The Church’s Steps Toward Recovery
Question: How can the Church as “the light, set on a hill” give illumination to one in so deep a valley of darkness?
Today we continue to ask the questions that need answered in order for the Church to make steps towards it own recovery in mental health? We will continue look at these questions over the next several days.
Answer: Wow, another tough question that raises more questions than answers. As I stated in an earlier blog, the Bible says, “darkness does not comprehend light”, which through personal experience as a caregiver and spouse of a loved one who has been in the numbing, dark, abyss of all consuming darkness, I know that it is true. Humor cannot bring one out of severe depression, nor words of hope, nor broad smiles, nor telling one suffering to just “suck it up”, “pull yourself up by your bootstraps”, “rise above your struggles”, etc. When a person is in a severe state of their illness, they cannot find a way out, thus calling for help through all kinds of signals and sometimes even suicidal. No other disease can put the one ill and those around them in such physical dangers as mental illness does.
You cannot “rationally” talk someone out of their deep depression, so it is no time for theological debates or sermons. The only thing as a Christian or Church you can do is the pastoral aspect of empathy, compassion, mercy, love, and care taking. During times of crisis, it is imperative to seek medical help, but after their release from the hospital, it becomes the care takers responsibility to take care of the loved one (if the one ill is fortunate enough to have a caregiver, or homelessness can be a viable option). This is when the Church can make a presence reaching out to the caregiver and the victim of this illness.
Tomorrow we tackle the question of “Who should be the “care taker” of someone fighting mental illness?”