Last night, CBS Evening News reported an interesting trend in this country. For the link, visit http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=50158569n. In a little over a year, there have been 11 mass shootings leaving a total of 85 people dead. Along with this find was the fact that in many of these shootings, the shooter was found to be dealing with some form of mental illness.
According to a survey from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 1 out of every 5 Americans has some form of mental illness. If we look close enough, we can find someone in our own family struggling with mental health issues. Mental Illnesses can be found in people of any age, race, religion, or income. The most common mental illnesses are depressive disorders and anxiety disorders.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness provides us with a good working definition of what a mental illness is and the different forms it takes.
A mental illness is a medical condition that disrupts a person's thinking,
feeling, mood, ability to relate to others and daily functioning. Just as
diabetes is a disorder of the pancreas, mental illnesses are medical conditions
that often result in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands
Serious mental illnesses include major depression, schizophrenia, bipolar
disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic
stress disorder (PTSD) and borderline personality disorder. The good news about
mental illness is that recovery is possible.
I am not surprised that the number of Americans being identified with a mental illness is increasing or that the number of mass shootings is at an alarmingly high rate and that its frequency is related to the mental health of the shooter.
The question we need to ask ourselves is "is the gospel powerful enough to cure the mental health patient?" The Bible would answer that question simply and emphatically with a YES! The apostle Paul said the gospel was the power of salvation to ALL men. It is not just the mentally ill person that is ill. It is ALL men. The Bible says that ALL men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. Sin is the illness we all suffer from and the illness we all need cured from. Only when we submit to God's power found in the gospel can our minds and our hearts be made right in His sight.
One good thing we can take away from the mentally ill is that in most cases, these individuals admit they are suffering and indeed do need some form of help. In relation to sin though, how often do most people say I'm a good person and everything is ok. Jesus has something to say to both types of individuals: "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."