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Being Mentally Ill and Being a Christian Part 1

I want to share with you, through some blog posts, what it is like being a Christian with a mental illness that, at its worst times, has led to suicidal ideation and, at its high moments, leads to insomnia, incredible ability to get things done, restless legs, and a brain that cannot stop going. But first, I want to talk about the extreme argument against medical and therapeutic interventions.

Mental illness and mental health is a topic that has come from the shadows and into the light. But now, the arguments are in the open, especially for Christians. We argue over whether people should take medicine, see a therapist, or entirely rely on reading the Bible and prayer.

The extreme of the argument against medical and therapeutic intervention is as follows: a non-Christian therapist will destroy your faith and turn you away from God to self-help techniques. Medicine is not relying on God and is deviating from scripture and prayer. In other words, if your relationship with God is good, you will be well. When we look closely at this argument, we see that it is part of the Prosperity Gospel.

So, precisely what is the Prosperity Gospel? Stephen Hunt describes it as follows: In the forefront is the doctrine of the assurance of “divine” physical health and prosperity through faith. In short, this means that “health and wealth” are the automatic divine right of all Bible-believing Christians and may be procreated by faith as part of the package of salvation, since the Atonement of Christ includes not just the removal of sin, but also the removal of sickness and poverty.

The prosperity gospel is a false teaching. When Jesus commissions the twelve disciples in Matthew chapter ten, we are very detailed about what will come to those who do the work of Christ and that suffering will result from the consequences. I do not believe that God desires that we suffer. Instead, suffering is the consequence of the imperfect world, and our disorder loves that are our sins

A last note about Bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and what modern medicine has discovered provides evidence that it is not all in my imagination. When you scan the brains of someone with a mental illness and someone who does not have one, their brains are different and shown to function differently. The neurons fire differently, the brain perceives the world differently, and chemical interaction in the brain can be compromised. I am, without a doubt, different from other people and fit into the newer category named neurodivergent persons.

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