How Did Jesus Treat Mental Illness?
(Posted January 25, 2024)
“Did Mother Teresa Ever question God’s existence? Yes. Did Gandi experience depression and hopelessness enough to attempt suicide? Yes.” -- Rev. Sarah Griffith Lund
One thing I know for sure. Jesus encountered many people with many afflictions that he cured,
including leprosy and other skin diseases, blindness, bleeding and structural brokenness, and of course, mental illness. But never ever when he walked on earth did Jesus make fun of the mentally ill by calling them “crazy.” Instead, he recognized their humanity, loved them and cured them.
Confront Your Dis-Ease with Mental Illness
That word, “crazy,” is meant to be pejorative, off-putting, judgmental. It’s one we find embedded in our culture along with “looney” and “bonkers.”
Words like these are, unfortunately, the way we deal with our own dis-ease when facing invisible maladies we just don’t understand, and which can make us anxious. There are other invisible illnesses that also don’t receive the type of compassion they should. Things like migraine, lupus, and chronic fatigue. But the people who least deserve to be made fun of and their families are people struggling with mental and emotional health.
Who Has Dealt with Mental Illness?
If the truth be told, nearly ALL of us have dealt with a mentally ill friend or family member – or maybe ourselves. Mental illness doesn’t just affect one person. It can infect an entire family with stress and a feeling of helplessness. Unfortunately, the stigma has made us all suffer in silence. If we all made it possible to talk about our own experience with this illness, healing and feeling like an included part of the Beloved Community would be much more possible.
Be W.I.S.E About Mental Illness
To achieve this, our United Church of Christ Mental Health Network was created, to help members and churches become “W.I.S.E.” – Welcoming, Inclusive, Supportive and Engaged. This weekend I will share with you some personal stories of my own experiences with mental health, and the work in restoring mental health and compassion to entire families who are now able to sit and share their stories of this painful but rewarding journey.
‘Blessed Are the Crazy’
It chronicles her growing up with a severely bipolar father and brother, plus her work as a spiritual advisor to a cousin convicted of murder, before he was executed. We will be referring to her work, and her suggestions on how churches can be safe havens for suffering people and their families. “To tell the story is to heal,” Sarah says.
Come join us as we learn how to help friends, how we have coped and overcome the stigma.