How to witness to person with severe mental illness

How do you connect with someone who has mental illness in hopes to being able to help them understand the gospel? Like someone who has rejected God and over time became mentally ill and is now on drugs and can’t even speak on any subject of importance rationally. Are they no longer accountable, or just reaping the consequences of their actions and doomed? And when they are in this irrational state, completely unable it seems to hear when someone tries to communicate the truth, is there any way we can get to the real them who is inside their head? Is there any hope of salvation for someone in this mental state?

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@gchop this is something that is near and dear to my heart.
My wife has multiple mental illness diagnoses. She has over the last 20 years been on different cocktails of meds prescribed by the psychiatric profession.
The one thing that I have learned in the last 20 years is that she still knows and loves the Lord.
Having said that their have been numerous times during a major mental breakdown where she did and said things that where totally out of character for her.
Where did these come from?
I think from her past and her environment.
We have all sinned and our fallen nature is always with us.
When she is at her worse and does things. When she recovers she has no memory or recollection of those events.
I liken it to a double minded person. When she is mentally ill she is of one mind when she is on meds and they are working she is of one mind.
Here is my observation neither mind is connected or communicates with the other.
Their mind can get so scrambled that they are unable to think as a non mental illness person. I refrained from the word normal because in today’s world normal seems to be what ever the individual deems as normal so it has lost its true meaning.
When my wife was in her irrational state her world and reality was no where even close to yours and my reality. She was totally unresponsive but she was still reachable. In my wife’s case she had no control over her life and the pain she sometimes had dealing with. Another issue and another topic.
She would be so overwhelmed that she would shut down and create her own world. Where she was in control. I saw this over and over again. Even to the point where her actions were physically destroying her. She needed to be in control. In these instances she refused food, water and meds. In one instance she went from a size 16 to a size 7 in less than six weeks. Her doctor called me very concerned about her organs shutting down and her overall wellbeing . I signed an order to force the meds on her. Her doctor informed her in her total breakdown mental state that her meds were going to be administered via injections she had no say in the matter.
All of a sudden she started eating and drinking and taking her meds.
So this just showed me that she still knew what was going on and knew what her actions were causing to herself. She had just lost her desire to care. She needed to have some illusion of being in control. When that illusion was taken away she reverted back to the real world.
So yes they know what’s going on around them their mental state just has them not caring and ignoring the real world and being in control of their own world.
When this person you are referring to was healthy they rejected the Lord. That is fact. The Lord gave him over to his own mind. I am reminded of the king in Daniel the Lord had him with the wild animals. He also restored him.
I am reminded of this everytime I am with my wife. I do not know if her mental state is demonic or not.
I do know that the Holy Spirit can still minister to her.
In this person’s situation we really do not know nor can we understand their mind.
Only God can so all you can do is lift them up in prayer and let God do the rest.
If they are a friend then be a friend to them. You may think they are not rational but my experience has shown me that they know what is going on around them. Just for them as my wife has explained to me when I am in my reality your reality is not real and my reality is. So her realities are flipped.
So yes there is hope for their salvation even in their so called mental state. It is in the Lord’s hands always has been always will be. It is their choice to accept or reject the Lord. They have chosen to reject.

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Hello, @gchop. I think this is an incredibly important question. I love that you are asking this, because in the Bible we see Jesus caring for those in mental anguish–whether or not it was because of sin or demonic forces–so we know that we are to share in his heart for people with mental illnesses. As someone who has studied in a human services major under social workers who worked with all kinds of mental illnesses, I also served in a practicum working with people that had various mental illnesses. In addition to that, worked as a nurse’s aid where I dealt with people with different issues, from rape trauma to truly delusional states to mental handicaps. There are times someone is aware of what is going on around them (when it appears they are not), and there are times when someone absolutely is not aware. There is a difference between someone whose unhealthy defense/coping mechanism is being triggered (escaping into their own world) and someone who is truly delusional and cannot tell reality apart from delusion. Because these things are different in nature, we cannot set up one case or experience as a standard of judgment. I think it is important to not make any assumptions we are not trained to make (even the trained would struggle to answer some of these questions and would have no way of truly knowing the answers). But what we can know absolutely is that God sees all that is going on inside that person. We know that God wills that none should perish. We know that what is impossible for people is absolutely possible with God. As long as that person is living, there is hope. I would persist in prayer, and if it is safe and you are able, I would sit and read the gospels to this person whether it seemed s/he could hear/understand or not. Because we just never know. We have no idea whether or not God has willed to use this state of mind–this absolute rock bottom state of being–to reach him/her with the light of Christ.

I hope this is helpful to you. My heart goes out to you and this person, and my prayer is that looking to a God who knows all, sees all, cares for all–gives you hope in Him as you pray for this individual.

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I love this honest response. Thank you. I have a son who is biopolar and he gave his life to Christ. We are praying he will get back on his meds.

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There is always Hope,

You need to be strong and try to guide this lost soul, as in Mathew 11.28 come to me, all you are weary and burdened, and i will give you rest.

Try to understand what has caused this possible self destructive path? Drink and drugs are usually used to avoid traumatic or mundane boring daily life. Life has a purpose, but boredom and lethargy can change peoples perception, who then seek solace or excitement in alcohol and recreational drugs.

They will not be receptive to any suggestions whist under the influence of drink or drugs and will possibly deny the need for help when briefly sober.

The reason for their abusing substances could be numerous, but the solution is to find out why, is it boredom, a relationship break up, loss of employment etc. And the solution… is to distance them from the reason, so give them purpose, find them a job, go to a gym, or simply bring them to church, let them see how wonderful it is to interact with good people.

Hope this helped stay storng and God bless

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The Holy Spirit will lead and guide you. There are so many variables. Are they under the influence of drugs? Manic? Also mental illness bout? Type?

Rely on the LORD Jesus will be key to what and when you can speak. He promises to give us words. The Holy Spirit will give us His words.

Just pray. In your prayer language. If you don’t have this gift. Ask God for it. Which is in 1 Cor 11 and 12. The Holy Spirit loves that soul. Also, pray against demonic strongholds binding them when you discern them. Ask God for discernment. He will tell you.

In Luke Jesus said He gives us all authority over scorpions and serpents, and all authority of the Evil One

We have one friend in Methadone Therapy. He gave his life to Christ 5 or 6 year ago. This was after my Christian sister’s ten year neighborhood relationship. But at a Christian Film Festival, he went up to receive Jesus as his LORD and Savior. My sister learned to speak with him when he wasn’t high or ‘Joansing.’ God will give you wisdom. God is in charge. He is able to save.

But I have seen someone accept Jesus in a Jamaica Plains, NY church while drunk as a skunk. This guy came in off the street and by the end of the prayers. And prayers over him for deliverance. He was sober.

So just put it in Jesus hands. He knows. He rules. He saves.

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