As Christians, often our Church and our theology tell us that mental illness, depression, and bipolar disorder have no place in a believer’s life.
As a result, we end up hiding and sneaking into sessions with our therapists, and direct the conversation to minimize our exposure to any direct questions. In one way, we are the new “lepers of the Church.” But I would like to suggest to you that it is we who may be closest to the Kingdom of God.
From a certain viewpoint, it is easier for us to approach the Father– in our brokenness, humility, and lostness. And yes we have needs– a sound mind, a healthy body and we know it. But we have no illusions of wellness– nothing can convince us that we are well. We know we are not. We know we are broken and only our loving creator can mend us.
You should think and say that the Church needs us. An Archbishop was given an ultimatum by the Huns who surrounded his cathedral. “You have 24 hours to bring your wealth to these steps”, the war-leader declared. The next morning the Archbishop came out leading the poor, the blind, the lame, and the lunatics. “Where is your treasure? Why have you brought out these, people?” The Archbishop said this, “These are the treasures of the Church, these who are weak are our valuables. They make us rich.”
I’m afraid the the Western Church no longer sees its “treasures” or wealth like it should. We have let the ‘government’ pick-up the burdens of health care. We have tried to operate our churches like successful businesses and definitely have no room for the desperately weak. The mind-set is routine and predictable–that “they only take, and never give.”
But the handicapped have much to teach the Church.
We the weak are ‘sprinkled’ by the Lord into each local church (each church has one or two.) We are not victims of our illness or addiction. We admit we are the ones so broken that everyone has given up on us. But we have reached out, and touched the hem of His garment. “And in love’s service, only the wounded can serve.”
My plea is directed to the local churches, and their leadership. You must decide what you are going to do with us, the handicapped. Will you accept us– and we are many? But we do admit and insist that we should not trivialized or diminished. We often have discovered grace in a way you haven’t, we have been loved in a way that you can only dream.
“It’s not about perfection; it’s about our intimacy with God, or our connection, our relationship with God. Once we get through that, once we realize that we can be imperfect, flawed, broken; those kinds of things are the ingredients of spirituality.”
- Church Metrics (ourcommunityatfbcdc.wordpress.com)
- Local church hands out 500 free backpacks to school kids (kens5.com)
- Local Church Helps Troubled Woman Turn Her Live Around (wreg.com)
- 10 Tips for New Seminary Students (teddyray.com)