Hover over Romans 1:20-22 for proof of God's existence, and over Matthew 5:27-28 for Judgment Day’s perfect standard. Then hover over John 3:16-18 for what God did, and over Acts 17:30-31 for what to do.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Mental Illness and Demonic Possession

"Can you please explain how you can tell the difference between mental illness and demonic possession? Also, would you handle the situation the same way if you met someone with similar symptoms today? At what point, if ever, would you seek medical help?"

I think that the definition of "mental illness" isn't very clear. Could someone be called insane because they said that the earth was round when science knew that it was flat? Is it someone who denies the theory of evolution? Some would say so. Who is it that defines someone who is mentally ill? Would it be a registered psychiatrist? Who says that they are sane, and what is the criteria for sanity? How do you know that you are sane, because someone who is mentally ill more than likely thinks that they are quite normal?

Now to your question, of how to tell the difference between someone who is mentally ill or is demonically possessed. It's clear that the way to tell if someone is demonically possessed is that they will almost certainly want to stay away from the light of the gospel.

I am not an expert on this subject (I don’t chase it--both the incidents I related happened in the mid 1980’s). I have only had one or two incidents since that time, and I do handle it differently.

I don't spend time allowing the demons to speak. I tell them to be quiet (see Mark 1:25 and Mark 1:34), then speak directly to the person, sharing the gospel with him. I go through the Ten Commandments to show him what sin is, preach the cross, and the absolute necessity of repentance and faith in Jesus. Sin gives permission for demonic possession. True repentance closes the door (see James 4:7).

If the person looked as though they would do themselves bodily harm, I would call some sort of medical expert. However, that would be secondary. Although I visit doctors and believe in the use of medicine, my experience is that often mentally ill people are given drugs that don't deal with the problem. Straight-jackets are no longer needed because powerful modern drugs make these people zombies. The symptoms are merely masked. Repentance and faith in Jesus goes to the root of the cause.