One of the most extraordinary aspects of die zauberflote from my standpoint is the effect that it can have on anyone dealing with the traumatic issues of what we call ‘mental illness’. While that is a fair term, all things considered, it may be an incomplete one. For, basically speaking, what is a ‘mental illness’? It is a condition where a person has a difficult time distinguishing between what is ‘real’ and what is not. In fact, this is a basic condition of life — in that the earthly life we seem to take for granted is, in the most profound way, the opposite of a ‘life hid with Christ’. All of the things we tend to value in the natural are ‘as garbage’ in the kingdom of Gd. So, in fact, every Christian has to deal with a ‘mental illness’ of some sort in order to literally sort all these things out. The realization of what is truly real and what is not is given to us through the power of the Holy Spirit. It guides us so that we are not completely overwhelmed by realizing how much of our life we may have wasted chasing after false idols. That being said, it becomes inevitable that once someone is saved their life is turned upside down. The Apostle James said this is a cause for rejoicing, but that is probably not our initial reaction. However, the minute we do not rejoice we become ‘backslidden’. That is how opposite our new life in the Spirit is from our old life in the natural.
So I can look at what we call ‘mental illness’ in some respects as a division of the mind between what it once believed to be true (and still may be clinging to) as opposed to what one is now understanding to be true that is new and perhaps frightening. In the world, there is no easy solution to ‘mental illness’ without medications and other strategies. Sometimes the patient ends up quite sedated and unable to discern what their actual feelings or perhaps even thoughts are. Sometimes medication is necessary in order to help a person through a terrible gulf of despair and fear. Sometimes medications are a Godsend. For Christians, however, there are additional weapons — the Holy Spirit and spiritual warfare. As Christians, we have the legal right, guaranteed by the new covenant of The Lrd Jesus Christ to claim His lifting (nasa) all sickness and weakness from us. We can apply the blood, we can ask the Holy Spirit to heal us, and It will.
In my experience there is another aspect of ‘mental illness’ that I have yet to see anyone take into account. That is the other part of the equation — the crazymaker. These are people who will target someone they think are vulnerable and then appear to do everything they can to cause them to go over the edge. A crazymaker usually cloaks themselves in the utmost garb of respectability and caring. Any ill intent they may have for their target is usually deeply buried. Such a person must by definition be ‘sneaky’. They will tiptoe their way into the life of their prey and try to gain their confidence. They may even have an assignment on the other person’s life.
In the natural, it can be very hard to deal with a crazymaker. They may be the one making decisions for the ‘patient’. The ‘patient’ has little credibility if they realize they are being cleverly manipulated by a crazymaker because, well, the ‘patient’ is supposed to be the ‘crazy’ one. Christians, however, have resources well beyond those of the world. They can ask the Holy Spirit for discernment, and for courage. They can wage spiritual warfare and rebuke the manipulative behavior, while forgiving the person. Then Gd can change that relationship for good.
And as for die zauberflote, I have seen it turn lives upside down, cleave and divide families and relationships, burn with a righteous winnowing fire, and somehow, in the most miraculous and heartwarming manner, bring almost everyone through to a safe place. And so, when faced with any issue or difficulty on the part of anyone I know I can say with absolute confidence that “I will play the flute for you. It always helps. That is how I pray.” and know that as long as they can keep a gentle heart, all is working for good.
*M4B=Mozart For Believers