People today often look for secular approaches to mental health instead of a spiritual ones. Despite this skeptical climate, I challenge parents to listen when I say that reading and applying Scripture leads to healthy thinking.
In my experience at Shepherds Hill Academy, the Bible has proven itself to be effective in transforming lives and bringing mental and spiritual wholeness to our students.
How Scripture Leads to Healthy Thinking and Spiritual Wholeness
In the midst of celebrity psychologists and other secular approaches to bringing help to troubled teens, the program at Shepherds Hill Academy continues to be a testimony to the effectiveness of Scripture to bring healing. The words of this book continue to bring wholeness to troubled teens and families from all over the nation and the globe. You may be thinking that the healing that happens at Shepherds Hill Academy is simply a product of our counselors and their therapeutic approaches, but I give the majority of the credit to the effectiveness of the Word of God. Our counselors simply follow the wisdom and truths of the Bible—the same wisdom that has been teaching people how to live and think in a good and healthy way for a few thousand years. Scripture shows us what whole and righteous thinking looks like. The Bible not only reveals the psychology of humankind, it also shows the redemptive plan of God. This book not only teaches how how think correctly, it also teaches us how to “be” correctly.
You could call the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) the scriptures of mental health professionals. For them, this manual is a guide to finding good and healthy thinking. Unfortunately, if trends in the mental health field continue, being a Christian could be identified as a mental disorder in the DSM in the future. Right now, some people in the secular mental health field would argue that a Christian’s belief that Scripture is the ultimate authority on truth is evidence that he or she is not engaging in healthy or good thinking. The DSM is humankind’s effort to form an ultimate authority on truth in the mental health field. It is flawed, however, and it is modified from time to time. Just one example of this is when homosexuality was changed from being categorized as a mental illness in the DSM in the early 1970s. The DSM does not consider moral or spiritual factors, but these things are crucial for bringing up children and living wholesome lives. Sin is not addressed in the DSM. Fortunately, Scripture addresses it thoroughly! The Bible has effectively shown itself to be the ultimate authority on truth through the years, not just relating to mental wellness, but also to every other aspect of life. There’s no point in giving up on it now!
Shepherds Hill Academy would probably be like any other academy or therapeutic center without the influence of Scripture. I don’t mean to turn this into an advertisement for Shepherds Hill Academy, but I will willingly make this an advertisement for the Bible. I believe wholeheartedly that the miraculously changed lives that we see again and again at Shepherds Hill Academy are the result of our resolute dedication to the Word of God—His Word in text: the Bible; His Word in revelation: The Holy Spirit; and His Word in flesh: Jesus Christ. The actual text of His Word, the Bible, gives us tangible instructions and provides accountability that assures us that God is guiding us in the correct path with our students and their families. If we have been guided to solutions that deviate from the popular theories, they have proven to be the right moves in the end. In these instances, it has seemed that Scripture was correct, and the DSM was incorrect. We have even heard secular professionals in the mental health field acknowledge it! They acknowledge this because there is sound science behind it. Time and time again, popular psychology changes its tune when a new scientific discovery is made in regards to a mental health issues. When popular psychology and science actually do settle on the truth, Scripture had already arrived at the same conclusion long before. So while some may think that the Bible is dangerous, it is only dangerous if people are applying it in a dangerous way or not applying it at all. Cars are quite dangerous, but when we take the plunge and learn how use them in the intended way, they improve our lives. Scripture works in a similar way.
Picture provided by: Nick Youngson