Renowned Ivy League professor of psychology William Kirk Kilpatrick wrote in his 1983 book Psychological Seduction, "However good-intentioned and however nice, it is not at all clear that the psychological establishment knows how to help. Everywhere there are dark hints that the faith doesn't work. Despite the creation of a virtual army of psychiatrists, psychologists, psychometrics, counselors, and social workers, there has been no letup in the rate of mental illness, suicide, alcoholism, drug addiction, child abuse, divorce, murder, and general mayhem. Contrary to what one might expect, in a society so carefully analyzed and attended to by mental health experts, there has been an increase in all these categories. It sometimes seems there is a direct ratio between the increasing number of helpers and the increasing number of those who need help. The more psychologists we have, the more mental illness we get; the more social workers and probation officers, the more crime; the more teachers, the more ignorance. One has to wonder at it all. In plain language, it is suspicious."
In stark contrast to the modern therapeutic model, pastor George Grant describes what he calls "the Gerasene Paradigm" for helping the mentally ill. In one of his books on homelessness entitled Dispossessed, Grant describes Jesus' interaction with the Gerasene (or "Gadarene" in some translations) demoniac as a pattern for helping the homeless, jobless, and mentally ill:
"Rather than feeding the problems of the Gerasene after the manner of modern psychology, He confronted them head on. He confronted the demons that had long haunted the man, and exorcised them (Mark 5:8-13). But He didn't stop there. He cut to the heart of the dilemma, to the root of the problem that opened the man up to possession in the first place.
Whenever fallen men flee from their God-given responsibilities, they devolve into a vulnerable unreality. The farther they get from Him, the deeper they slide into a dark fantasy world of destructive behavior patterns.
All men are aware of the reality and presence of God (Rom. 1:21). They are aware of His impending wrath against sin and its perpetrators (Rom. 1:18). And they are aware of His Law, extending even to the penal particulars (Rom. 1:32). This awareness is woven into the very fabric of reality: in the warp and woof of creation (Rom. 1:20) and in the very consciousness of the human mind (Rom. 1:19).
Men cannot get away from this central reality, the reality that undergirds all sanity. But they try, anyway. They run from the truth of God by running from the world and running from themselves. Thus they become irresponsible, destructive, and suicidal (Prov. 8:36). They open themselves up to oppression and possession (Prov. 1:10-18; Eph. 2:1-3; 1 Tim. 4:12).
This was the Gerasene's root problem. He had run from his responsibilities to God and his responsibilities under God in order to escape from the inescapable. In the process he had been taken captive by demons and driven to utter insanity. Jesus knew this and acted accordingly.
The man wanted to continue his life of irresponsibility by tagging along with Christ's entourage. Long 'dead' to his family, having followed a downward spiral of depravity and derangement to the tombs, he now wanted to perpetuate that revolt against maturity. Under the cover of religious devotion he wanted to proceed unabated with his frivolous, devil-may-care, unreliability.
Jesus refused his request.
Instead, He prescribed a simple, yet comprehensive, rehabilitation program for the man. First, he was to return home and take up his responsibilities. And second, he was to bear testimony of the grace and mercy of God.
The Word of Christ had freed him of the demonic enslavement. It had brought him to his senses, returned him to his right mind, and reoriented him to reality. But as miraculous as that first step was, it was only the first step in the Gerasene's recovery.
He needed to be rehabilitated through the discipline and routine of family life, through the reinforcement and encouragement of community life.
And he needed to comfort others as he himself had been comforted, by the Word of truth."
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