where the church gets it wrong...mental illness

I desire open, honest, and nonjudgmental communication from all people and all views and all ideas. The words of my posts are simply my own thoughts on how the church* can fully be operational in His Love.

It is all over the news this week. again. And every time, my thoughts are the same : why do we have people around us who are hopeless? We are supposed to carry the very essence of Hope within us, so what are we, The Church, doing wrong?

For starters, we are not acknowledging mental illness. I know this firsthand. (You can read about our family's struggle with mental illness and acceptance here ) We question the validity of science, and the exact causes of depression and anxiety. Science is not the enemy here. The enemy is our flagrant stubbornness to recognize the truth of many studies performed by those more qualified than I.

We offer our thoughts, opinions, and prayers, and little else in the way of actual help. Do I believe in the healing power of positivity? of prayer? of Jesus? Of course! I also believe in the power of simply being with one who struggles, of lending a listening ear, of loving all of their parts, not just the happy ones.

We stand around arguing about the whys while actual living human beings are falling through our fingers, falling through the cracks, and leaving a void in this world that shouldn't have to be. It makes me angry to know that we are failing the very people that we should be loving without measure. We are not called to always understand. We are, however, called to love.

No one should be leaving this world feeling like hope has abandoned them.
No one!

Change in this world comes through us. Each one of us can single-handedly affect the ones in our sphere, each and every day. If you have hope, share it. A simple smile can do wonders. Kind words spread. Love is a verb. Compassion is contagious.

And please, stop placing expectations on others to "know" that you can empathize, and actually be empathetic, be present, be with them. Stop asking "how are you?" as you are hurriedly passing by, setting a tone which screams "I don't really want to know", or worse, "I don't really care". Stop treading the waters of shallowness and take the time to dive into one another, into the depths of truth and real and transparency, past the fake "I'm good" and into the honest "I'm struggling".  Most people stumbling their way through depression or anxiety have a hard time believing in the goodness and love of others. It is our job to reassure them while they are in that place, not wait impatiently on the other side, seemingly unsympathetic and uncaring.

Most people aren't looking to be fixed. They are looking to be heard, and loved, and accepted.

Which brings me to my final thought on how we, The Church, can help. Let's stop trying to heal everyone through our methods and let's just love everyone with His love in us. Depression is real. Let's stop pushing it under the rug of passivity, shine the light of truth on it, acknowledge those who suffer, accept them as they are, and then love with every single fiber of our being. Love will win.

*When I say "church", I mean as a whole entity, not necessarily one denomination or actual building, etc., but as I see her, the Bride of Jesus, of which I am a part. I do not mean to condemn or judge her as an outsider, but simply to encourage her to even greater love, from the inside out. I also acknowledge my own involvement in the past (and even now) in less than stellar behavior before fully grasping just how deep and wide and far the grace and love of our Father flows. 

other posts in this series :
starbucks and jesus
loving yourself
us vs them


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