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The Bible's Keys to Mental Health

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Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, director-general of the World Health Organization, reported in 2000 that “five of the 10 leading causes of disability worldwide … are mental conditions” ( Bulletin of the World Health Organization, 2000, 78).

The five conditions she listed are major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, alcohol abuse and obsessive-compulsive disorders. In addition, significant mental-health disorders plaguing humanity include phobias, generalized anxiety and panic disorder. Any of these maladies can be disabling.

Worldwide, mental-health afflictions are increasing. The total share of disability caused by them increased from 10.5 percent in 1990 to 12 percent in 1998 and is expected to increase to 15 percent in 2020—almost a 50 percent increase in only three decades. Depression, currently the fifth-leading cause of disability, is projected to jump to second place by 2020.

While treatment options—including medication and counseling—are available, prevention is the better choice.

Why is prevention preferable rather than treating a problem after it arises? Although treatment often works, it usually is much more costly. The costs often include financial losses, physical-health deterioration and trauma to family members—sometimes resulting in family disintegration.

Many mental illnesses can be prevented, and the Bible provides helpful information to that end. After all, it is a handbook from God on what we should think and how our minds should work. Among other things, the Bible tells us how to relieve stress and the kind of stimuli we should allow into our minds. Here are some crucial biblical keys to mental health.

The power of a positive attitude

We start with the obvious merits of simple positive thinking. In Philippians 4:8 Philippians 4:8Finally, brothers, whatever things are true, whatever things are honest, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
American King James Version×
the Bible instructs us in proper thinking: “And now, my friends, all that is true, all that is noble, all that is just and pure, all that is lovable and gracious, whatever is excellent and admirable—fill all your thoughts with these things” (New English Bible, emphasis added throughout).

Those who consistently apply these positive words will practice positive thinking, a habit crucial to mental health. “A positive outlook is known to improve recovery from surgery and the immune system's ability to fight off disease as well as aid in cancer recovery, to reduce the fight-or-flight response and hence stress disease [and can] … restore our tranquillity and turn our unhappy, anxiety-producing hormones into happy ones” (Archibald Hart, M.D., The Anxiety Cure, 1999, p. 217).

The characteristics of an optimistic mind-set include the ability to focus on the positive when the negative seems overwhelming. The key lies in turning a problem into a challenge and then working to meet it.

We also must avoid filling our minds with the negative and degrading aspects of the world around us. The apostle Paul wrote that some things are so shameful we should not even speak of them (Ephesians 5:12 Ephesians 5:12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
American King James Version×
). Yet many of the degrading things to which Paul referred fill our print and electronic media.

If we want good mental health, we should discipline our minds to avoid a degrading mental diet. The principle of “garbage in, garbage out” certainly applies with respect to our minds. The net effect of what occupies our minds—and often comes out of our mouths—will be as pure or as corrupt as whatever we let enter our minds. We jeopardize our mental health when we subject our thinking to mental trash. To remain psychologically stable, we must discipline our minds to avoid thinking in the gutter.

Paul practiced the advice he gave to the Christians at Philippi and exhorted them to follow his example (Philippians 4:9 Philippians 4:9Those things, which you have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you.
American King James Version×
), telling them that if they did so the “God of peace” would be with them. Peace of mind and a clear conscience (Acts 23:1 Acts 23:1And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brothers, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.
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; 24:16; 1 Timothy 1:5 1 Timothy 1:5Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned:
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) are essential characteristics of sound mental health.

Reining in feelings and emotions

Where do feelings and emotions come from? When God created man in His own image (Genesis 1:27 Genesis 1:27So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
American King James Version×
), He included the human personality, which can express godly feelings.

The primary characteristic that summarizes God's very being is love (1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
American King James Version×
, 16). But Paul describes a greater range of godly characteristics and emotions as aspects of the fruit of His Spirit. They include “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23 Galatians 5:22-23 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
American King James Version×
, New International Version). The Bible exhorts us to be full of this Spirit (Ephesians 5:18 Ephesians 5:18And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;
American King James Version×

If these traits are dominant in our personality, we are less likely to suffer from mental aberrations. Such a mind will be self-controlled; it will be stable and able to endure the difficulties of life. It will be optimistic, and optimism is a vital part of a healthy mind. “Optimistic people are more able to roll with life's punches and slough off stress—and they live longer” (Bradley Wilcox, M.D., Craig Wilcox, Ph.D., and Makoto Suzuki, M.D., The Okinawa Program, 2001, p. 273).

Conversely, “a person without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls” (Proverbs 25:28 Proverbs 25:28He that has no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.
American King James Version×
, New Living Translation). This person will be vulnerable and driven frequently by negative emotions. His outcome is described in Galatians 5:19-21 Galatians 5:19-21 19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, 20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, jealousies, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Contentions, murders, drunkenness, revelings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
American King James Version×
. His accompanying problems can include adultery, sexual immorality, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, envy and drunkenness. Living this way exacts an automatic penalty that makes one a candidate for instability, unhappiness and mental problems.

We choose our emotions, and we live with the consequences. The types of emotions that prevail in our minds are a major determining factor in whether we succeed at life itself. “Emotions are a mixed blessing. They are responsible for many of man's finest and greatest achievements. They are also responsible for some of the greatest tragedies in our world” (Norman Wright, The Christian Use of Emotional Power, 1974, p. 13). If we choose healthy emotions, we can be happy and achieve success in life.

Take time out

We live in such a fast-paced world that it is essential to schedule breaks from our routine. “Taking time to rest is not an option in today's world; it is a necessity. Yet more people struggle here than in almost any other area of their lives. It is perilous not to take time to rest” (Hart, p. 118).

Even Jesus and His apostles felt this need. Notice one such occasion in Mark 6:31 Mark 6:31And he said to them, Come you yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.
American King James Version×
: “Then Jesus said, 'Let's get away from the crowds for a while and rest.' There were so many people coming and going that Jesus and his apostles didn't even have time to eat” (NLT).

For mental rejuvenation and avoiding stress overload, we need daily rest. Especially as we get older, an afternoon nap can rejuvenate us. We also need regular vacations if our financial circumstances and work situations permit. Even if one does nothing but stay at home on holidays, breaks from our routines can be beneficial.

In addition, God tells us we need to schedule one day in the week for rest. After completing His work of creation, God rested on the seventh day (Genesis 2:2 Genesis 2:2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
American King James Version×
). The Hebrew word for “rested” is shabath, the verb form of the noun translated as “Sabbath” in Exodus 20:10-11 Exodus 20:10-11 10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: 11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
American King James Version×
, where God gave the Ten Commandments to Israel and commanded the Israelites to keep His Sabbath holy by resting on the seventh day of every week.

Too much change

Some mental-health practitioners recognize the value of this weekly practice. “One of the most powerful arguments in favor of pushing for a greater emphasis on rest comes from the Bible … God rested on the seventh day … From the outset, the Bible presents us with the idea that rest is important, and furthermore, that a specific time has to be set aside for rest …

“I happen to believe (and a lot of scientific evidence is accumulating to support this belief) that we were designed for camel travel, not supersonic jet behavior … Today, however, we are exceeding these limits, not just barely, but by a huge margin. The penalty is an epidemic of stress disease and anxiety disorders, especially panic anxiety” (Hart, pp. 118-119).

About 40 years ago a French doctor who taught at Harvard observed: “If psychiatric illnesses are truly increasing in the Western world, the reason is not to be found in the complex and competitive character of our society but rather in the accelerated rate at which old habits and conventions disappear. Even the marginal man can generally achieve some form of equilibrium with his environment if the social order is stable, but he is likely to break down when the extent and rate of change exceed his adaptive potentialities. For this reason mental diseases are likely to become more apparent in areas undergoing rapid cultural transitions” (Rene Dubos, Mirage of Health, 1959, pp. 208-209).

The Sabbath provides a time to take a break from the world of stress and tension. “… We live in a culture that is constantly feeding us stress-producing messages … With today's round-the-clock access to news we now can receive a twenty-four-hour-a-day parade of mostly negative information … The news, in fact, has become so stressful that some health experts … recommend periodic 'news fasts' to improve psychological health” (Wilcox, Wilcox and Suzuki, pp. 237-238).

(To learn more about the biblical Sabbath, please read our free booklet Sunset to Sunset: God's Sabbath Rest .)

Confront your fears

Everyone is afraid of something. Some fears are healthy, but some are not. When a fear becomes persistent and irrational, it is a phobia. “Specific phobias strike more than one in ten people” (Hart, p. 180). Some major fears are agoraphobia, fear of being in public places, and claustrophobia, fear of confinement or crowded places.

When one has a phobia, he will often anticipate encountering the circumstance that is apt to trigger it, which can set up persistent anxiety. God does not want us to be controlled by such fears. The Bible says, “Do not be afraid of sudden terror …” (Proverbs 3:25 Proverbs 3:25Be not afraid of sudden fear, neither of the desolation of the wicked, when it comes.
American King James Version×

How can we overcome phobias? “They must be confronted, but not in a way that reinforces them. It is possible to overcome almost every phobia. It just takes time and effort. Real-life exposure to whatever situation you might fear is the most effective way to overcome that fear” (Hart, p. 179).

It is often beneficial to seek professional counsel when confronting a phobia that seriously impacts your life, but developing a relationship with God is even more important. In doing so, you can grow in His love, and “love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18 1 John 4:18There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
American King James Version×

Confront anxiety with confidence

Although most people are not phobic, almost everyone has to struggle against worry, which is a form of fear. Our age is the era of anxiety. Everyone experiences some anxiety, and it can be a useful emotion when it triggers us to act to avoid danger. But, if it impacts our life seriously, we must take action to overcome it. “Every anxiety sufferer must learn new ways of thinking and develop methods for changing their former thinking patterns” (Hart, p. 111).

The Bible verifies that this kind of thinking is essential, telling us to “be renewed in the spirit of your mind” (Ephesians 4:23 Ephesians 4:23And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
American King James Version×

How do we do this? One anxiety-reducing technique is to cleanse your mind at day's end. Evening is “a good time to do a 'mental wash' when you review anxieties that are cluttering your thinking and dump those that are not important” (Hart, p. 204).

The Bible confirms that this is sound advice in a passage that tells us what to do at day's end. “Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still” (Psalms 4:4 Psalms 4:4Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still. Selah.
American King James Version×

Sometimes anxieties relate to meeting our basic needs. Jesus said, “Do not be anxious then, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'With what shall we clothe ourselves?'” Jesus also recommended a cure for these worries: “… Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness; and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:31 Matthew 6:31Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
American King James Version×
, 33, New American Standard Bible). The point is that, when our priorities conform to God's will, we can live in confidence that He will help us meet our other needs.

A relationship with God is fundamental to overcoming our fears. The Bible exhorts: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5 Philippians 2:5Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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), and, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (4:13). The only way we can develop the mind of Christ is to first repent of ignoring God's biblical instructions, then be baptized and receive God's Spirit (Acts 2:38 Acts 2:38Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.
American King James Version×
). In doing so we can cleanse our minds and develop new mental habits. “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (2 Timothy 1:7 2 Timothy 1:7For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
American King James Version×

The healing power of humor

As simple as it sounds, the ability to laugh is an aid to mental health. Joy is akin to laughter, and it, too, is part of the fruit of God's Spirit (Galatians 5:22 Galatians 5:22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
American King James Version×
). “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance” (Proverbs 15:13 Proverbs 15:13A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
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), and “a merry heart does good, like medicine” (17:22).

Humor triggers literal physiological and mental changes in your body. Laughter “touches us at a deep emotional and physical level … By its very nature it changes our perception and invites us to look at things in a different light. It shows us that life can be silly, even crazy at times, but it still can be enjoyable” (Wilcox, Wilcox and Suzuki, pp. 272-273). One doctor notes that “humor, smiles, and laughter are the very best stress-busters” (Herbert Benson, M.D., Timeless Healing, 1996, p. 277).

A relationship with God provides the deepest and most-abiding joy. “The Bible has much to say about the joy, the sheer happiness, of the redeemed …” ( The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 1982, “Humor in the Bible”). In one study of more than 500 men, “significant associations emerged between the participants' religious involvement and their health … such as less depression” (Kenneth Cooper, M.D., It's Better to Believe, p. 5).

Physical activity such as gardening, walking and other regular exercise can also benefit your mental health.

Avoid dangerous addictions

People suffering from mental problems—including undue stress—often rely on ingestible substances to help them get through the day. But this kind of crutch can easily lead to a collapse and fall. “Many people who suffer from emotional disorders or mental illness turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate, as a way of tolerating feelings that are intolerable. Yet, ironically, this method of self-treating seldom works in the long run and frequently makes matters worse” ( Johns Hopkins Family Health Book, 1999, p. 1225).

Besides addictions to mood-altering substances, sometimes people become addicted to things that are normally proper and healthy. Some, for example, develop addictions to food, sex or work. Though not a problem in moderation and within God's laws, losing control in any of these areas will often lead to greater problems.

The Bible addresses the need for balance and control. “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any” (1 Corinthians 6:12 1 Corinthians 6:12All things are lawful to me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.
American King James Version×
). We should have but one addiction—and that is a devotion to love God and our fellow man. The supreme power that should rule over us is God through the Holy Spirit.

A social support system

“… Woe to him who is alone when he falls, for he has no one to help him up,” says Ecclesiastes 4:10 Ecclesiastes 4:10For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow: but woe to him that is alone when he falls; for he has not another to help him up.
American King James Version×
. The 17th-century poet John Donne had a related thought: “No man is an island.” Good mental health requires contact with other people. One of the first revelations of the Bible is that God designed us to need other people: “It is not good that the man should be alone” (Genesis 2:18 Genesis 2:18And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.
American King James Version×

The need for emotionally supporting family and friends is scientifically established. “What happens if we have no close relationships? The message that emerges loud and clear from scientific evidence accumulated since the mid 1970's is that having a reasonable quantity and quality of social relationships is essential for mental and physical wellbeing” (Paul Martin, M.D., The Healing Mind, 1997, p. 157).

Human interaction spawns growth and is essential mentally and physically. Proverbs 27:17 Proverbs 27:17Iron sharpens iron; so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.
American King James Version×
tells us that “as iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another” (NIV).

Perhaps the chief benefit of uplifting social contact is that it provides us the opportunity to learn how to love and serve. This is vital to mental health. “I have never met a person who is genuinely focused on helping others who is unhappy or dissatisfied with life … I can assure you that they are happy because they are directing their attention away from themselves” (Hart, p. 223).

Jesus recognized this and demonstrated that love and service are keys to happiness and mental health. He performed the menial task of washing His disciples' feet to demonstrate that His disciples were to serve one another as He had served them. After washing their feet Jesus said, “Now that you know these things, happy are you if you do them” (John 13:17 John 13:17If you know these things, happy are you if you do them.
American King James Version×
, Twentieth Century New Testament). Later in the same chapter He told them, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another” (verse 34).

Jesus earlier said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:39 Matthew 22:39And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.
American King James Version×
). One of the two great commandments in the Bible (verses 37-40), this is a message that is consistent throughout Scripture: We should all be friends. The book of Proverbs extols the benefits of friendliness and neighborliness. “The neighbourly qualities which Proverbs urges on the reader add up to nothing less than love” (Derek Kidner, Proverbs, an Introduction and Commentary, 1964, p. 44).

Obedience to the commands of the Bible and nurturing a relationship with God the Father and Jesus Christ form the foundation to completeness and mental well-being. “This is the end of the matter: you have heard it all. Fear God and obey his commandments; this sums up the duty of mankind” (Ecclesiastes 12:13 Ecclesiastes 12:13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.
American King James Version×
, Revised English Bible).

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  • Alice Aber

    Wow, I found this article to be very interesting. I plan on taking it with me to a chronic illness and pain support group I run through my church. I am sure it will have a positive impact on many people as chronic illness and pain will often lead to mental health issues as well. What a blessing! Thanks so much for the article.


  • Angeleyes

    No one really can understand unless they have suffered with a mental illness how terrible the suffering can be to deal with. When you and/or a family member have a mental illness day to day is difficult.Having faith with God and his son can help you get through your day.Reading the Bible and studing has really helped me and my daughter get through so much the last few years due to a tragic thing that happened to our family. Arthicals like this help out with our need for understanding. Thank so much for all you do to teach what we need to study . Patricia

  • Halcyon Ford

    I am surprised to find no mention of the Psychopath. While it is a personality disorder and not a mental illness, they are the cause of much evil in the world and make upto 4% of the population. What is UCG’s teaching on the subject?

    Psychopaths use the Basal Ganglia instead of the Frontal Cortex - the seat of the neurotypical persons ‘conscience’. This has been shown in brain scans and and interesting side-effect of the psychopaths condition is a poor sense of smell - currently being developed as a test to identify them. Having had extremely unpleasant experiences with them, I was forced to turn my previous religious beliefs around completely. For an excellent understanding of the condition Dr Robert Hare, “Without Conscience”.

    Because the psychopath has no conscience (I have no reason not to think conscience is not the same thing as a soul) - they are capable of the most diabolical actions that only a permanent state of schadenfreude could explain. This condition appears to be with at least two world leaders - Putin and Ahmadinejad… so the Temptation of Christ re-read with the psychopath in mind could explain the King of Tyre and Babylon.

    Of particular interest is the following:
    “…know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!”

    Is this an ancient definition of the psychopath? They are infecting communities, churches, facebook and twitter with their vile filth - and yet, for 15 years attending WWCOG, it was never mentioned. I would like to see you investigate this further and provide the Good News: A Kingdom of God will surely be without psychopaths.

  • KARS

    @ Mr. Ford: Let’s put this another way that you may understand.

    First of all, if the father and mother of the newborn were drug and bozz free, that child will be more likely not to have a chemistry imbalance.

    We have seen time and time again in documentries and health shows how we endanger our bodies with illegal drugs and to much buzz; not to mention to much caffine (“5 hour ?”), nicotine, etc.

    Without the proper diet, exercise, rest, and most importantly a constant daily contact with our Creator (Abba Father); how in the world do we expect to remain healthy in this crazy mixed up world we live in; with Satan in the lead?

    Satan is very jealous of the human race. Why? Because he screwed up and can never return as the beautiful high ranking angel he once was.
    He is not only God our Father and His Only Begotten Son’s (Jesus Christ)enemy. He is ours. Satan the Adversary, the father of lies, woes, pain and suffering.

  • KARS

    Well, is not God our Father calling people from the world with these exact negative additudes Mr. Ford?

    I mean after all, by calling out people of the world with every bad scenerio lived; we will have no excuse.

    Very intelligent God we have. He has covered every angle.

    Those that come out of the Great Tribulation will needs saints of God who know “where they are coming from”. There is going to be a great need for healing of hearts and minds to set things straight again.
    With our Savior’s help and he reigning, all things are possible.

  • Halcyon Ford

    Kars, while you did not address any points I made, I can comment on a couple of your points.

    Tobacco is an important and ancient herb. We have receptors in our brains for the nicotine that acts as a medicine and a new range of drugs are being developed based on nicotine to treat depression, obesity, anxiety, Alzheimer’s and many other conditions. Coca leaf, Poppies, Tobacco, Willow and many other plants are basis of modern synthesized drugs and like all things they are all herbs that were created for our use - but like all things, the correct use and in moderation is the key. “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it…”

    Mental Health is an industry - if a drug can be sold for it, it will be diagnosed. It is unfortunate that most drugs to assist mental health are more dangerous than the condition being treated - Lithium, Flouride and other potents are poison. My suggestion would be the return of the Mental Institution where those that are a danger to themselves and others are cared for, with no access to the Internet.

  • Razor Sharpe

    Firstly, Noel Hornor, great article. You covered the main points in a most succint way.

    @ Alice Aber: I admire your enthusiasm, but don’t hold your breath. People with chronic problems are people with problems that are chronic for a reason – they cannot be healed by others or themselves easily. If they could they would be well long before now. It may be of further help to you to find a book entitled “The Road Less Travelled” – M. Scott Peck. He gives case histories which details the illness, the reason behind it, and how best to detect and manage it. All the best with your Chronic Illness Group.

    @ Kars: Halcyon Ford beat me to the punch. You did not as he pointed out address the points he made. In fact your argument style is a common one used – make a statement which everyone sees as reasonable, with the implication that the other party has disagreed with it and is therefore made to look like they were wrong and unreasonable. Your point is good but not relevant to addressing Mr Ford.

    I disagree with Mr Ford on one point – I think a personality disorder is a mental illness, or that at the very least one affects the other. That is to say, a person
    with Aspergers (a mental disorder) may appear to be OCD (Obbsessive-Compulsive). I would say that OCD traits may point to Aspergers or Autism. Simply put, a mental disorder often manifests as a personality trait.

    Now enter the psychopath. Halcyon Ford correctly mentions this as a personality disorder.
    And this disorder affects not only the psychopath, but those around them. Most ordinary mental illnesses only affect the patient. e.g. depressed people may be people you don’t want to spend the day with, but they won’t harm or kill you.
    The psychopath goes to extremes to hide his mental disorder, and does want to control people. He does want to impose himself on others and cause anguish, discomfort, harm, and in extreme cases, death.
    These people need our attention, to identify them, and to know what strategies can be implemented to defend against them. These people have the capacity to destroy our FAITH. It’s very important that this subject is taken seriously.

  • KARS

    What is sad about all this is not even the Pychiatric community is immuned to mental illness. Even they, without God, find themselves becoming mental ill. I know that there have been cases of suicide among the doctors.

    God our Father is the only cure, regardless if he heals the mentally ill person or not. It is His will and if He is guiding this person’s life, that person can live a simi descent life. This person will rely on God our Father with all their might.

    Do not underestimate God our Father’s power, will, and love.

  • Halcyon Ford

    Why is a Psychopath not mentally ill?

    Mental Illness
    “Problems associated with mental illness which if not addressed result in severe disadvantage, continued dependence on mental health treatment and crisis services, and which severely curtail the ability of the individual to live independently in the community…A mental illness (or mental disorder) is a diagnosable illness that significantly interferes with an individual’s cognitive, emotional or social abilities. There are different types of mental illnesses and each of these will occur with a different degree of severity.

    The psychopath does not fit within this definition of ‘mentally ill’. They have no discomfort from the condition and in fact they like what they are - to the extent they believe everyone is like them, only they are better at their activities than everyone else - this forms the basis of their egocentricity. They cannot be treated - no treatment exists for ‘no conscience’.

    “Meanwhile, the psychopaths among us are difficult to detect because they don’t show any of the signs doctors expect to see in mentally disordered people, such as neurological or developmental problems, lower intelligence and difficulty interacting with others.

    They may be selfish, antisocial and violent, but they are not dysfunctional, according to Krupp.

    “Psychopaths know full well the consequence of their behaviour,” he said.

    The study appears in the latest issue of the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

  • Sabrina Peabody

    Hi all,

    Please try to keep comments on topic. This article is on mental health and there are a lot of comments on the topic of a psychopath. If you have any direct questions to UCG, they can be submitted using our Contact Form under the Contact tab.

    Thank you!
    Sabrina Pebaody
    UCG Web Team

  • KARS

    Thank you for sharing this information Mr. Ford.

  • Sabrina Peabody

    Hi Halcyon Ford,

    My point for the comment is so that discussion is promoted based on the article. The article seems to be speaking more along the lines of what kinds of things a person can do to help deal with or overcome certian mental illnesses.

    Speaking personally, I am not sure of the UCG policy when it comes to this issue. I have forwarded your question onto our Correspondence Department and you should receive a response.

  • Halcyon Ford

    Hello Sabrina, thank you for the clarification. I can explain relevance by way of two hypothetical scenarios:

    In my experience many people misunderstand Personality Disorders in relation to Mental Illness. I fully endorse the religious and biblical instruction advised in the article for coping with and dealing with a wide range of metal illness. However, this is of no use to a member of UCG or wider public when dealing with or investigating an encounter with the PD I refer too. I believe the information is not relevant and without question, harmful to the person mistaking the PD in question, with a mental illness. Such a person should seek immediate guidance from a Minister if any traits of the PD in question are detected.

    Secondly, due to the nature of the PD in question, the information provided in the article may in fact assist the PD in question in creating a greater deception when dealing with a Christian who may have detected that not all is well with an individual and not take the correct course of action to protect themselves.

    I therefore suggest and look forward to my post to the article god-designed-all-humans so that a single follow up post (how to detect the PD in question) will conclude my interaction with UCG. I look forward to the response from UCG Policy, thankyou for following this important subject up.

  • Rex Sexton

    As a result of visiting several inmates and wanting to understand them better, I spent three years studying books on the criminal mind and even contacted Dr. Hare. While UCG has no official teaching on psycopaths, we teach the scriptural principles that people should obey God’s laws and God’s ministers are charged with the responsibility to protect God’s sheep. I gave three sermons as a result of my study of the subject. They are entitled “Dealing with Evil.” Here is the link in case you would care to listen:  ;
    Rex Sexton
    Pastor, Tacoma, WA

  • Pamela Joan Bartholomew
    Years ago I felt I had to do four hours of Bible study and prayer a day to cope with my life. I also would get irritable with my children at times. I found that I needed B complex for stress. After taking 50 mg for a while a day, I didn’t need four hours a day of Bible study and I stopped yelling at my kids. I also was able to relax at night to go to sleep right away instead of having my mind in a whirl for hours before I could sleep. Be careful because B6 can build up and can be harmful. There are blood tests for B vitamins. B vitamins are in whole grains, beef, etc., but if we get deficiencies we sometimes need more of the things in B complex like folic acid. Too much folic acid can mask a B12 deficiency. A B12 deficiency is very dangerous. The elderly especially should be tested for it. An online article on B12 said that in Europe they have found that getting below 500 on the normal American scale of B12 can lead to memory loss and possible dementia symptoms. A losenge of methylcobalamin B12 is best to conteract a low B12. Cyanocobalamin B12 is only 5% absorbed by the body. The first B12 is available at good health food stores, 1000mcg a day, no known side affects.
  • Pamela Joan Bartholomew
    I have a psychology four year degree. Depression has a lot of causes. It can run in families. It can be managed at times, but cannot be wished away easily and sometimes it can’t be healed except by God. I did overcome out of control grief at one point in my life by going back to college. I had so much reading homework, I did not have time for negative thoughts. Eventually I was no longer depressed, however, some depression is caused by missing enzymes or deficiencies of B complex or food allergies, sensitivities, etc.,etc. Please don’t judge someone who is depressed. It is not easy to overcome and sometimes can’t be unless certain things are known and done. It doesn’t help the depressed person to say negative things about them such as Satan causes depression and a person can self heal if they just tried or there must be something wrong with their spiritual life, etc.,etc. The depressed person does not feel good at all. Do not make them feel worse. Give them information if they can accept it, but don’t force them to use it as they already feel overwhelmed. Pray for them, be their friend, be supportive, include them. Love them. Help them overcome if possible.
  • crazyzoarhaina
    Someone essentially help to make significantly articles I would state. That is the first time I frequented your web page and to this point? I amazed with the analysis you made to make this actual publish incredible. Great job!
  • adrian Maasdorp
    For years struggled with Phil 4;8 till just now realized thoughts are also in the heart
  • heavenz
    I would like to chime in as someone with a mental illness. I have had my issues lately with the church. Too much noise and propaganda so I’ve been searching for my own way to have peace of mind. I pretty much rejected Christianity because a lot of the Christian people I knew were not good people. So I took a “religious break” and really just tried to seek my own answers directly from God, not from a book or a preacher. I have found for me personally and having “Borderline Personality Disorder” that a happy medium between positive Buddhist prayers and a mix of Biblical “morals of the story” help me to stay peaceful. For instance, this morning I meditated on “The mind is everything, what you think you become.” So I concentrated on being a more peaceful loving person and it helped. I sought out this website to see what the Bible also says about mental health. It’s a weird combination but I think everyone should find what works for them to make them a better person. If it’s the Bible, yay! If it’s not they’re still a better person dealing with what I know from experience is a personal kind of hell. Good luck out there and I hope this article or comment helps you! <3 Peace and love. -AL
  • KARS
    My thanks to Mr. Sexon for his sermon suggestion. To Pamela for her understanding of the mentally ill, Heavenz for telling us how they cope with their illness, and Sabrina for reminding us of the forum rules. There are many ways to cope with mentall illness and like Mr. Ford said; those with servere mental illness (like people of history: Hilter for one)and their love for death;can be a dangerous person to be around. This article was to help us with suggestions on how to cope and make life a little more durable while suffering with depression and soforth. It is here to lift us up from the woes we find ourselves in. Sometimes we are in this “pit of dispare” and can”t find our way out. Thank you Mr. Hornor for your suggestive help with a Christian point of view. Sincerely, KARS
  • Sherrie G
    I appreciate this article very much! I also want to thank Rex Sexton for the link to his sermons, I plan on listening.
  • dziwczyna
    @heavens The problem with a lot of Eastern religions is that it is a mixture of ‘good and evil’. A lot of us Westerners are really ignorant of what some of their practises are really all about. Eastern Meditation is actually a dangerous activity that can invite demons into our lives. When people are chanting the word ‘Om’ they are chanting a demon (pagan god’s) name and invoking that spirit into their life. Christ also tells us not to be like the heathens in reciting vain repetitions. Yoga is also another dangerous practise. Kundalini yoga is a practise whereby you are trying to release a ‘serpent’ at the base of your spine. Who in the Bible is described as a serpent other than the Devil? The mainstream yoga that has become popular is really practised in a religious sense by people of the Hindu religion as a way to become a god. Every shape is one of a deity. The higher you get in yoga, the more godlike you become. Their gods are all demons, as the Bible says. I’m sorry that you have experienced hypocrites in your church, BUT God sometimes allows ‘tares’ to test the ‘wheat’. We still have to stand with God even when others fall away.
  • Jadensgrandma
    I also found Churchianity very hypocritical, and went on to become one of Jehovas witnesses, but there I constantly felt on the fringe, not good enough to Socialise with the other members. I have had many bouts of depression so this situation lead me to fall away from the JWs. However after reading Herbert Armstrong’s book, ‘The Mystery of the Ages’ I started to find out as much as I could about the churches coming out of the WWCG. Only the UCG has invited me to attend your Church out of the three and I already feel an affiliation even before attending. This has given me confidence and a feeling that I am wanted and can contribute. I am sure that God has lead me to your church and as such has been a healing force in my mental illness (depression). Thank you Eternal God for your love and support.
  • raj55
    Thanks Mr.Hornor for this amazingly vibrant article. As a new reader, may I thank you all who are behind this work. Prayers.
  • totemynote
    Thank you for this article.
  • PsycheX
    I think we must be careful when using biblical verses outside of its context. To use biblical principles as a technique or means of coping for those suffering with mental illnesses that are not regenerated by God is very misleading at best. The article gives techniques towards maintaining or establishing mental stability yet fails to explain to man that he, man, is fallen and is incapable of changing who they are at the core which is a sinner (as we all are before God changes the heart). Man can change behaviors, even change thought pattern; yet, the heart is still the same. Romans 6:6 Romans 6:6Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.
    American King James Version×
    “Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin.” The apostle Paul clearly expressed man’s state without Christ is a slave to sin. To even suggest man can do anything but continue to sin is ridiculous, again he can change behaviors and patterns however his heart remains the same.
  • PsycheX
    also.. This article uses scripture out of context such as Ephesians 5: 12 “for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.” This verse is not talking about things we fill our mind with, it is comparing children of the light with children of the darkness; Believers vs. unbelievers; clearly seen when seeing the text in its context. Also, the article talked about a day of rest and referenced Genesis and Exodus. #1- Believers “REST” on the work that was done on the cross by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and not of works or ourselves. #2 The idea of “rest” in the Old Testament on the 7th day was to consecrate that day as Holy, set apart to worship God the creator, not personal relaxation for mental clarity, but to worship the Lord/God. The article completely misuses the Holy Scripture and that is very disappointing. I have a sincere affection for mental illness as I am a practitioner in psychiatry, but I also recognize the effects of sin. Christians need to do more, not with self help ideas that basically put a bandaid on a bleeding wound, but pointing people to the cross. There is no greater power than that of God.
  • United Church of God
    PsycheX - I was a little surprised to read that you believe we should not use biblical principles in helping us cope with mental illnesses. I would think that as someone who reads the Bible and is a “practitioner in psychiatry” you would not only recognize but welcome the Bible’s God-inspired advice about what we humans can do to improve both our physical and mental well-being. For example, the author quoted a doctor when extolling the benefits of a positive mental attitude. The doctor stated that having a positive outlook improves recovery from surgery, the immune system, reduces stress, and generally helps us feel better. I think Jesus would certainly approve of that. We agree that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 Romans 3:23For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
    American King James Version×
    ), and salvation is by the grace of God, not our works. However, the purpose of the article was to point out the good advice that our loving Father has given mankind in the pages of our Bible to help us lead happier and healthier physical lives. We should not ignore or belittle such advice, because God inspired it to be written in the Bible.
  • United Church of God
    But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:27-28 Matthew 5:27-28 27 You have heard that it was said by them of old time, You shall not commit adultery: 28 But I say to you, That whoever looks on a woman to lust after her has committed adultery with her already in his heart.
    American King James Version×
    ). In Ephesians chapter five, Paul was talking about things Christians should avoid such as “fornication and all uncleanness” (verse three) and “filthiness, nor foolish talking” (verse four). Sometimes Christians can sin by doing “shameful things in secret.” Paul said we should be “…bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5 2 Corinthians 10:5Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;
    American King James Version×
    ). As you said, the seventh day was set aside as a Holy day upon which man should worship God. However, God makes it plain that it is also a day of physical rest. Paul wrote about this Sabbath rest in Hebrews. “There remains therefore a rest [Sabbath rest] for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9 Hebrews 4:9There remains therefore a rest to the people of God.
    American King James Version×
    ). As an example for us, even God rested on the first Sabbath day (Genesis 2:2 Genesis 2:2And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.
    American King James Version×
    ). There is much benefit from human beings resting one day of the week, especially if it is on the day God created as Holy time (verse three). You took exception to our use of Ephesians 5:12 Ephesians 5:12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
    American King James Version×
    , saying “this verse is not talking about things we fill our mind with” but it is “comparing children of the light with children of t
  • United Church of God
    Our hearts need not remain prone to sin, although we remain human. In Peter’s first sermon, he showed us how we can change. “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:38-39 Acts 2:38-39 38 Then Peter said to them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. 39 For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.
    American King James Version×
    ). What does God do for people who sincerely repent and turn to Him? “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My judgments and do them; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God” (Ezekiel 11:19-20 Ezekiel 11:19-20 19 And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh: 20 That they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances, and do them: and they shall be my people, and I will be their God.
    American King James Version×
    ). You took exception to our use of Ephesians 5:12 Ephesians 5:12For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.
    American King James Version×
    , saying “this verse is not talking about things we fill our mind with” but it is “comparing children of the light with children of the darkness.” However, it is clear that God wants us to control what we allow to come into our minds. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ …

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