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Insanity


Man has a heart. Not just the pump which keeps alive Man's physical body but the very core of his non-material being. Man also has a mind and that in a way stands between his heart and his body. We have to look after our bodies. They need exercise, food, drink, sleep etc. They need to be washed and cared for. However, so also do our minds. They need to be used and also rested. A change of scene may help to this latter end and also many other things as well as actual sleep. The mind and the body impinge on one another, so lack of proper food and the imbibing of alcoholic drinks and other drugs can have an effect on the mind as well as the body. Our bodies are the vehicles in which we express ourselves and communicate with others by both speech and actions. However, our minds govern our bodies and behind our minds are our hearts. "Out of the heart come forth evil thoughts" (Matthew 15:19).

Our bodies may be defective for genetic and other pre-natal reasons. They may also be defective as a result of injuries or diseases. They may also fail to function properly because they have been overloaded, say, by too much work without the necessary rest. Correspondingly our minds may be adversely affected for similar reasons. We need to look after our minds as well as our bodies. The human mind (the brain) is the most complicated structure known to Man and the number of things that can go wrong with it are correspondingly large. There can be defects in many areas. Some defects may be innate and others caused by disease or head injury.

However, we must not overlook the fact that there may be spiritual causes behind mental aberrations in some cases. When the underlying spiritual defect has been dealt with the mind may be healed. If we are right with God within, that is, our lives are rightly orientated, then we can expect beneficial effects on both our minds and our bodies; as Scripture says: "Piety is profitable for everything" (1 Timothy 4:8). God can heal the mind as well as the body. However, we cannot just assume that God will heal our minds any more than we can assume that He will heal our bodies in this life.

Scripture does not say a lot about the healing of the body, except when miracles are involved. However it does say some things. Medicine is spoken of (Ezekiel 47:12), anaesthetic is mentioned (Proverbs 31:6/7) and oil and balm for wounds are referred to (Isaiah 1:6 and Jeremiah 8:22). The Samaritan used oil and wine (Luke 10:34) - oil probably to ease the pain and wine for its disinfectant properties.

Again, Scripture does not say a lot about the healing of the mind but the idea of lunacy is found in Scripture and Christ healed lunatics whether their madness was brought on by demon possession or otherwise (Matthew 4:24 and 17:14-18).

In the Old Testament we have madness specifically mentioned in connection with David. He feigned himself mad in the presence of Achish, king of Gath (1 Samuel 21:11-15). He apparently fooled Achish which would suggest that David, among his other accomplishments, was a skilled actor ! The fact that David feigned madness would show that there is such a thing, else it could not be feigned. The kind of madness that David feigned would appear to have been that of one who is suffering from dementia.

Then there was the case of Saul. He had an intermittent form of madness brought on by an evil spirit from (or of ) God (1 Samuel 16:14-23; 18:10/11). The fact that the spirit enabled Saul to prophesy (1 Samuel 18:10) would suggest that Saul had something more than just a mental ailment. However, David's playing the harp had a beneficial effect on Saul which would


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