Right now, I’m seating in a mandatory meeting about mental health in the classroom. These meetings are a direct result of the recent school shootings. The state has mandated these training sessions in an effort to prevent these outbursts by identifying students with mental health problems.
In this recent meeting they are talking about all kinds of disorders. There is anxiety, substance, eating and other “disorders”, including psychosis and depression. The definition of a disorder is “mental illness” that affects our behavior.
As I reflect on this, I have conflicting thoughts in my mind. I have compassion for people that have real problems, but when we start labeling sinful behaviors as disorders, I cannot help but to totally disagree.
Calling sin, in all its expressions (rebellion, transgression, missing the mark, wickedness, immorality, etc.) a disorder is not only wrong, unbiblical and misleading; it is also downright dangerous and irresponsible.
An illness is something that affects our body and limits our physical activities in some form or another. Some of those sicknesses are self inflicted and some are quickly alleviated or healed by the application of medicine. The majority of illnesses, however, come to us and there is nothing we can do about it, except to wait until we are healed, or in many cases until we die from it.
Sin is not a disorder or an illness. Bad behavior (i.e. sin) is the result of our own sinful choices. We must stop blaming poverty, the society, traumas and “mental disorders” for our wickedness, immorality, drug abuse, crimes.
Blaming others (or other things) for our sin is as old as the human race. Eve blamed the serpent and Adam blamed the serpent and Adam blamed God by saying: “The woman whom you gave me” (Genesis 3:12).
This is exactly what happens when we begin to shift our own blame. Some blame society or their parents. Sooner or later the blame will ascend to our God, who created all the generations that contributed directly to our downfall.
James has something very powerful to say about all this:
“Let no one say when he is tempted, ‘I am tempted by God’; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.” (James 1:13-15).
By the way, I left the meeting halfway…