Saturday, July 14, 2007

Forgiveness and Mental Health

In God is healing and riches of the mind for man. Paul tells Timothy that God has given His children a “sound mind.” The great fact in the life of man is sin, which has separated him from God. Of all human needs, the deepest and the most fundamental is man’s felt need for reconciliation with God. In the final analysis, all the problems of the mentally ill are probably problems which arise out of fear and guilt resulting from the presence in their lives of that which they are afraid to face. This statement of Leslie D. Weatherhead expresses well the basic effect mental health of the lack of fulfillment of man’s deepest need: “At our clinic we have had more cases of neurosis due to repressed guilt than any other cause. Whether you look up to the heights to which we have climbed spiritually, or whether you look to the depths in which men wallow in unhappiness and misery, you find the importance of forgiveness. In the end, God’s for everybody is to make him one with Himself. If that is so, then we more and more need forgiveness. If there is any hope of people like you and me ever attaining union with God in any sense of these words, then we realize how we greatly need forgiveness. In fact it is a very interesting and remarkable thing that the greater the saint the more conscious he is of his need for forgiveness. Paul called himself the chief of sinners. John Wesley on his deathbed asserted his sinfulness and prayed, ‘God be merciful to me a sinner.’”

The great over-all fact is the greatness and goodness of God who loves us better than we do ourselves and whose concern for us is far greater than our concern for ourselves. For mental well-being we must have that lessening of tension resulting from calling wrongdoing by its real name and taking it to the cross of Christ. We must judge our self in His sight. It is impossible to have in our life that which cannot be brought before His eyes without condemnation and be free from the sense of guilt which is the source of most mental illness of the functional variety.

God is concerned about the inner life of the spirit, the state of the heart, which is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” Before God we are what we are and are known in our good or evil, love or hate, cleanness or uncleanness, purity or lasciviousness, honesty or dishonesty, sincerity or insincerity, sanctity or sin. Between what we are as God sees us and knows us to be, sinners by nature, and what He has made it possible for us to be, “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints,” is a great gulf fixed by man’s sin. This gulf has been bridged by Him whose name is “Jesus: for he shall save his people from sin.”

--C.B. Eavey

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