It was a great line that the King of Gath used when David was brought to him and pretended madness. “Do we have a lunatic shortage that you felt the need to bring this fellow to me?” was the content of the statement. It is funny and it cuts to the heart of so much of our life together. Mercy towards the mentally ill seems to have been a cultural trait in the neat East at the time of David which is why he acted as he did before the King.
Be merciful to me, my God,
for my enemies are in hot pursuit;
all day long they press their attack.
2 My adversaries pursue me all day long;
in their pride many are attacking me.
3 When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.
4 In God, whose word I praise—
in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can mere mortals do to me?
5 All day long they twist my words;
all their schemes are for my ruin.
6 They conspire, they lurk,
they watch my steps,
hoping to take my life.
7 Because of their wickedness do not[c] let them escape;
in your anger, God, bring the nations down.
8 Record my misery;
list my tears on your scroll[d]—
are they not in your record?
9 Then my enemies will turn back
when I call for help.
By this I will know that God is for me.
10 In God, whose word I praise,
in the Lord, whose word I praise—
11 in God I trust and am not afraid.
What can man do to me?
12 I am under vows to you, my God;
I will present my thank offerings to you.
13 For you have delivered me from death
and my feet from stumbling,
that I may walk before God
in the light of life.
This is the Psalm that David composed after this incident and Luther had an affinity for it when he was confronted with enemies on ever side. He watched as their frustration against him turned to rage and a kind of madness. Luther realized that the rage of foes was really rage against God and that as long as he relied on the Word of the Lord and set the Gospel foremost he could not be destroyed.
This all begs the question however, as to why, in our modern culture to be psychotic and delusional is a right to be protected, rather than an illness to be treated. How do mercy providers deal with that reality? Can they?