The mental health industry would say that you are mentally healthy if you are in touch with reality and relatively free of anxiety. Such standards are based on western rationalism. What is reality? The real question is: Who is reality? God is the ultimate reality. Everything else is created. Reality to the westerner is only that which can be verified through the five natural senses. It is very difficult to wrap our minds around what the apostle Paul wrote in 2 Cor. 4:18, “As we look not to the things that are seen, but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”
Anybody caught in a spiritual battle for their mind would be diagnosed as mentally ill by a western rationalist. If clients are seeing or hearing something that the secular counselor isn’t seeing or hearing, what would the therapist conclude? Either they are mentally ill, or out of touch with reality. The one who is actually out of touch with reality may be the secular counselor, who knows nothing of the spiritual world. What their clients are experiencing is real. In addition, fear is almost always a component of spiritual conflicts. If a client is struggling with fear and hearing voices, the diagnosis will likely be paranoid schizophrenia. To illustrate, read the following testimony I received by email:
For years I had these “voices” in my head. There were four in particular and sometimes what seemed like loud choruses of them. When the subject of schizophrenia would come up on TV, or in a magazine, I would think to myself, “I know I am not schizophrenic, but what is this in my head?” I was tortured, mocked, and jeered. Every single thought I had was second guessed, consequently I had zero self-esteem. I wished the voices would be quiet, and I always wondered if other people had this as well, and if it was common.
When I started to learn from you about taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, and read about people’s experiences with these “voices,” I came to recognize them for what they were, and I was able to make them leave. That was an amazing and beautiful thing. To be fully quiet in my mind, after all those years of torment.
For Spanish, see http://www.ficmm.org/blog