Spiritual Neurosis

We have compassion on people acting badly when we understand their motivation. Not that we put up with it, but then we can respond from a spirit of love rather than from self-righteousness (which doesn’t help anybody). So if we want to speak life to a lost and dying world, it’s important to understand the difference between spiritual psychosis and spiritual neurosis. It’s important to check what’s under the hood.

I heard a pastor once (sorry, don’t remember who), explain the difference between psychotic and neurotic people like this.

A psychotic person believes 2 + 2 = 5. With all their being. They are absolutely, totally convinced. Nothing can persuade them otherwise. They have swallowed the lie hook, line, and sinker. They believe a false reality as if it were true. And they live accordingly, not understanding that the negative consequences in their lives are the result of believing a lie.

A neurotic person, on the other hand, knows 2 + 2 = 4, but they don’t like it. They really wish 2 + 2 equaled 5, and they may even pretend it does, but deep down they know it’s false. They are not friends with the truth. In fact, though they know what the truth is, they hate it for being true.

In my humble opinion, it’s the spiritually neurotic people who are the ones that get angry when sensitive spiritual subjects come up.

A spiritually psychotic atheist will just laugh at you for believing in God. Your belief won’t bother them, and they might even feel sorry for you. But a spiritually neurotic atheist will get mad at you for bringing up the subject. They’re trying as hard as they can to pretend the truth they know is true is not true, and you popping their fantasy bubble isn’t helping. They’ve spent years building that bubble, and they don’t like to be reminded about how poorly it’s working. Spiritual neurosis.

Same with abortion. The angriest pro-choicers in the room are often post-abortive themselves, trying desperately to pretend they did nothing wrong. But their wounding keeps getting in the way, and you as a pro-lifer are not helping them ignore it. Spiritual neurosis.

Often, at the core of spiritual neurosis is some degree of spiritual psychosis. We’re believing a lie that we don’t even realize we’re believing. These can be hard to weed out because we’ve believed the lie for so long it’s become a core assumption deep in our being.

The goodness of God to us is he doesn’t let those things lie there forever. Believing the lie (or pretending to) often gives us some relief from pain temporarily. But when the season comes where God wants to heal us, what worked before stops working. That’s the grace of God in our life, to get us to deal with it, go through the pain to his healing on the other side.

Does this resonate? Have you been, or are you now, going through a season where what worked before is no longer working? What is the truth God’s teaching you? Tell us in the comments or shoot us an email. And please share on Facebook if you think this would help someone else.