Every struggle has a context and is influenced by its context. For example, Attention Deficit Disorder is influenced by many environmental factors: (a) modern education model of extended, lecture-based classes, (b) increased exposure to high-stimulatory technology, (c) growing parenting culture that de-emphasizes discipline, (d) diets filled with more sugar and caffeine, etc…[1]

Certain environments allow for optimal development, especially during the childhood and adolescent years when key changes in cognitive, social, and emotional formation are occurring. If an individual’s environment is unhealthy during these seasons, the challenge of responding to life in a healthy way, or valuing what “healthy” would entail, is made much more difficult.

There are not only developmental influences of environment, but also stress influences. At any age the presence of real or perceived threats in one’s surroundings will trigger a series of physiological responses in the body and brain. “The stress response” has numerous, well-documented adverse influences upon an individual’s physical and mental health.

Many more examples could be given about environmental influences on mental health, but these serve the purpose of illustrating the point well enough for us to appreciate the gospel-implications for environmental causes or influences on mental illness.

  • Scripture recognizes the validity of our environment’s influence upon our choices and emotions (various Bible narratives and psalms have too many references to significant environmental influences to list).
  • God calls His people to be salt and light in environments in need of redemption (Matt. 5:13-16).
  • God also allows, even commands at times, individuals to remove themselves from toxic environments (Matt. 7:6).
  • God warns us against automatically interpreting unpleasant circumstances as punishment (Matt. 5:44-45).
  • God promises to be with us in the midst of hard circumstances (Heb. 13:5-6).
  • God knows and can sympathize with us whatever our circumstances (Heb. 4:14-16).
  • God calls his church to be His body to care for individuals who are in difficult circumstances (Rom. 12:9-13).


[1] I am not trying to say that ADD is purely caused by environmental influences. I am using environmental examples because that is the subject of this section.