The Devil Made Me Do It?

I have a good friend in the medical field who says “I have never met a demon I can’t medicate.” He argues that mental illness is the culprit in cases like last week’s shooting – that people’s minds can be so compromised that they think committing atrocities is justifiable. Others like him agree that with counseling and the right combination of pharmaceuticals, these “demons” can be controlled.

I have other friends who believe that events like last week’s mass murder is a result of demonic activity in people. They argue that all mental illness is a result, not of a compromised mind, but of a Satanically possessed or oppressed mind.

I fall somewhere between these two. I do believe that there are people with legitimate mental illnesses that need medication and counseling and protection. I do not want to return to a time when those with mental illnesses are ostracized and left without help or care. But I also believe Satan is real and active and that he “prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” (I Pt. 5:8).  And I believe that “our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” (Eph. 6:12)

Many people think belief in Satan is primitive, ridiculous. They can accept the idea of a loving God, even a righteous God. But evil personified? They can’t accept that. But the Bible is clear in its discussion of the Evil One: he is real and active. Jesus cast out demons and called out those who were listening to this “father of lies.” The apostles dealt with demons, as well. We don’t see much overt demonic activity here in the states because, I believe, Satan finds greater victory working covertly here. But people who have lived overseas – especially in third-world countries – have seen those possessed by demons, oppressed by demons, and even enamored by demons. Satan’s goal is to keep people from knowing God and surrendering to Him. He will use whatever means necessary to achieve that goal.

I also believe, as I stated in the previous post, that people can choose to do evil. And when they do, they are responsible for that choice. No one should “get away with murder.” People should be held accountable for their actions. I understand that some need a mental facility more than a prison, but no one should be allowed to break the laws of God or man without consequences.

I’d love to hear your perspectives, your experiences. This is a tough issue. But it is one that we should wrestle with, that we should understand. What do you think?

1 Comment

  1. Jill
    Dec 18, 2012

    I agree with all of your comments. I worked in a psychiatric facility back in the 70’s when there was a change in philosophy. Instead of long-term care, people were medicated and released (often before they were ready to deal with the outside world), as there was a movement against long-term confinement. Yes, there had been cases of people confined who didn’t need to be, but the pendulum has swung too far the other way. Now there are many people walking the streets and doing harm that should not be. They would be better served in a psychiatric facility where they are supervised and cared for.

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