Sunday, April 22, 2012

Why Should a Born Again Believer Minister to those with Mental Illness?


I have on numerous occasions used this blog to promote how difficult it is to be mentally ill in many societies. It does not matter if you live in the U.S.A., Australia, Japan,France, Burma (Myanmar) Pakistan, France, Kuwait etc. This blog is visited by many different countries. People are looking for answers.

A psychiatrist once said to me when I was in a deep and long depression, you should consider yourself blessed, you have one of the "lighter" mental illnesses. I was dumbfounded! Mental Illness is a great burden which many have to bear. You have to have a taste of it to really understand it. Scripture bears this out. Proverbs 14:10 says, The heart knows its own bitterness; And a stranger does not share its joy. It is very important that we give priority to helping those with Schizophrenia, Bipolar disorder, Panic disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Major Depression Recurrent, Post Traumatic Stress disorder and more.  In this blog I want to explore God's view on ministering to the mentally ill. So then,

Why Should a Born Again Christian Minister to the Mentally Ill?

First, because mental illness is one of the most devastating diseases which are known to man and often results in poverty.

It often results in poverty. People lose houses, jobs, wives, husbands, and children because of a major mental illness. It is not their fault, it is the disease.  The Bible speaks of the poor having a special place in the heart of God. You should read the following Scripture: James 2:1-13; Proverbs 14:31 states, He who oppresses the poor taunts his Maker, But he who is gracious to the needy honors Him. We can learn something from the words of our Lord Jesus about the Scripture which speaks of His judging of the nations of the world.

"But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. “All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. "Then the King will say to those on His right, 'Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat ; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink ; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'
Matthew 25:32-40.

True Biblical love produced by the Holy Spirit is a love that is compassionate to the poor and oppressed and sick.  The mentally ill fit into these categories.

A Second Reason is because the mentally ill are a bruised reed and a smoldering wick.  The Lord Jesus Christ will not break them or allow their faith to be snuffed out.

Isaiah 42:1-4-Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry out or raise His voice, nor make His voice heard in the street.  A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coast lands will wait expectantly for His law.

The Lord Jesus who is God is coequal with the Father and the Holy Spirit in all His attributes.
He was and is also a man. Here in Isaiah He is the suffering Servant, the Messiah, the God/ Man.
It was said of Him in Scripture that He had the Spirit of God without measure.

Suffering Christian you will not fail because this Savior who died and now lives is the One who assures you will never be without faith. This Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, has stooped to conquer and unlike man, He will not be disheartened in regards to insuring your victory in Him though you are almost crushed and have only a flicker of the flame of faith.

If you would be like Jesus Christ, if you would be an imitator of God, then do not blow hard ( on these weak, almost crushed Christians.

A Third Reason is because the mentally ill have a deep and pervasive pain which often results in suicide.

God recognizes the special nature of this pain. Proverbs 18:1-- The spirit of a man can endure his sickness, But as for a broken spirit who can bear it?

I remember reading a review about our book, Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It where the reviewer said that the book was rather violent. I am guessing he was talking about our honest treatment of suicide which is the largest chapter in the book.

As one who has stood at the coffin of my older sister who killed herself, violence to self can be a reaction to depression. Statistics tell us that 15% of people who have a major depression successfully commit suicide. As Christians we should do all we can to stop this violent, sinful, reaction. I know that when I am in a deep depressive episode, suicide becomes a temptation.  Why? It is because it is the final movement away from the intolerable psychic pain of  depression, mania and psychosis.

If you run rough shod over these people then you will have to answer for it before the bema seat of Christ.\ These are just a few reasons why every church and every pastor should be equipped to minister the the mentally ill.