Joy Behar has said that a Christian who claims that Jesus speaks to them has mental illness. So what about it? Is she right? Is any Christian claiming to hear the voice of Jesus (who the Bible says is God) mentally ill?
When pastoring a church in the Los Angeles area, a police officer attended our church. We will call him Jim.
Especially in metro areas it is regular procedure, because of the stress of law enforcement in the city, that officers have scheduled interviews with department psychiatrists to assess their mental health. And we can all understand this procedure. It would be very dangerous to have an officer whose mental health was in question, working in a highly stressful law enforcement scenario.
Jim had just surrendered his life to Jesus only a year before. He was a very tender and humble man and his initial response to becoming a Christian was joy and genuine appreciation for his newfound faith. And he only wanted to follow Jesus.
He went into his regular assessment time with a force psychiatrist who put him through a regular series of questions. One of those questions the psychiatrist posed to him toward the end of the interview was “Jim, do you hear inner voices?”
Jim answered, “No.”
But then he thought; I’m a Christian now…I need to be honest. So he said, “Actually, I should be honest with you. I hear God’s voice.”
The psychiatrist’s antennas immediately rose to straight up and down, caution lights went off and red flags started waving back and forth in his mind.
He asked, “Really. Well Jim, could you tell me about what it is like to hear God’s voice.”
Jim went through an explanation that he felt was honest and would certainly be understood by the professional. He talked about how he had become a Christian a year earlier and how since then he was able to sense God’s voice to his heart about what is right and what is wrong. He said it was a voice that was constantly with him and helped him to say the right things and do the right things. Jim went away from the interview feeling good about the fact that he had been honest, that the force psychiatrist understood his explanation and that he had been faithful to speak the truth and witness about the change Jesus had done in his life.
That was, until the next day when he was called into his supervisor’s office and stripped of his credentials. It was explained to him that his explanation of hearing the voice of God was consistent with symptoms related to schizophrenia and he could not be allowed to continue on the force.
Jim was in shock. However, he was not going to just roll over and accept the ruling. He immediately hired a lawyer, began fighting it and was able to get a hearing scheduled.
He came in to talk with me hoping I could help him with a truthful but correct explanation of how to answer the psychiatrists in his hearing. After his description of the conversation he had with the psychiatrist, this is what I said to him.
“Jim, you were honest and sensitive to the Holy Spirit when you answered the man the way you did. However, the man who interviewed you has no experiential understanding of what you meant when you said ‘you hear God’s voice.’ When you hear God’s voice leading you, you don’t hear the kind of voices they are concerned about. You are sensing a directional, moral or spiritual guidance from Jesus and His Spirit, much like anyone’s conscious works. You are not hearing an audible or physical voice in your head such as what they are on the alert for. So, since you don’t hear what they are looking for, you can honestly say you don’t hear voices.”
He used that explanation, won the hearing and received his badge back.
When I heard Joy Behar’s explanation about the Vice President hearing Jesus speak to him, it didn’t surprise me because I had heard it before with Jim. But it still troubles me deeply that we have media sources that are so anti-Christian they can’t even understand a person saying that they hear God’s voice to live correctly. To call it mental illness is persecution at a very high level.
Reports say that Joy Behar was raised Catholic, but now claims to be agnostic. And that explains everything. She admittedly, is an agnostic, who by definition believes nothing. How could anyone who doesn’t believe anything about God, understand how He may speak to his children. Agnostics don’t believe God is even knowable.
However, the Bible says that we can know God (Ezekiel 36:26-28). Moreover, it says that Christians have the Holy Spirit living inside of them (John 14:16-17; I Corinthians 6:19). It also says that this Holy Spirit, who is Himself God, will speak to us and guide us into all truth (John 16:13). This is a normal and accepted understanding of how Christianity works. Jesus enters our hearts at conversion and speaks to us by His Holy Spirit guiding us as to how to behave. More than a billion Christians on this planet have this understanding.
I agree with Franklin Graham who said on a recent radio show, “Every Christian in the nation should be offended and alarmed by recent anti-Christian rhetoric that was broadcast on ABC’s ‘The View,’” by Joy Behar.
I thank God I hear the voice of Jesus speaking to me quite regularly about things I should and shouldn’t do, and should and shouldn’t say; along with the other billions of us worldwide. I’m thankful because if He didn’t, I might say something as foolish and ignorant as what Joy Behar said on ABC.
I’m also so grateful for the now late Rev. Billy Graham, who said ‘yes’ to the voice of God and preached the Gospel to more than 215 million people in more than 185 countries, maintained the highest level of integrity throughout his life and has the respect of countless nations and leaders worldwide. Because of his Godly wisdom, he was an advisor to several U.S. Presidents. Dr. Graham continually maintained throughout his life that it was God’s voice to his heart that led him to accomplish all he was able to do in his 99 years on this earth.
So what’s the conclusion to all this from my humble perspective… Joy Behar is a soul for whom Christ died. Perhaps we should pray that she would find her way back to Jesus. Wouldn’t it be a hoot to hear her say someday, “I heard Jesus speaking to me?”
So, what about you, do you hear Jesus speaking to you?
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