I was reading the Australian mental health website MindFrame today and came across this statement:

“Cultural background affects how people experience mental illness and how they understand and interpret the symptoms of mental illness.”

How true, I thought. I have a friend who is trying to get a Hearing Voices support group started locally, and I think Christian churches should be welcoming her. After all, our God himself told us that His sheep knew his voice and followed him and never follow another because they don’t recognize that other voice (John 10). We know how challenging it can be to know the difference between God’s voice and all the other voices that clamor for our attention — Relevant magazine just ran a feature on discerning between God’s voice and our own insistent desires.

So I’m not entirely certain that those of us who hear the voice of God (and other voices trying to overpower God’s voice) need always to get a diagnosis. Perhaps one person’s psychosis is another person’s genuinely numinous encounter.

Do you distinguish among more helpful and less helpful voices? What do you do about it?