The Mental Health Solution . com
"The entrance of thy words giveth light (Psalm 119:130)."

God & Discipline

In the secular mental health field, mental health symptoms are viewed as the result of psychosocial and biological factors. There is no God, only an emerging "science" which seeks to provide "evidenced-based" mental health services to clients in need. The notion of a God that punishes sin is dismissed as superstition that has long ago been displaced with scientific enlightenment. There's only one problem: There is a God, He does punish sin and we will bear the consequences of sin regardless of what we believe. And nowhere are the consequences of sin more evident than in our mental health.

"MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES (Hebrews 12:5-6 NASB)."

"God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it (Hebrews 12:7-11 NIV)."

Notice three things: 1) Discipline is painful. 2) The Pain is part of the learning process (not a mental illness). 3) The purpose is to bring about "righteousness and peace" in our lives. Even Jesus ". . . learned obedience from the things which He suffered (Hebrews 7:8 NASB)."

The consequences of obedience and disobedience are consistent in both the Old and New Testaments. First, the Old Testament. The following is what God revealed to Israel.

"If you fully obey the LORD your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the LORD your God will set you high above all the nations on earth. All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the LORD your God: You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country. The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed. You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:1-6 NIV)."

"However, if you do not obey the LORD your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you: You will be cursed in the city and cursed in the country. Your basket and your kneading trough will be cursed. The fruit of your womb will be cursed, and the crops of your land, and the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks. You will be cursed when you come in and cursed when you go out (Deuteronomy 28:15-19 NIV)."

"The LORD will send on you curses, confusion and rebuke in everything you put your hand to, until you are destroyed and come to sudden ruin because of the evil you have done in forsaking him. The LORD will plague you with diseases until he has destroyed you from the land you are entering to possess. The LORD will strike you with wasting disease, with fever and inflammation, with scorching heat and drought, with blight and mildew, which will plague you until you perish. The sky over your head will be bronze, the ground beneath you iron. The LORD will turn the rain of your country into dust and powder; it will come down from the skies until you are destroyed (Deuteronomy 28:20-24 NIV)."

"The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You will come at them from one direction but flee from them in seven, and you will become a thing of horror to all the kingdoms on earth. Your carcasses will be food for all the birds and the wild animals, and there will be no one to frighten them away. The LORD will afflict you with the boils of Egypt and with tumors, festering sores and the itch, from which you cannot be cured. The LORD will afflict you with madness, blindness and confusion of mind. At midday you will grope about like a blind person in the dark. You will be unsuccessful in everything you do; day after day you will be oppressed and robbed, with no one to rescue you (Deuteronomy 28:25-29)."

Thus, the consequences of disobedience included unfortunate circumstances, physical illness and mental illness.

We don't see the same widespread devastating divine judgements that happened in Old Testament times happening today. However, the same principles of discipline and judgement still apply. One example in the New Testament: Members of the Corinthian church showed disrespect for Christ during communion by being selfish and even getting drunk. The consequences: "For if you eat the bread or drink the cup without honoring the body of Christ, you are eating and drinking God's judgment upon yourself. That is why many of you are weak and sick and some have even died (1 Corinthians 11:29-30 NLT)."

And, of course, anxiety and depression today are often caused by the sin of unforgiveness (Matthew 18:21-35). Sin is a big part of many mental health issues.

So the point is this: God does discipline us. The discipline will be painful. It may include unfortunate circumstances, mental health issues and physical illness. I would caution that these are not always the result of sin.

But if you know they are, how should you respond? The Bible makes it crystal clear: "Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent (Revelation 3:19 NIV)."

It is a sin to medicate your emotions with drugs so that you can continue to sin. The appropriate response is to confess and forsake sin.

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9 NKJV)."

Two final comments: 1) Never neglect to get medical attention for a medical illness because it may be related to sin. Always talk to your doctor. Even if the illness is related to sin, God can still allow you to be effectively treated by a health professional. 2) We all know people who engage in sinful lifestyles and appear to be happy. At the very least, it is clear that God is not disciplining them. The Bible explains: "If God doesn't discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all (Hebrews 12:8 NLT)."

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Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com.

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Scripture quotations marked "NKJV™" are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation.
Used by permission. (www.Lockman.org).

Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.