Let’s face it… The Christian church/church organizations, at least in my experience, is inherently terrible at combating mental health/mental illness and suicide; I mean they rarely acknowledge its existence. I mean I get that it’s a touchy subject, but MY GOD… can we touch it a little bit? Can we act as if we aren’t blind to the millions of people in the nation and the world who struggle with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and many other mental health & mood disorders? Can we possibly include that in the things that we seem to love to pray and intercede for? Or would that be too difficult?
How about a more direct approach… like making it a requirement that pastors and other leaders within the church (or church organization) know how to counsel and love on people who struggle with mental illness and suicide ideation? Or would that be too difficult?
I can’t imagine how many people who struggle with mental health issues and suicidal thoughts have intentionally or unintentionally been mishandled (to understate it severely) by pastors, leaders, members of the church, and people in general who call themselves Christians due to mental health and suicide not being on the agenda of the church in the grander scheme of things. Based on that it’s no wonder why people go somewhere other than to God/His people/the Church to help them deal with anything they might be going through at any given moment. As a Christian, and this is just my own experience, I can honestly say that the church is NOT the first place that I believe that I can go to when I am going through a depressive episode. Not without being judged or feeling dismissed like how I’m feeling at that moment doesn’t actually matter. Not without getting the “Oh, its just the season” or “Every goes through it at some point” or “It will be ok just keep praying.” And it’s unfortunate because I’m sure that there are countless other people who feel the same way… and uhh.. IT SHOULDN’T BE LIKE THAT!!!
It’s impossible for a people who claim to believe that God can do all things and that He is a healer but has seemingly forgotten about people who deal with mental illness and suicidal thoughts… or worse, that they brought it on themselves and can therefore fix it themselves with a little more prayer and worship… Cause here’s the truth of the matter, church…. Even if YOU don’t have a heart for those who are attempting to battle this thing called mental illness, GOD does have a heart for them.
I can’t really think of a palatable reason why one in the body of Christ would ever neglect to pray for, care for, and love on people who are struggling with mental illness and suicidal thoughts. We can’t sing stuff like “break my heart for what breaks Yours” without realizing that it BREAKS GOD’S HEART to see his sons and daughters not being able to live freely and worse, not wanting to live at all. It’s 2015, and it’s PAST the time where we should be not be aiding in adding to the stigma and prevalence of mental illness and suicide, but aiding in ending them by extending our hearts and hands in love, along with God, to those in need. Or would that be too difficult?