Mental illness is not a subject Christians should run from.
As I see the widespread presence and pain of mental illness, another reality confronts me: oftentimes Christians struggle with talking about and understanding mental illness.
There are three points that I want to lay out to encourage all of us to confront effectively the stigma and issues of mental illness. More importantly, let's seek training to care for our brothers, sisters, and even ourselves who suffer with these challenges.
We struggle with how to struggle
The first glaring issue is that Christians struggle with how to struggle with mental illness. In many ways, the church, the supposed haven for sufferers, is not a safe place for those who struggle with mental illness.
Throughout church history, people have written about the “dark times” and how they trusted the Lord in the midst of a trial. But in our churches today, we often feel like we can’t talk about our problems, and so we can’t effectively deal with our suffering.
This truth stretches from the top down. The sad reality of our present church culture is that if a pastor were to talk about the mental illness with which they’re struggling, the next church or organization to which they apply will likely choose another candidate.
How can we, the church, expect to offer the hope of Christ and life-changing help to those suffering if our churches are not a safe place for us to own our brokenness?
We first have to take off our masks and recreate the culture in our homes, churches, and organizations. We don’t know how to struggle with mental illness because the church is not a safe place to struggle.
What is the spiritual issue?
Part of the struggle is discerning the extent of the spiritual issue with mental health. How much is physiological ...