A New Approach to Mental Illness in the Church
We must stop ignoring mental illness and start graciously offering hope
I cannot agree more. This is an amazing blog by Ed Stetzer. When I travel and speak on these issues in the church world I hear from so may pastors, leaders and parents that they are just unprepared to deal with mental illness in a Christian context.
I was unprepared to deal with mental illness, and by my actions, I almost denied that it is even real. Of course, I would have been prepared for any number of other forms of illness. If someone had come to my church with a broken leg, I would have recommend they go see a doctor. For virtually any other illness, I would have said the same.
It is common practice in churches, however, to treat mental illness differently. We immediately assume there is something else, some deeper spiritual struggle causing mental and emotional strain.
The fact is that mental illness and spiritual struggle can be (and are) related. We are not separate things, we are complex people—remarkable connected in spirit, soul, body, mind, etc.
But, let me be direct here: if we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse. I know those are powerful and pointed words, but I believe them to be true. Please, don’t miss them.