Christians and Mental Health - What Are We Afraid Of?

Cancer is a hideous disease and when Christians meet someone suffering from this illness, they will pray, serve and love them through the process.  They do not blame the victim.  Ailments of the body are prayed over and help is extended to the one suffering.

Not so with mental health issues.  I remember growing up in the church and the response to someone with mental illness often times tended to be that those people were somehow 'possessed' or allowing Satan to run rampant in their life. 

People with mental health issues are sometimes afraid to mention their suffering around other believers because of the condemnation they feel they may receive.  Depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. have often been minimized and are little discussed in the body of Christ.  In fact, I have met some who seem to act like they wish it would go away. 

Mental health and Christianity were in the spotlight recently when Pastor Rick Warren lost a son to suicide.  His son had struggled with mental illness his entire life and after a long bout with depression, ended his life.

We in the church are called to love our neighbors (Mark 12:31).  In fact loving the Lord with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and our neighbors as ourselves are considered the two greatest commandments.  So why do we sometimes fail to love our neighbors with mental illness?

What are we afraid of? 

Can God heal a mental health issue?  Absolutely.  He is a miracle working God.  However just as God does not heal every person with cancer nor does He heal every person with depression. 
Sometimes we are called to persevere.

I believe the church should be an inviting place.  A place where all those with problems, be they spiritual, physical, social, financial or mental are welcomed, loved and cherished. 

400 million battle mental illness worldwide.

God loves every one of them. 

Shouldn't we?

1 comment:

Gela said...

I agree. But I hope the church will be a place that goes a step further and also sees people healed. And sees them to be who God made them to be, rather than allowing to be defined by their illness until that day comes - even if it doesn't come until we get to heaven!