Emotions are not as God intended them to be.
Future posts in this series will start to unpack these issues one by one and give some suggests to keep our minds healthy.
Note: none of this is intended to replace medical advice. It is right and proper that those who are struggling in these areas contact their GP who can offer help.