Is someone struggling with a mental illness, or have they fallen victim to demonic possession? What’s the difference between the two? This is a sometimes blurry line that Christians of many different denominations struggle to understand. Indeed, for centuries Christianity has worked to determine the difference between the two. While there is often no clear-cut answer, we can look at a few fundamental principles to take the next steps either way.
Not All Psychological Issues Can Be Classified as Mental Illness
Some psychological issues can be traced to a specific pattern or change in behavior. These can be helped by living a healthier lifestyle. Eating right, exercising, and having a supportive community like a church can provide all the help somebody might need to overcome a psychological issue. Sometimes, depression or anger issues are deeply rooted in sin that has taken over a large part of a person’s life. However, we all feel anger, depression, envy, and all these negative emotions at one time or another; not every sign of sin or negativity is inherently a mental illness.
That Being Said, Mental Illness is Real
Mental illness runs deeper than our daily anxiety or seasonal depression. Mental illness is a disorder rooted in the personality. Mental illness isn’t necessarily the result of direct demonic influence, however. Most times, mental illness can be traced back to some past trauma or experience, genetic issues, or a combination of these. In cases like these, medication and faith-based counseling, like what is offered at NuWell can help a person live a healthy life.
Demonic Activity is Also Real
While not something you hear about in the news every day, demonic activity is very real. The church has battled it since biblical times, and we still do today. Typically, temptations to sin are the gateway to demonic influence. The Devil targets us where we are weak (greed, lust, pride, etc.) and uses those as tools to gain a hook on us in our activities. The Enemy can only do his work by disrupting us in our daily lives, hence why many symptoms of mental illness and demonic possession are often interchangeable.
How Can We Tell the Difference?
There are some telltale signs of demonic influence. One of those signs could be that the individual, or someone in their family, has begun experimenting with the occult. New Age teachings and material have taken secular society by storm, and, unsurprisingly, even some Christians have taken a kind of interest in something so strange. Another sign would be that the individual reacts strangely or with hostility to the Bible, preachers, the church, or other holy symbols. If doctors cannot diagnose or treat what appears to be mental illness, then spiritual warfare may need to be considered.
Professional Christian counselors like those at NuWell Christian Counseling are well-trained in spiritual warfare and how it applies to mental health. By providing faithful and true counseling based on Scripture, NuWell counselors can help you and your family combat spiritual warfare or mental illness safely and faithfully.