Mike Novotny - Is Mental Illness a Sin?
What passages can I turn to for mental illness? And is mental illness sin? Let me start with the second question. Mental illness is not a sin but it is a result of having sin in the world. Alright? So if there was no sin, would we battle depression? And anxiety? And things that just cripple us mentally? The answer would be no. When Jesus comes back and the world is made perfect, there will be no physical illness or mental illness. Is it a sin if you battle depression or anxiety? The answer is no. But you need to know that when you're in that state of mind, like it is very easy to sin. And I know so many people in our church know this really well. It's so easy to doubt God's promises and his love, his power, his plans for us.
So where do you turn to when you're in a really depressed spot or you're really anxious about something in your life? My best answer would just be this. When we look inside of ourselves, we see a lot of imperfections. We see a heart that sometimes trusts and sometimes doesn't. But when we open this book, we find so many good passages about God's promises to us. And I want to encourage you, like even if in the moment something in you is doubting it, just like stay connected to it. Allow God to speak to you. And allow people in your life to speak those same passages to your heart.
A great passage like 1 Peter 5 speaks specifically about anxiety. I love this one. It says, "Cast all your anxieties on God because he cares for you". Which to me is the perfect passage. It's not like, alright, there's the law: Cast all your anxiety on God. Give it to God. Let go and let God. But the passage doesn't end there. Because God knows about the gospel. Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you. Just meditating on stuff like that, like God still cares for me. After all the junk I've done, he still cares about me. He cares about my finances, he cares about what I'm anxious about, he cares what makes me depressed, he cares about my drinking, he cares about my marriage, he cares about my kids, he cares about our country, he cares for me. And passages like that kind of snap us out of our own thinking and remind us how big and caring and loving and forgiving God is.
So is mental illness a sin? No. What passages can I turn to for mental illness? Read the Psalms, I would say, because there are tons, I think David, I think he battled depression. He gets really low in the Psalms and they're really honest and they're really going to resonate if that's your kind of mental spot in life. But he finds so much hope in the power of the promises of the love and forgiveness of God. So when I meet with people who are depressed or anxious, I basically say, you know, read a Psalm a day. In the morning, before you go to bed at night, you're going to find some great food for your soul in the book of Psalms.