Jesus casts out mental demons. We see an example of it in Mark 5:1-21 as Jesus restores the mind of a mentally deranged man. Of course, mental illness is not new. In fact, this story from 2,000 years ago has an eerily, familiar feel for today. Except, Jesus confronted it with the transforming, redeeming power of God.
Jesus casts out mental demons when you submit yourself to him
V.6 And when he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and fell down before him…
The main character is a man tormented by demons in his mind. He is both mentally deranged and incredibly strong. A danger to others who inflicted harm on himself. He was too strong for anyone to restrain so he was ostracized by society and left to fend for himself. And his hangout of choice was the one place no one else wanted to go…the local cemetery.
But when Jesus arrives he has a moment of mental clarity driven by hope. He rushes to Jesus and falls at his feet in an act of submission. It is this mindset, this attitude of total surrender on God’s mercy that moves His compassion. When you’ve hit rock bottom, know you’re out of options and throw yourself completely in His hands. This is when God picks you up and covers you with grace.
Jesus frees you when you recognize his authority and power
V. What do you have to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?
Demons are real spiritual beings and the direct cause of the man’s mental torment. And the demons immediately recognize Jesus for who he is, along with his authority and power. They must leave on his command. The only question is whether or not they could create any other havoc along the way.
I’m not suggesting that the mental illness we know today is all caused by demons. Or reject modern treatment methods that may call for medication and counseling.
But I am saying that the authority and power of God reigns supreme. And He is the absolute source of physical, mental, and spiritual wholeness.
The restoring presence of God’s Spirit and the renewing capacity of His word are powerful remedies as relevant today as the time of Jesus. To learn more about this from a clinical, Christian perspective, I recommend checking out books by Dr. Caroline Leaf.
Jesus casts out mental demons when you follow him
V.19 The man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him…
Jesus heals the man by commanding the demons to leave and letting them inhabit a herd of pigs that run down a hill and drown in the sea. Leaving the man now in his right mind. He begs Jesus for permission to follow him as a disciple but Jesus charges him to be an evangelist instead.
Although his desire to follow Jesus underscores the importance of discipleship for maintaining mental and spiritual wellness. Because sin surrounds us with an overwhelming oppression. To trip us. Ensnare us. And lose our way in the darkness. But when you follow Jesus he leads you towards the light. Which is the presence of God’s eternal glory.
Scripture offers a Biblical prescription for the healing of America. Healed, not fixed. Although it’s clearly broken. Because we are individually broken. And national healing is the cumulative result of individual healing on a mass scale.
Although this Scripture passage specifically addresses the covenant between God and Israel, it still offers a remedy for America. Because there is brokenness within the heart and soul of every American. And where the healing starts.
If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. —2 Chronicles 7:14
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Responds To God’s Call
God calls us into a relationship with Him. That’s what’s broken. It’s not about achieving perfection. Or following religious rules. But responding to God’s invitation for a restored relationship through Jesus Christ.
And this makes you part of a greater community–the church. Which, according to the Greek word “Ekklesia” means, the called out ones. Also, known as the Bride of Christ.
As this community grows–those who call themselves “People of God”–perhaps other name calling will decline.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Seeks Humility
Humility is other centered. Puts others first. And gives them the benefit of the doubt. It’s not thinking less of yourself, but thinking of yourself less.
Which is difficult because we’re naturally self-centered.
But it begins by acknowledging I am imperfect. You are too. And we all fall short of God’s standard. That Jesus Christ is the only one who met it. So we pause before rushing to judgement. And look for ways to extend grace.
Knowing Jesus is the perfect example of humility we should imitate.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Involves Prayer
Prayer is more than presenting your list of wants to God. It’s entering His presence to both speak and listen. Seek His will. And obey. Which also counters the natural tendency to demand our rights.
It includes personal confession and intercession. Recognizes that God is sovereign. And that prayer engages God’s power in ways that are both mysterious and miraculous.
A Biblical Prescription For The Healing Of America Requires Repentance
The people of Israel had a history of falling away from and returning to God. Repentance was the key difference between national prosperity and bondage. When Israel turned their backs on God, hard times followed. When they acknowledged their sin and turned back to God He restored them as a nation.
In the Greek, repentance means to turn from and turn to. In other words, a change of direction. Away from sin and towards God. More than an emotion, it’s an act of will. Done individually. But with a profound, spiritual impact when many people turn towards God together.
The good news is that God forgives. And change is possible. When we individually own our part. And collectively turn back to God. Perhaps then, we’ll be heading in a new and better direction.
There is healing power in active listening. I learned this from watching my Mom who was an active listening expert. She didn’t psychologically analyze, offer Dr. Phil advice and only sparingly quoted scripture references.
She mostly, simply listened. Non-judgmentally. But in a focused manner that was all in on what you were saying.
From Mom I learned that active listening…
Makes people feel valued
Provides a release valve for bottled up emotions
Is a pathway for working through problems simply by talking it through with someone who listens.
And Mom had no college education. No formal training, certifications or listening accolades. But one by one, she provided healing through a listening ear. Something anyone can do. Here’s how.
Active Listening Begins By Giving Undivided Attention
Sounds obvious, but do you?
Or are you really
just waiting for the other person to stop talking so you can start?
And while they’re talking, you’re formulating thoughts on what you plan to say. Considering solutions to their problem. Drawing from the depths of profound wisdom. Or perhaps just mentally pausing to casually observe what’s going on around you.
Listening Means…well, listening.
I know. It’s harder
than you think. Active listening takes discipline because your mind processes
information much quicker than someone speaks. So it’s way ahead of the
conversation. Waiting for their mouth to catch up. Plenty of time for it to
Calculate stock trades. Cogitate the deeper meanings of life.
Of course, you have to be intentional. Pause your thoughts. Bridle your brain. Focus, grasshopper. Or you’ll wander away from active listening to mind meandering along various thought trails of inattentiveness.
So when actively listening, make eye contact with the other person. Lean in. Perhaps even jot notes on a pad of paper. You’ll hear, understand and comprehend more effectively.
Active Listening Makes Hearing And Understanding The Priority
When listening to someone share a problem, a first inclination is to solve the problem. Provide wise counsel and guidance. Even when the other person may only want to be heard and feel empathetic understanding.
But it’s an immediate, active listening disconnect. You wanting to solve. Them wanting to be heard. The conversation is unsatisfying for both of you.
Therefore, avoid this by asking clarifying questions and summarizing what the other person says. This lets them talk through the problem. See it from different angles. Maybe even consider a different perspective.
And it keeps you on track. To say, “Yes, I am actively listening and understanding you.”
But keep in mind that people may struggle to articulate their thoughts. Especially in the midst of emotional drama. They may use words that don’t accurately describe what they really mean. Or different from how you define them.
Also, when you summarize what they just said in your own words and they agree with you, it improves the level of mutual understanding.
Active Listening Is Empathetic And Shares Stories
We all want to feel understood and like others share our pain. That’s what active listening communicates to another person.
And why it’s so powerful…so healing. It assures people what they’re going through is a shared human experience. That you are there for support.
So it’s helpful to share similar life experiences with some level of vulnerability. Confess your own mistakes or doubts. How you’ve navigated them. Come out on the other side. And lessons learned.
Although your primary mission is to actively listen. So sharing specific details is unnecessary. But be authentic and express your humanity.
In other words, here’s my experience…my takeaway…my adjustment. Assure the other person you are a work in progress. A member of the human family and fellow life traveler. But maybe there’s something from your journey that can help them on theirs.
Active Listening Is Enhanced By Spiritual Engagement
As a follower of Jesus Christ, I can invite God’s presence into an active listening encounter through prayer. And He often brings spiritual discernment, relevant scripture and stories to mind in a way that amazes me. Even better, He offers hope.
As a result, active listening lets me participate in healing the soul. But prayer engages the God who heals the eternal, human spirit. For He is the ultimate, caring listener. And the final ANSWER to every problem.
Furthermore, active listening counterbalances a talk heavy culture. And maybe if more people pursued it, we’d see more healing and understanding around the world.
And I’ll send you my article: Exaggerate to Make Your Presentations Funny. You’ll learn how to punch up your presentations with humor.
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