People are Both Complex and Simple

We Cannot Reduce People to Categories


All people are complex. There are so many layers of relationships, experiences, outside influences, and years of time that contribute to a person’s mental health. Listen as John Henderson discusses the importance of not reducing people to overly simplistic categories when trying to define mental illness. John is the Executive Director of the Center for Church Equipping at the Association of Biblical Counselors. 




Every person, regardless of where they fall on the mental health spectrum, is in need of reconciliation with God. In our complexity, our greatest need is simple.


John asserts that every person is complex. Take a moment to consider your own complexity. What are the experiences, relationships, outside influences, and amount of time that contributes to who you are? With what are you currently struggling?
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John mentioned there are many sneaky things He does to avoid God. In what ways are you avoiding God? How might you be disguising those strategies of avoidance in order to justify them?
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While people are complex, we are also simple—we each have a dire need for reconciliation with God. We each struggle in the same ways. For example, though our cravings for fulfillment manifest in different ways, simply put, we all crave fulfillment.  

In what ways are your struggles simple and universal?
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Many times, we attempt to group and place people into simple, ready–made categories. Where have you tried to reduce people to categories? Have you tried to reduce yourself to a label or categorize yourself under the heading of mental illness?
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After acknowledging our complexity, how does the simplicity of our need for a Savior bring comfort and hope?
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Does knowing that all humans are the same to God—walking in varying degrees of madness—encourage you as you consider that each one of us is on a trajectory, moving closer to God? Why or why not? How does this truth break the power of comparing oneself to others?
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How does knowing that all people are both complex and simple move you to greater understanding and compassion? What are some practical ways you can display compassion this week to those struggling in their complexity?
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Each one of us is both a complex and simple person. We are a blend of many influences, yet we all have the simple need for a Savior. May we continue to trust God to move us toward Himself, regardless of where we currently are on the journey.



To learn more about The Biblical Counseling Coalition, click here.