Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Come out and help others who are ashamed.

Stigma Websters definition- a mark of shame or discredit

It seems like everyone knows it. Most people with mental illness who attend church refuse to broach the subject. Why the silence? They are ashamed.
The result is a person who suffers from one of the most painful diseases known to mankind, faces it alone and then because of this error, the devil gets the advantage.

One reason for this misplaced stigma is many in church leadership regard the roots of mental illness as moral and/or spiritual. This non-shepherding approach assumes that spiritual people do not get depressed or hear voices. This approach breeds a critical spirit. It also drives the person away from the church and discourages transparency.

The Lord Jesus Christ and a weak spirit.

Another reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to listen to what Scripture says about believers in a weakened state. It was said of the Lord Jesus in Matthew 12:20; A bruised reed He will not break, and a smoldering wick He will not snuff out, till He leads justice to victory(NIV). A bruised reed represents a person who is emotionally damaged. This emotional pain could stem from problems with assurance of salvation, it could be from a strong Satanic attack or it could be the result of a mental illness. A bruised reed is almost broken, a smoldering wick is one that is flickering and its flame is almost out; while both are "almost" destroyed, they will not be because Jesus Christ makes sure they will survive. If He is so generous to His weak ones, why should others try to break the spirit of the depressed?

God has chosen the weak to confound the wise

Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God has chosen the weak and
foolish of this world to confound the wise. The apostle Paul said that he gloried in his weakness, 2 Corinthians 12:9-11. No one really has it altogether.
We should glory that we have a vital union with Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane
A third reason for this misplaced stigma is a failure to look at the experience
of Jesus Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Mark 14:33,34- ; And He took with Him Peter and James and John, and began to be very distressed and troubled. And He said to them, My soul is deeply grieved to the point of death; remain here and keep watch . The word for distressed in the Greek is ekthambeho. It means to, throw into terror or amazement. Please notice the word is preceded by "very." He was very terrified and surprised at his suffering. The word in the NASB troubled is Ademoneo in the Greek.

Thayer who was a Greek scholar says about this word. It means to be troubled, in great distress or anguish, depressed.
This is the strongest of the three Greek words in the NT for depression
Jesus Christ was wholly God but also wholly man, the theanthropic person, the God/Man. He felt depression and like the writer of Hebrews says, He was touched by the feelings of our infirmities. He is the One who understands your suffering and He does not condemn you or blame you; Christ is not ashamed of you and your illness. Take heart; He knows.