The other day at work I was informed of a situation where a patient was deemed psychotic because she was “waging war against spirits that were coming to attack her baby”. I might not have the whole story, but in summary she was found praying in her own language (which was perceived as talking to herself/hearing voices), screaming and sitting on the floor and telling the staff to leave her alone. After this ‘episode’ she remained calm and told them that they wouldn’t understand because they aren’t Christians.
This really took me aback because the patient then had to consult a psychiatrist to evaluate her mental state and was placed on 1-to-1 observation. I was bothered by the whole situation because all too often I have seen this display of ‘spiritual warfare’ in the Christian community: at our fasting sessions, at devotions at home, or in the midst of a church service. At most it may seem a little dramatic, but never psychotic.
As Christians, we believe in the spiritual world. We are affected by other aspects of this life that happen in another realm. There is no way as a Christian that you don’t believe in the spiritual world. There are good spirits and there are bad spirits: 1 John 4:1 “Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.” It is all over the scriptures, and that’s why we pray. We pray so that God will protect us from the evil one - the evil spirits that has been dispersed on earth that are committed to cause our downfall. So, are we psychotic because we believe this?
It hits close to the heart when you hear of a possible display of faith being called psychotic and requiring evaluation. Is this why as Christians we don’t tend to be too quick to talk about faith because we fear how it will be perceived? I couldn’t help but imagine how many times before coming into work I have prayed for protection and covering. I can’t tell how many times I used anointing oil to cover myself and my belongings. I can’t count the number of times that I have been walking around in my room or the halls of the hospital praying. Would people also think I’m crazy?
Jesus was perceived as crazy for his teaching and miracles. Countless others in the Bible were also considered strange or crazy for their belief in God. So, if we are considered crazy for our beliefs, I guess we are doing this faith thing right. It is hard to be isolated, when we all just want to feel like a part of a group. Let us pray for our fellow Christians who are doing what God has called them to do. Let’s pray for each other’s strength that we won’t be afraid to be different, even if people may think we are crazy.
Ashea West is a Doctor of Medicine, which she recently completed after studying in Grenada and New York. She is from Manchester, Jamaica and had left her hometown to chase her dreams in the medical field. She is passionate about sharing the gospel, using whatever opportunities she is given. “I do believe in blooming wherever I am transplanted”.