I have to start with an apology. I somehow posted a draft that I had not finished instead of the one I intended. I was looking over the blog and noticed there was a lot missing, so I had to fix that error. My Apologies.
I was looking at other blogs and came across this and thought it was interesting. At work I deal with a lot of different people, many different issues, some related to physical health while others are mental health related, so I am always looking for information on all manner of conditions. Since I came back to Christ, I try to find Biblical information that can be helpful as well. See what there is scriptural that I can add to my treatment. I can’t tell them to pray or look to the Bible where I work, but if someone asks if there may be something Biblical I can offer information or send them to the Chaplain. I was reading about King Saul and though I already knew he had some significant mental health issues I started looking at them as a physician. He was bipolar and narcissistic for sure, with some significant personality disorders as well. He fits more the Paranoid type, not totally schizophrenic, but with some schizoid features. He also exhibited a lot of borderline personality as well as antisocial personality signs. He was complex for certain. Well, as I looked at Saul from a different perspective, not only as a person in the Bible, but from a medical point, it made me want to see what I could find in the Bible about that. There are many scriptures that discuss fear, anxiety, depression, far too many to list. Here is a link, hopefully it works, that I borrowed.
I don’t know if the link will work right or if you will have to copy and paste into the browser bar but in case it does not I copied the text, it has the information for the author included should anyone want to see some of his other articles. I hope someone finds benefit.
Here is a link to information on various personality disorders. Helps somewhat to put the blog post I referenced into perspective. Again, will probably have to copy and paste into browser.
mindful of grace
Where psychology, neuroscience and issues of faith intersect
Grace for the Afflicted (2008)
is a Focus on the Family recommend resource.
Matthew S. Stanford, Ph.D.
I wear many hats: husband, father, author, research scientist, 80’s music enthusiast and fantasy football fanatic. Presently I am professor of psychology, neuroscience, and biomedical studies at Baylor University where I serve as the director of the doctoral program in Psychology. My wife Julie and I live in Waco, TX with our four children, Phoebe, Caleb, Luke and Joshua.
View my complete profile
Mental Health Grace Alliance
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Personality Disorders and the Bible
► August (1)
We both love how Matthew has taken the concept of sin and given a breath of fresh air to the topic. You must read this book because in its pages you will finally gain a biblical perspective on sin and what it takes to free yourself from the bonds that so easily entangle!
Gary and Michael Smalley
Smalley Relationship Center
When mental illness afflicts a loved one, how can we understand what is happening and respond appropriately? This biblically-literate and scientifically-informed book offers helpful insight, encouragement, and practical advice. For pastors and for those who hurt for those who hurt, Matthew Stanford offers sensitive and welcome guidance.
David G. Myers, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology, Hope College and author of Psychology Through the Eyes of Faith.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
Personality Disorders and the Bible
A personality disorder is a rigid, ingrained pattern of thoughts and behaviors that deviates significantly from the expectations of one’s society. This maladaptive pattern is usually well-established by late adolescence or early adulthood and is serious enough to cause distress or impaired functioning. People with a personality disorder are usually unaware that their thoughts and behaviors are inappropriate, so they tend not to seek help on their own.
Two of the most common and troubling of the personality disorders are borderline personality disorder (BPD) and antisocial personality disorder (ASPD). These personality disorders share a number of overlapping and related symptoms including problems with emotional expression, difficulty forming stable, healthy relationships and impulsive, self-destructive behavior. You may have thought that the Bible would have little to say about personality disorders, but in fact it gives a very clear description of two individuals who shows many of the symptoms associated with BPD and ASPD. I believe that we see an example of ASPD in the description of the “stubborn and rebellious son” found in Deuteronomy 21:18-21 (and possibly Ezekiel 18:10-13) while Gomer in the Old Testament book of Hosea appears to be an example of BPD.
The book of Hosea outlines a five step process of restoration in the life of Gomer that may be effective in ministering to a person diagnosed with BPD or ASPD. Step one is to clearly identify sinful behaviors and describe the associated consequences of such behavior (Hosea 2:1-13). When ministering to the individual with BPD or ASPD, we must be honest with them about the nature of their behavior and its consequences. This must be done in a spirit of love not judgment. Step two is to not become an enabler of the individual’s sinful and extreme behavior (Hosea 2:6). This means that you are not accepting or in denial about the seriousness of the individual’s extreme behaviors. Inconsistency in your response will only make these behaviors more likely to occur. Step three is a difficult one, especially for parents: allow the individual to suffer the full consequences of their behavior (Hosea 2:7). If you or someone else constantly covers for the individual or minimizes the negative consequences of their behavior in some way (e.g., pay off debt, post bail), then the potential for restoration is greatly limited. Step four is to continually make it clear to the person that restoration and forgiveness are possible regardless of what they may have done (Hosea 3:3). In many instances this will require you to humble yourself. It is only through full submission to Christ that you will be able to offer such unconditional acceptance and forgiveness. Finally, step five is to set up appropriate boundaries. Behavior does not change overnight. Once the person has returned to the family or relationship, they will need to be guided towards healing and restoration (Hosea 3:3). Clear and appropriate boundaries will help both you and them as you guide and monitor their progress. This is a long and difficult process for both you and the person with the disorder. Reward successes and point out failures in an environment of acceptance and love.
Posted by Matthew S. Stanford, Ph.D. at 10:25 AM
Lord, I praise Your Holy Name. I thank You for my salvation and many blessings. I ask that You help those out there with health problems, physical or mental, that need help. Work in their lives that they seek You for Your ability to heal and if that is through health providers, that they get the assistance they need and that You give the providers the wisdom to provide the right treatment. I ask that You work mightily in my life, Help me better care for my patients. That I bear good witness of Christ, through my actions, and when able, through my words.
Thanks for taking a few minutes to read this. I hope something is beneficial for someone. Have a blessed day and do your best to bless someone else somehow.