Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God?
1 Corinthians 6:19
From a personal view and in my own experience, I find it hard that millions of us today are suffering in silence in fear of rejection from not only loved ones but from Society and sadly even the Church and that is why I want to “talk” about Mental Health.
The World Health Report wrote “One in four people in the world will be affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives. Around 450 million people currently suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide”
We need to bring people up to speed with how we fail by not helping individuals with mental illness but also try and stop the sigma that goes with along with it.
As a Church we have a responsibility to not only “encourage one another and build each other up” (Thessalonians 5:11) but to also “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed” (James 5:16)
Obviously, everyone has their opinion and I will only be able to skim the surface but I hope that even if I can change the view of one person, then that in itself could have a domino effect.
With reference to the Church, I feel strongly that we could be doing more, other than coming together on a Sunday to worship The Lord. People come to us looking for answers regarding salvation but also to have a sense of Family, fellowship and belonging.
We promote community and acceptance but when people go through tough times, resources can be limited with having the knowledge in seeking medical practitioners or counselors for instance. There also shouldn’t be a stigma attached to helping a Brother or Sister in need within congregations. Modern day churches need to have the understanding to help individuals to see them through the healing process.
On the other hand, I feel people give Pastors a hard time. These are individuals trying to spread themselves very thinly among the whole Church. We need to take a different approach and start to build others up, to go and Minister with the gifts that God has given them. In Romans 12:6-10 it says “We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully. Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
So What is Mental Health?
The English dictionary describes mental health as “A person’s condition with regard to their psychological and emotional well-being.”
This is having the ability to live your life and be with your friends and family in a positive way. Good mental health includes a general sense of happiness and control over your life. It is perfectly normal to have ups and downs. For example someone we care about may die or we may fall out with friends – therefore it can mean we feel a bit down or unhappy.
Because we live in a world with different Cultures and beliefs, what I deem as abnormal feelings might be normal to others and therefore it can be hard to describe what mental illness is – however, when you have a down day then we can usually come out of this quite quickly. When people start to struggle and can’t look past their thoughts or feelings of a current situation, then that can lead to mental illnesses such as depression or suicide.
What are the myths of Mental Illness? (Not an exhausted list)
- Mental health problems are caused by the person suffering from them
- Mental health problems are from poor parenting and / or poor behavior
- I can handle my own mental health problems, and if I can’t, I’m weak
- If I admit I have problems, everyone will think I’m crazy
- Being suicidal means I am crazy
- Mental illnesses aren’t real illnesses.
- Mental illnesses will never affect me
- People with mental illnesses are violent and dangerous
- People don’t recover from mental illnesses
- People who experience mental illnesses can’t work
Because mental health affects the way a person thinks, finding godly counsel (Proverbs 1:5) and spending time in God’s word (2 Timothy 3:16–17) are needed. So in order to do what is right, we must know what is true. Mental Health alters a person’s perception of reality. Therefore – a strong foundation helps when dealing with symptoms.
Obviously, this can be tricky as sufferers aren’t always able to pray or read their bible, let alone face other people but I urge you that God is by your side 24/7 waiting to carry you through – all it takes is one word (Help) and God can work within your life to free you of this pain.
Someone with mental health might give in to the misunderstandings caused by the disease and commit sinful acts. A person with such conditions must treat those sins like any other person would. He needs to recognise the actions as sinful, repent, and seek forgiveness. Believers with mental illness can’t blame their illness for their actions (John 15:22) although I am sure this will be argued, whilst you are in this mind set.
I became suicidal after the break-up of my first turbulent marriage. This was hard to realise where my life had got to. People think that suicide is the easy way out whereas to that person at the time, it is the ONLY WAY out of their current situation.
However, suicide is NOT a sin but it does hurt not only the heart of God but also those who loved the deceased. The pain of losing someone who took their own life is not easily healed, and often isn’t fully healed until Heaven.
Whether you are contemplating suicide or know someone who killed themselves, God wants you to know there is hope in life for you. God is the greatest physician and is capable of healing all.
Having faith in him is the first step to recovery, as without hope then we have nothing. He restores and heals all that has been lost and stolen from us. I cannot answer why God heals some but not all. This doesn’t mean that you or I are any better than the next person – as we are all fallen.
Many of the greatest people in the Bible faced overwhelming depression and sometimes wrote that they wished they had never even been born. King David (Psalm 13:2-4), the prophet Jeremiah (Jeremiah 20:14-18) and Job (Job 7:15-16) among others, all reached low points where they despaired of their very lives.
In the book of Job, the verse above says “I would rather be strangled – rather die than suffer like this. I hate my life and don’t want to go on living” Yet, each one of these men were blessed, and persevered through their trials as an example to us today. Even though they faced suffering, they kept their faith in God.
I believe that suicide never takes place, unless from the Devils influence in your own life. In 1 Peter 5:8 it says “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.” Suicide goes against the power of life, which God has put into His creation. Suicide, is directly contrary to the will of God, and originates only from the Devil, who comes to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10).
We are all in a spiritual battle. The problem is, many of us are not aware of it and do not know how to protect ourselves against attack. I encourage you that the devil can never win over the power of God.
Although this is a tough subject, I want to talk about the Bible’s views on Suicide. The Bible never says that we go to hell if we commit suicide; in fact it is silent on this issue. There will be a good reason that God didn’t comment on this subject and one day, that will become known to us. I guess, if we knew that we would still go to Heaven if we killed ourselves; there might be a lot more taking place than there already are. On the other hand, if we knew that we were automatically banished to Hell by taking our own life, then it may be too much for the grief-stricken family and friends to bear. Suicide is not an unpardonable sin as I said before; the only unforgivable sins are rejecting Christ (Mark 16:16) and blaspheming the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28-29) ALL other sins can be forgiven.
It is so important to remember that God judges each of us individually, weighing all the factors of our lives, our beliefs and our motives. Only God can judge us.
This is often anger, and a host of other emotions that have turned inward and become frozen. If you are carrying anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, frustration, jealousy, despair, worthlessness, hopelessness, fearfulness, vengeance and/or self-pity in your heart, you can turn these things over to God and begin to receive your healing right now, in faith. If you don’t know how to let them go, confess it to God and ask for His help in releasing it to Him. No one can overcome these things by themselves. We all need the power of God to set us free from sinful and hopeless ways of thinking. That is why the Bible tells us that we must be “transformed, by the renewing of our mind” (Romans 12:2). The Holy Spirit is the only One who can help us break free and be healed of these deadly emotions.
Just as ailments in our physical body need to be treated with medicine to be healed, the same is true of our emotions. The devil simply cannot stand against the Word of God spoken in faith. God’s Words are like spiritual antibiotics, destroying every germ and unclean thing in their path.
With that in mind, The Bible tells us to be filled with joy and praise (Philippians 4:4; Romans 15:11), There is a big difference to being happy and joyful. Happiness is a temporary feeling whereas to be filled with joy, only can come from within. This is not easy for someone suffering with depression, but it can be remedied through God’s gifts of prayer, Bible study, support groups, fellowship among believers, forgiveness, and counselling. We must make the conscious effort to not be absorbed in ourselves, but to turn our efforts outward. Feelings of depression can often be solved when those suffering with depression, move the focus from themselves to Christ and others.
There is so much more that I could talk about but I just want to say that you should never be afraid or ashamed of your story, as it will inspire others.
If God won’t judge us until the end of the days, then what gives us the right to judge our Brothers and Sisters on this Earth?