Christians and Mental Health - How Should The Church Respond?

What should the church be?

The church should be a place where it’s OK to struggle with depression.
The church should be a place that’s home to the recovering and the relapsing addict.
The church should be a place where leaders can have faults and not be afraid to share them.
The church should be a place where we’re not afraid of pain.
The church should be a place where condemnation is replaced by redemption.
The church should be a place where love becomes an action verb.
The church should be a place where people with mental health issues feel loved and cared for.

In fact, the church should build up their knowledge on mental health issues. The church should understand the symptoms and make themselves aware of the resources available in their community.  

A few years back I took a 10 week course that dealt with various kinds of mental health issues and it was an eye-opening experience.  My whole view was shifted in so many ways.

What should the church be?

It should be a place where love prevails.  

I have seen that love in church after church around the world.  I have seen the love of God displayed over and over to those in need.  

Sadly, I have also seen the opposite.  

I find myself reflecting on how Jesus would respond to someone in pain.  Of course we have numerous pictures of how Jesus ACTUALLY did respond.

Jesus healed the sick.
Jesus called people to the Father.
Jesus spoke to the need and provided living water.
Jesus forgave.
Jesus loved.

Not only did Jesus love but He also told us to love one another. (John 13:34)  That is how the church should respond to people with mental health issues.

By loving one another.


Unknown said...

I think that all too often people look for the easy way out, the easy answer, "Sally is mentally ill then something must be wrong with her faith, or she is just looking for attention" etc. This requires no thought or empathy or compassion by the one passing judgement. Therefore it requires the judgement passer to not have to do anything while allowing them to maintain their illusion of being "a good person" and following in Christ footsteps.

RDA said...

Good points.

I see Jesus as actively engaging the hurting and not taking the easy way out.