Thursday, January 19, 2012
Why Have a Mental Illness Support Group?
We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone, (NASB (1 Thessalonians 5:13,14).
The Greek word (para-mutheomai), which is translated encourage in the above text of Scripture, is a compound word which means, to get close to someone (who knows Jesus Christ as Savior) and in a very friendly manner use narratives of Scripture to bring comfort and give hope to fellow believers who are suffering.
The word fainthearted in the New American translation is the Greek word, oligos-psuchos,which literally means small souled. The minds of mentally ill people are subject to great weakness. They possess a fractured mind, and the result is they have very very little inner resources to cope with depression, sorrow, mental illness, lack of assurance of their salvation and the like.
The need for this comfort is reflected in Proverbs 18:14, which says, the spirit of a man can endure his sickness, but a broken spirit who can bear (NASB)?
According to the great scholar, Gerad Kittel,the encouragement of the fainthearted, in the above New Testament text, indicates that comfort for the fainthearted is God’s comfort through the Christian community (Kittel, Gerhard. TDNT C.1967), Grand Rapids: William Eerdmans, See pages 816-823).
It cannot be emphasized enough that support groups for the mentally ill done in the right fashion will help accomplish the strengthening and edification of the mentally ill and their families and bring great blessings to their lives.
It is difficult for a member of church to start one of these groups without pastoral support. Please make your pastor aware of this blog.
If they are wary of the use of psychiatry, then you can show them our doctrinal statement which is available on our web sight.