Wednesday, October 8, 2014
Compassion for the Mentally Ill
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died - more than that, who was raised - who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered."
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39)
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that one in five Americans in 2010 suffered from mental illness; 5% of the illnesses were severe enough that they affected the ability of these Americans to study, work and or maintain healthy relationships.
I have friends and extended family who have suffered from various mental illnesses,and have, therefore, come to understand that it is not a quality that should bring out condemnation but rather demands compassion from the Christian community.
Parents of children who suffer from mental illness experience shame for the behavior and symptoms expressed by their children. Likewise, children whose parents suffer from mental illness carry the confusing sense that they are somehow responsible for their parents' problems. The weight of the sickness bears heavily not only on the one personally afflicted but also on friends and family of the loved one. As Solomon wrote,
A man's spirit will endure sickness,
but a crushed spirit who can bear? (Proverbs 18:14)
Whether the illness is situational or biological, God's love is not conditional. Regardless of mental state, we are loved with an everlasting love by a God who does not condemn us. Even in mental illness, nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
I pray that You would watch over my friend/family member who struggles with mental illness and those close to him/her. Be with them as they attempt to understand the illness and seek treatment. Please guide him/her and those who provide council and assistance. You are our light in darkness. Through Your love, we are more than conquerors.
In Christ's Name. Amen.
Conley, M. (2012, January 19). 1 in 5 Americans Suffers From Mental Illness. Retrieved October 8, 2014 from: http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/health/2012/01/19/1-in-5-americans-suffer-from-mental-illness/