When I first started writing this blog, I thought the information I had could be used by others to help people with mental illness. Today, I find that I haven’t been able to do that to any great extent. Maybe it’s my style of writing. Maybe it’s really not possible for people to understand.
When I think about the portion of time I was very ill, I don’t understand it, but I do have empathy. I know I did the best I could at the time. I still think back, see myself asleep on the couch and will that person to just get up.
I wanted to get up. I prayed. I made lists. I set goals. Yet I couldn’t lift a finger to help myself.
That, I’ve written about before. What I am getting at is this: the church needs to get a strategy for helping these people, and, while it’s hard to identify with, it is possible to empathize with.
Empathy is something Jesus did very well. Matthew tells us how Jesus, “when he saw the crowds, . . . had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd” (Matthew 9:36).
If we are to reach out to mentally ill people, we should try to be like Jesus. We don’t have to understand each person’s situation. I think what needs to happen is that the church educates itself about mental illness and accept that these people have limitations that make it difficult for them to do what other people do. Also, to accept that mental illness is a disease that operates out of a physical problem in the brain.
Have you ever heard of a family who refused to get their child medical attention out of religious beliefs? When the child dies, the parent goes to jail. I attended a church that wanted me to go off my bipolar medication. I think that was ignorance on their part, but it was incredibly reckless and irresponsible.
I’m hard on the church, I know. The church does many things well. I only hope to shine a light on an area the church could do better. There is no one on the earth who can love the unlovely like Christ’s church.