Saturday, April 2, 2016

Mental Illness and the Church - Christianity Today article

Interesting Christianity Today article by Ed Stetzer,  See below for some relevant portions from A New Approach to Mental Illness in the Church:

  • "...there is a unique challenge created for Christians, who believe God heals people. He heals our hearts of an all-encompassing sin condition, and he heals physical illness. But when we experience situations...where clear healing did not take place, we are often overcome with unanswered questions."
  • "I was unprepared to deal with mental illness, and by my actions, I almost denied that it is even real. Of course, I would have been prepared for any number of other forms of illness. If someone had come to my church with a broken leg, I would have recommend they go see a doctor. For virtually any other illness, I would have said the same."
  • "The fact is that mental illness and spiritual struggle can be (and are) related. We are not separate things, we are complex people—remarkable connected in spirit, soul, body, mind, etc. But, let me be direct here: if we immediately dismiss the possibility of mental illness and automatically assume spiritual deficiency, our actions amount to spiritual abuse.
  • "The reality is that regardless of the situation—even in the most prepared church—mental illness can be deep, traumatic, and life-changing. Even if our churches talk about the issue and have a plan to address it with our own people, it tends to be a long road to healing or discerning how to manage the disease. Ministering to those struggling with mental illness, and the family members of those struggling, requires a tremendous amount of grace, but God’s people should be first in line to offer it."
  • "Mental illness, mental disease, is a reality."
  • "To ignore the reality of mental illness hampers our ability as the church to have robust, intelligent, helpful conversations to find ways to come alongside those who are suffering and offer hope. Churches and leaders, we must offer hope."