Ed Stetzer is one of the most widely respected Christians in the West with a broad appeal that goes beyond most of our tribal boundaries. I have had the privilege of getting to know him personally a bit as well, so I was thrilled to read him speak about his article at CNN Regarding Mental Illness on his own blog. I have decided that I will highlight a couple of other articles on mental illness before returning to my own series, which so far includes two posts:
Stetzer explains four critical points that I couldn’t agree with more:
1. We need to stop hiding mental illness.
2. The congregation should be a safe place for those who struggle.
3. We should not be afraid of medicine.
4. We need to end the shame.
“Most churches (and Christians) seem unprepared to deal with mental illness.
As a young believer, I heard so many say that mental illness was just a lack of faith, demonic oppression, or something else. Those can be real issues, but so is mental illness– and they are just not the same thing.
I’ve seen the impact of mental illness both in the church and in my own family. I’ve seen the shame that families felt and the scared or confused responses from churches . . .
- There are people in the pews every week – ministers, too – struggling with mental illness or depression.
- People of faith know that God has freed them to love others, and that love extends to everyone, even (and sometimes especially) those we don’t understand.
- Christians need to affirm the value of medical treatment for mental illness.
- Compassion and care can go a long way in helping people know they don’t have to hide.
- Mental illness has nothing to do with you or your family’s beliefs. It can impact anyone.”