Saturday, November 19, 2016

The man who wanted the preacher to let him light himself on fire.

Our non-profit is doing something about the stigma of mental illness that is so prevalent in evangelical churches. We are trying to destroy any falsehoods about mental illness because 
we know Satan deceives people about the truth.  Mental illness is a disease.

 A few years ago I was preaching at a gospel mission. During the day, I also was employed by a Community Mental Health agency as a triage clinical case manager. This was when Robyn and I lived in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The congregation were a mixed group of races, colors and creeds.  Some were substance abusers, some were mentally ill. They had just finished the mission meal and now I was ready to preach. I looked out and realized these were my people. 

Image result for mel trotter mission grand rapids michigan
Mel Trotter Mission

 In the middle of my sermon, one of my clients from my triage job  stepped up to the platform with a lighter, saying, "I am going to burn myself up preacher!  What are you going to do about it?" Of course I had been trained in handling exactly these situations.  I stopped my message, immediately restrained him and plied his fingers from the lighter.  Two of the younger men took him to the back of the auditorium. 
I told them to call the mental health crisis center affiliated with my other job.  Instead, they sought for six hours to cast the demon of mental illness out of him. This was nonsense; he suffered from schizophrenia.  He should have been petitioned into a psychiatric hospital but instead he went off his medications and avoided our agency at all costs.  And then he wound up in a psychiatric hospital anyway. The young men at that mission needed to learn about what mental illness is. Schizophrenia and other mental illnesses are neuro-degenerative diseases.  The longer you go without the proper medications the worse you become. 

As a Co-founder of Heartfelt Counseling Ministries, I use various means to train people to implement social services.  Many of the incentives to performing social ministry are in the Bible. Whether it is by lecture or by meaningful discussions on current events or going into the community, we must apply the truth of the Scripture and its outcomes to the issues of every generation. This may also include going to a local mental health agency or visiting a place that provides housing for homeless persons. Mental illness is not only a personal disease, it is a disease which has costly social consequences such as suicide, time lost at work, divorce and many more problems. My wife, Robyn and I started our own ministry in 2004. We have helped many people who are mentally ill, bereaved and abusing substances.   We believe strongly in prayer and we have a new understanding of life because we know the Savior, Jesus Christ. Helping the mentally ill requires intelligence and an awareness of the biology of mental illness. A person may want to help, but like the well-meaning young men at the mission, if we don't understand the problem, how can we possibly provide the solution? 

If you would like to give an end of the year gift to enable Heartfelt Counseling Ministries to continue to help low income people access mental health care, please go to our website, and scroll down to the donate button.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to respond to my blog. I value your opinion.