Every day we hear a new report about someone killing a number of people in a way that raises the question of whether the killer is mentally ill. We can’t know what goes on in the head of someone who pulls out an assault rifle and starts killing a bunch of strangers. The fact is that even innocent children have been the victims of someone who had no logical motive for shooting them. However, Christ’s teachings are key to good mental health.
Mental illness has always been an issue for humans, but the increase we have seen in recent years has not just been because of the greater availability of guns. It has also been catalyzed by poor mental health in our culture. The rejection of God and the denigration of Christianity are factors in that mental health crisis.
Read Matthew 5-7 and ask yourself why Jesus told His followers to do the things He taught them. In the first 12 verses of Matthew 5, known as “the beatitudes,” Christ’s teachings are key to good mental health. If you choose to comfort, exhibit meekness, strive for purity, show mercy, and be a peacemaker, God will bless you with stability and good mental health.
In verses 21-25, Jesus talks about relationships and the importance of not carrying grudges and long-term conflicts. Next, in verses 27-32, Christ deals with sexual issues and the importance of not looking for sex in a context that violates God’s plan for marriage. Finally, in verses 38-48, He talks about handling conflict and avoiding acts of revenge and retribution.
In Matthew 6, Christ deals with materialism and the importance of trusting God to care for our basic needs. A person who follows all that Jesus taught will be on the way to good mental health. The most common cause of mental illness is a failure to live as God has told us to live. Of course, there are other causes of mental illness, such as disease, injuries, and environmental factors, but even those causes would be reduced or eliminated if we would live as Christ told us to live.
There are multiple causes for the violence, including gun violence, plaguing America today. Hypocrisy on the part of those who claim to be Christians is part of the problem, but it doesn’t dilute the value of what Jesus taught. The fact that Christ’s teachings are key to good mental health is another evidence of the validity of Christianity and the inspiration of the Bible.
— John N. Clayton © 2023