Imagine the scenario of someone confiding in you that they struggle with depression, anxiety, OCD, an eating disorder, or some other mental health issue. What is your reaction? How do we who follow Jesus respond to someone when they confide in us. Do we give a short glib answer of just trust the Lord or throw out a quick bible verse and then ignore them? Do we show empathy in the moment only to let what the person has confided cloud our thoughts about them? Do we think less of the person? People who struggle with mental health issues worry about the fact that in this day and age of better understanding, there is still stigma, shame, involved.
There are words and practices that have no place in the church and stigma is one of those. When we stop and realize that becoming a Christian is the ultimate act of equality, then thinking of anyone with a label other than brother or sister should not be in our minds. Becoming a Christian means coming to Jesus and realizing that he died on the cross for all of us. We all equally needed his sacrifice on our behalf, and we all need to humbly come to him for forgiveness.
When we meet someone who struggles with mental health whether it be someone struggling with depression, anxiety, OCD, an eating disorder, bipolar or any other mental health issue, there should be no stigma involved.
Think of the example of Jesus and Mary Magdalene. We know from the fact that Jesus healed her of seven demons that Mary Magdalene would have been an outcast in society. There would have been stigma concerning her in the eyes of others. But we see something different with Jesus. We see that Mary Magdalene hung out with Mary the mother of Jesus. She was part of the group that followed Jesus closely during his earthly ministry. Jesus chose to appear to her first after his resurrection.
If Jesus does not attach stigma to people who struggle with issues, then we shouldn’t either. Jesus gives grace for a person to rise above their struggle and invites them to partner with him in his work. So should we. We should desire for people to rise above their struggle, we should encourage them, pray for them, and see them as Jesus sees them.
I watched a video that shares a powerful message about how we see and treat people with mental health issues. I would like to encourage you to watch this short video.
Thank you for reading. God Bless