Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Responsibility to the Sick in Spirit



Responsibility to those who are 
Sick in Spirit




 Image result for polar bear club


 Proverbs has a word to say about those who fail to comfort the depressed and brokenhearted. Proverbs 25:20 uses a Hebrew root word that sometimes denotes a Jewish bard or minstrel who would go from place to place telling folktales and singing fun songs:
Like one who takes off a garment on a cold day, or like vinegar on soda, is he who sings songs to a troubled heart.


 Image result for telling a depressed person to buck up


How easy it is for those who have not felt the dark gloom and bitter pain of depression to tell the depressed or brokenhearted that they can easily overcome it. Such empty advice is cold comfort that makes matters worse for the sufferer. 
  Does that mean that only those who have experienced depression can understand it well enough to help? A pastor said to me, half in jest, “I haven’t been depressed a day in my life...and it’s not my fault.” This pastor recognized that the one who has not experienced a particular sort of crisis will be less prepared to help others deal with it.

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 Those who have not experienced mental illness must take to heart Paul’s advice in Romans 12:15,
"Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep."
To show Christ’s love, it is sometimes needful simply to weep with those who are weeping rather than give superficial advice or try to be cheery. Job’s friends were good comforters as long as they sat in silence. It was when they opened their mouths to preach long, superficial sermons that they were used of Satan to drive Job into deeper despair.


Image result for a person singing songs

The first metaphor in Proverbs 25:20 has particular meaning to those of us who have lived in the northern latitudes, as we did for a while in Michigan in the United States. It can get so cold on January nights that when a heavy mitten falls off, the hand immediately begins to sting. What if someone rips the overcoat off of a fellow traveler on such a night because it seemed that they might feel better without the coat’s weight? The writer of Proverbs says that one who sings vacuous songs to a troubled heart is as unfeeling as one who exposes the person to the cold. Whatever the singer’s intention, there is no help because there is a lack of empathy and sympathy. The word “troubled” translates the Hebrew ra, which means affliction, calamity, misery, and adversity. Please be careful when giving advice to the hurting. Sometimes all they need is your love.
From Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It.


 


In our book Broken Minds Hope for Healing When You Feel Like You're Losing It, (Kregel  Publications) Robyn and I talk about the depths of suffering that are experienced by those who are depressed and those who have other types of mental illness. The spirit of a man sustains his sickness but a wounded spirit who can bear, Proverbs 14:12

f you would like to help our ministry, and read about Steve and Robyn's fight with mental illness, please go to: heartfeltmin.org/resources.html and scroll down to the donation button. Our book is being offered at cost (8.00) plus shipping  ($3.00). This sale will not last forever.  You can buy up to ten for the said price. If you prefer doing your reading on Kindle, you can go to:          https://www.amazon.com/Broken-Minds-Healing-Youre-Losing/dp/0825421187