by Bob Wilkin
When I was a student at DTS, Dr. Walvoord, then the President, commented in chapel about the problem the seminary had of students who had major moral problems. A student had been arrested that week and it was widely known on campus. Dr. Walvoord said something close to this: We give extensive psychological testing of our applicants. About 2% of the students we accept are men of very high aptitude but who nonetheless show the high possibility that they will experience serious moral problems. We as an administration believe in giving people a chance to overcome their backgrounds and their problems.
From time to time I’ve spoken with believers who suffer from depression, anxiety, PTSD, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, and much more. I am not a counselor. I tell them to do the obvious things like getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, being a part of a solid Bible-teaching church where people pray for you, personal prayer and Bible reading, etc. But I also tell them to realize that they are not like everyone else.
The emotionally damaged, and I consider myself in this category, having grown up in an alcoholic family, do not start the Christian life where everyone else does. They start with a large deficit. To make matters worse, many with emotional scars actually have inflated expectations about what they should be doing in life. Perfectionistic standards pull them down a lot.
I encourage such people to lighten up on themselves. They should realize that it pleases God if they can manage to live a godly life in spite of the problems that plague them. They don’t need to be some famous Christian. They just need to please God with their day to day living.
Lordship Salvation is not good for anyone. But that is especially true of those with serious emotional scars. I’ve found that the emotionally troubled love Free Grace Theology. In many cases they become cheerleaders for the grace of God. Like a beggar who found the source of bread, they love to tell others that everlasting life is free gift received by faith alone in Christ alone.
I realize that Lordship Salvation people charge that we have changed the saving message to make it easy for bad people to be saved (or at least, according to Lordship Salvation, to think that they are saved). But the truth is, Lordship Salvation has changed the saving message because they are concerned about people in our churches who have serious moral problems. Their solution is to raise the bar, making it harder to be born again so that the quality of people in our churches goes up. But legalism does not produce righteousness. It produces backbiting and hostility (Gal 5:15-26).
The Free Grace position exalts the message of John 3:16. If that is too easy and too cheap for most people, then so be it. We find the words of our Lord Jesus to be wonderful, and saving! And we find in His teachings the power to overcome our emotional baggage.
If you are emotionally damaged, I’m sorry. It hurts. Daily. I pray for you that you overcome your pain. The Lord Jesus loves you. He gave His life for you. If you believe in Him, then you know that you have everlasting life that can never be lost. While you may have lots of challenges in life, the Lord Jesus will never let you down. He will never leave you or forsake you. Fall more and more in love with the Lord Jesus and your emotional difficulties will become more manageable.