Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
I am in a wheelchair temporarily due to a foot injury. This confinement has unique challenges. Blood circulation cuts off at the edge of the seat. It is easy to go too fast down inclines. From steps to doorsills to sinks, homes are built for people on two feet. Grabbers are essential, yet finding low storage for necessary items is too!
Because my foot will heal in a few weeks, this experience is void of the emotional trauma that must accompany learning one’s legs will never work. However, to a lesser degree I can relate to the financial, social, and physical limitations of life in a wheelchair.
Our Challenge: Be Braver than Most
Relatability, or rather lack of it, is one reason people stay away from those who struggle with mental disorders. Jesus is our example of love and acceptance no matter the circumstances.
As we read in the gospels, he met with those on the outskirts – people society had deemed unnecessary and a waste of skin. He talked with the fearful, faced head-on the demon-posessed, touched the unwanted, and loved them.
I heard a pastor express from the platform his relief when emotionally unstable people do not call him. Another minister completely ignored a suicidal church member. Someone close recently told me she does not like people with mental illness. That hurt.
What these responses mean is that potential supports do not know what to do. As humans, we fear the unknown. Our comfort is important to us. The bravest among us face those fears and refuse to balk.
People are generally not proactive. In churches especially this is a problem because God’s house is where hurting souls will often look for answers. We are to weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice. Yet too often we make the excuse, “They’ll call me if they need me.” Isolation adds to the suffering of those in emotional pain.
How to Be Braver than Most
Following the example of Jesus is not our idea of comfortable. “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges… was born as a human being,” and lived and died in service to God and people.*
If you want to live as Jesus did, your number of choices shrinks. Loving your neighbor as you love yourself is not optional.
This blog and entire website teaches practical ways to do that without losing sight of who you are and growing overwhelmed. You can know how to relate and react when someone near you struggles with mental illness. You do not have to be afraid. You can be an effective support while maintaining your own peace of mind.
Jesus sat in our wheelchairs so to speak, experiencing human limitations. He reacted with love-in-action, and still does.
Today’s Helpful Word
1 John 3:18
“Dear children, let’s not merely say that we love each other; let us show the truth by our actions.“
**********COMMENTS ARE ALWAYS WELCOME.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help is yours.
*From Philippians 2
*wheelchair pic by BETACAM on rgbstock.com; women pic from kozzi.com