Spiritually Insane

Bill Brittenham
Columbia, S.C.

Physical insanity comes about when a person becomes unable to cope rationally with the world around him. We might simply say he is not capable of dealing with reality. He might become violent. He might withdraw from all contact with the "real world." Or he might display several other "character disorders" that allow him to feel secure in a world in which he cannot "normally" survive.

But have you ever thought that we live in a world of spiritually insane people? Most people you meet are not able to cope with sin in a real way. This does not mean they do not have the mental capabilities to deal with sin, but are just not able to handle it realistically. Consider the man who becomes "violent" when you try to reason together with him about life and godliness. Or what about the person who expresses a "total disregard" for his soul because the soul is some "nebulous theological absurdity?" Do not forget the pathetic soul who requires his "security blanket" or denominationalism to soothe his troubled mind. These people fit the textbook definitions of the insane when applied to the spiritual.

What is necessary for the cure of the insane person? Physically, the cure involves a long, slow, patient climb back out of the unrealistic calm into the gray light of reality. It involves teaching the person the skills and equipping him with the tools to rightly handle him and the "real world." Is not this the same cure offered by Christ to those who are spiritually insane?

Paul tells us the equipment that is necessary to handle sin realistically (Eph. 6:13-18). We also learn of the skills required to keep sin in its place (2 Tim. 2: 15-16). We are better prepared to fight spiritual insanity than all the world is to fight physical insanity. We have the Great Physician to heal us. (Read Matt. 9:10-13 in light of this thinking).

Just as in the world there are many false remedies and magic potions which are of little or no help in curing the ill, so in the spiritual realm we find all sorts of false claims and "security blankets" to pacify the troubled, instead of curing him. Why be satisfied with your pathetic state? Learn from the Teacher how to handle sin in a realistic way, for in so doing you will free yourself from the chains of spiritual insanity.

November 16, 1972