Psychiatry And Psychology Are Slavery Apart From Christ by David Lee Chu Sarchet
“Formerly, when you did not know God, you were enslaved to those by nature are not gods. But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how can you turn back again to the weak and worthless elementary principles of the world, whose slaves you want to be once more?” -Galatians 4:8-9
In my previous post, I discussed how Psychiatry and Psychology are blessed gifts from God for His people. That blog received a lot of praise, but in this blog will be pretty controversial. However, before you decide to stop reading, please hear me out and seriously consider what I am saying here.
I do support the practices of Psychiatry and Psychology because I have benefitted from these scientific disciplines. Both personally and I know people who also benefitted from these disciplines as well. This blog is not an attempt to demean or discredit these wonderful and blessed disciplines. I still maintain that Psychiatry and Psychology are indeed gifts from God. However, I would be lying if I said that these are the only methods of which people with mental illness need in their life.
Although, Psychiatry and Psychology can, and often does, help many people with dealing with their mental health symptoms, they cannot do anything to offer any real hope apart from knowing Jesus Christ the Savior and Lord. Actually, I would argue that when we are only seeking Psychiatry and Psychology, apart from the Truth of the Gospel, we are being enslaved to the “elementary principles of the world”.
One’s psychiatrist and psychologist may give us good advice to know how to manage our symptoms, but if we do not know Jesus Christ, then we are bound for hell. When I say “know” I mean know in the sense of intimacy. We were created by God to be in eternal communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
In the Westminster Larger Catechism it tells us,
“Q. What is the chief and highest end of man?
A. Man’s chief and highest end is to glorify God and enjoy Him forever”
The problem we all share is that because of the Fall of Adam and Eve, our first parents, sin has entered the world. Once sin entered the world, we are all, by default, born into sin. Sin entering the world is the reason why their is so much suffering in this world, including mental illnesses. I am not saying that individual sin is the cause of anyone’s mental illness, but Original Sin is the cause of all mental illness because it is the cause of all suffering amongst human beings, animals, and creation.
As a matter of fact, we read in Romans 8:19-20,
“For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the glory of God.”
As I said, Psychiatry and Psychology are slavery when they are separated from the Gospel of Jesus Christ, even when they benefit people with mental illness.
In this blog, I will be discussing exactly how these disciplines can and will be slavery when they are separated from Christ. Afterwards, I will tell you about the hope of the Gospel and how it should create in us a sense of peace as we await in hopeful expectation for our Lord and Savior to return for His people.
However, before I do that, I would like to give you an analogy of what I mean:
Imagine two people wandering in the desert, one is a psychologist and the other is a patient. The patient is dehydrated and the psychologist is offering the patient advice on how to keep moving forward so he can prolong his life. The psychologist may be giving good advice, but unless that patient receives some water soon he will die of thirst.
In the same way, when you go to see your psychiatrist and psychologist, they will offer you plenty of wise counsel but unless you come to know the Gospel, you will die in your sin.Tweet
You may claim to be without sin, but everyone has broken God’s law. Have you ever lusted? Then, you have committed adultery in your heart. Have you ever gotten angry with someone? Then you have murdered in your heart.
James 2:10 says,
“For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.”
In order for us to be in communion with God, we must be absolutely perfect because sin cannot be in the presence of the Holy, Perfect, Righteous, Pure, and Just, God. Now, is the time for me to talk about how these scientific disciplines are slavery apart from Christ.
There are about two ways these practices can, and often does, enslave us:
- 1) Legalism
- 2) False Hope
I will expound on these points more and afterwards if you can think of more ways then please feel free to tell me what you have thought of in the comments section of this blog.
I know that you are possibly thinking, “What in the world is legalism?” Legalism is a theological term that is about attempting to achieve salvation through any works apart from the grace that is found in Jesus Christ alone. The Bible is clear that there is nothing we can ever do to achieve salvation because of our sinful and corrupt nature. As a matter of fact, in our natural state of being, we hate God and hate our neighbor.
The Heidelberg Catechism puts it very succinctly when it says,
Q. Can we keep all this perfectly?
A. No, for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor”
However, even though this is true, we all still have an innate desire for the benefits of knowing God, although we want nothing to do with Him. All of us desire to be at peace and happiness and joy. This is why we look to all sorts of therapeutic methods to achieve happiness, peace, and joy. When we do this, these things may help us temporarily, but over time these methods will ultimately fail us. When that happens, we will look to something else to fill the void. We do this because our natural default setting is legalism. What we are ultimately looking for when we turn to these methods, or even to drugs and alcohol, is something that will give us ultimate peace, joy, satisfaction, and happiness. This can only be found in Jesus Christ. Pastor Paul Washer once said, “We all want heaven but we do not want God”. Our psychiatric medication and therapy techniques will ultimate fail us if we depend on them for our salvation.
This concept may fall on deaf ears but I need to say it anyways: a lot of what our therapists tell us is setting us up with a false hope. Therapists promises us that if we do everything they recommend, and keep doing them, then we will achieve true happiness and peace. However, if we depend solely on their wisdom and advice, what will eventually happen is we will end up getting burned out much like the man dying of thirst in the desert. If our therapists do not offer us the living water of the Gospel, then all their techniques and advice will be for nothing. Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life and no one comes to the Father except through Him. This means that anything we do that is not centered on Christ will ultimately fail us. Therapists are fond of teaching us about mindfulness exercises and deep breathing exercises and DBT/ CBT skills, but none of these methods will ever give us the everlasting peace and joy that we crave. The methods will only benefit us temporarily. Only the Gospel of Jesus Christ can, and will, fulfill our deepest desire and longing for peace, tranquility, and everlasting joy.
The Solution: Hope of the Gospel of Jesus Christ & True Liberation
We will now turn to Romans 3:21-25 which tells us,
“But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it—the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For their is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.”
I have already established how nothing we do or learn will ever save us. This means none of the therapeutic techniques, or even our psychiatric medication, will ever help us achieve the peace with God that we desperately need and desire. Since we are born into sin, we are bound for an eternity of experiencing the wrath of God. However, God has not left us there. In His mercy, He has chosen to save some people by coming down to earth as a man in history in order to take the punishment we ourselves deserve. There is not a single person in this world who is truly good and there never has been anyone who is truly good, except Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the only man who has, and will ever, keep the commands of God perfectly. He lived the perfect life we could never live and then He died on a cross and experienced total alienation from His Father in order so He could take our punishment upon Himself. Three days later, He literally rose from the dead, which signified a new life for everyone who believes in Him. 2 Corinthians 5:17 tells us,
“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.”
When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit makes us into new creations who now find their identity in Jesus Christ. This is literally true, not poetry. When we are in Christ, our identity is no longer someone with mental illness, but someone who belongs to Jesus Christ. This means that the Father no longer sees us as sinful or as someone with a mental illness. Actually, the Father sees the righteousness and holiness of Christ on us! The Bible tells us that all those who call on the name of the Lord are considered a royal priesthood and a holy nation! Please let this truth sink in: All those who belong to Christ are royalty and holy! If that isn’t good enough for you, well, let me turn your attention to Revelation 21:1-4:
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, ‘Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things shall pass away.”
What this text is referring to is what theologians have typically referred to as the eschaton, or the consummation. In the consummation of the New Heaven and the New Earth, all Christians will reign for eternity with Jesus Christ as coheirs over all of creation. We will not only be in everlasting communion with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit but God will also put an end to death, sorrow, suffering, pain, and sin once and for all. This means there will be no more mental illness!
Although, in this life we will experience sorrow and trouble, in the New Heaven and New Earth, everything will be perfect bliss and happiness because we will have perfect and glorified resurrected bodies, which will not be subjected to sin and decay. This means that our brains will no longer have any chemical imbalances that need to be treated. I cannot fathom what it will be like living with a mind that is not subject to having hallucinations, delusions, and manic episodes, but when Jesus Christ returns and raises our bodies to glorify them, I will never again experience those symptoms. We will finally have the everlasting peace and joy and happiness we desire. We will also never grow tired or weary anymore and we will also judge angels because we have the mind of Christ!
Doesn’t this sound amazing? This glorious and everlasting inheritance is yours as long as you put your faith in Jesus Christ alone. God is good and God is sovereign. He knows all who belong to Him from before the foundations of the world and He will lose not a single person who belongs to Him but He will bring our salvation to completion. I hope and pray that after reading this blog, the Holy Spirit will draw you to Himself and you will call upon the Lord Jesus Christ so you can be saved. There is no other name of which you can be saved other than the name of Jesus. I plead with you, please turn to Jesus Christ today. He will radically change your life forever.
Thank you for reading this blog and I pray that it blessed and edified you. May the grace of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ richly bless you all!
-David Lee Chu Sarchet
Christian Mental Health Advocate
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