Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c) 2017 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries
Among people who struggle with emotional instability, mental illness, addiction, or abuse I have observed a common thread shared with all of humanity. It is both universal and intimate, a want and need.
I have, as so many others, desperately tried to find it or escape from its absence through relationships, substances, entertainment, physical pleasure, and even rumination on the value of my life.
The longing that shapes almost every human decision is for unconditional love.
At the crux of all the world’s troubles
Pride and corruption in high places are about power and greed. Yet what is power without adoring followers? What is there to riches except to say, “Look at what I have!”
The poor and marginalized cry out for justice; their cause, righteous. Nonetheless, the plea behind it all is for unconditional love – acceptance as equals in society.
In homes and on playgrounds, one can see the push-pull for unconditional love. Each of us seeks it, few offer it. Our best attempts at giving love without strings fall short.
Some of us believe a lie – that the world’s inability to love us well means we are unlovable. We become grateful for whatever crumbs fall our way, even if they are served with abuse and more lies.
With eyes focused on guilt or shame, some of us feel unworthy of great love.
It is time to accept your true identity
God’s love transcends pity. His mercy is not because you are a nothing and only by rolling his eyes and shaking his head can he love you.
No, he knew beforehand everything you would and have become, including what has happened to you and how it shaped your beliefs. He saw your blunders, the pain you would cause other people, and how much sorrow he would suffer due to your unbelief and sin. He knew the details of your weaknesses and failings before he gave you life… and made you anyway.
Why? He loved you before you were born; his plans for you are not shaken. His ultimate goal has always been to spend eternity with you because he loves and wants to be with you that much.
Yours for the taking
Sometimes we tend to think “love hurts, and is not worth the pain.” It is the opposite with God’s unconditional love. He saw ahead of time that you would not love him perfectly, and brought you into the world anyway. All the pain IS worth it to him. YOU are worth it.
As absence of unconditional love can trap us in cycles, so its unfailing presence sets us free. We can strip off the disguises, and come to him as-is. This source of perfect grace and mercy, justice and forgiveness, strength to save and power to love is the ever-present, all-knowing highest power, the God of the Bible as revealed to us in the life, death, and resurrection of his only birth-Son, Jesus Christ.
You are loved.
Today’s Helpful Word
Psalm 33: 20-22
“We put our hope in the Lord. He is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.“
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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.