Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Why stigma still exists in the evangelical church.


Copy right All Rights Reserved, Steve Bloem

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A key verse for today's blog is:  Romans 12:15, 16 “Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty toward one another, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation” (NASB).
 

It seems like everyone knows it; mental illness carries a stigma. Most people with mental illness who attend a church realize the stigma of having a mental illness is so great they fear telling anyone about it.  There are a number of reasons why stigma does still exist.



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 One reason is that mental illness is presented by many in church leadership as a moral flaw.  They teach that spiritual people do not get depressed or hear voices.   These depressed people are labeled, “Weak Christians”. But Scripture tells us in I Corinthians 1:26-29 that God has chosen the weak and foolish in this world to confound the wise.  The apostle Paul, said “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us” 2 Corinthians 4:7 (NKJV).

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Another reason why stigma persists is the continued use of the term ‘nervous breakdown’ to describe mental illness in our society. 

This term began to be used at the end of the nineteenth century in the United States.  It conjures up the image of women in their homes, wringing their hands, weak, laden down with sin and popping tranquilizers to calm their frazzled nerves.   The term nervous breakdown is a misnomer arising out of Freudian and neo-Freudian psychology.  Certainly mental illness has something to do with the central nervous system. But the term nervous breakdown represents a pejorative perspective on mental illness.  Mental illness is biological in its origins.  Christians cannot claim to have immunity to it.
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A third reason why stigma exists is people are ashamed to tell their church that they suffer from it.  For instance, when was the last time in a church prayer meeting that you heard a prayer request for someone who is in a psychiatric hospital? 
 If people in your church or your town would really be honest, you would be amazed how many people are being treated biologically for a mental illness.   But they will not mention it.  Instead there are whispers in the foyer about someone not being able to handle stress, a case of the nerves or some other inane comment.
 




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Thankfully, there is no stigma in heaven about it.  Millions of perfected saints in glory are praising God that the Lord Jesus Christ, through His shed blood and resurrection
has delivered them from the horrible pain of mental illness, which was feared by many more than the idea of death itself.  Matt. 5:3 tells us, “Blessed are the poor in
spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (NASV).

 

 Read our story that has helped thousands break the stigma which comes as a result of mental illness.
 Please go to the web site below.

 http://www.heartfeltmin.org/resources.html











If you would like to learn more about our support group, see the link:
http://www.heartfeltmin.org/resources.html

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