An Ancient Lesson for Today’s Mental Health

Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c) 2018 Nancy Virden, Always The Fight Ministries

Once there was a fellow sitting in prison awaiting his fate. His name was Barabas. He was a murderer, an insurrectionist against Rome at a time the Roman Empire occupied  Jerusalem. 

One day, he heard shouts outside his prison walls. “Barabas! Crucify him! Crucify him!” Naturally, this must have frightened him. However, Barabas was taking these words out of context.

You see, the trial of Jesus Christ was occurring at that moment. The governor asked the crowd,  “Who do want me to hand over to you – Barabas or Jesus?” 

The crowd shouted, “Barabas!”

The next question was, “What do you want me to do with this man (referring to Jesus)? 

The crowd shouted, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”

Does not out-of-context language affect us today? The loudest voices in the media are heard regardless what anyone else is trying to say.  Social media hollers rumors while many people gladly repeat them. We must be careful to dig deeper for those answers that will actually reveal the whole story.

Mental health in context

Yesterday I was in a group where one person expressed concern for a relative who is struggling with depression. This person was offering advice to their loved one saying, “I don’t want you to go to some doctor. They will just throw meds at you.” 

My gentle suggestion that depression can be serious was met with a louder, snappier, “They will just throw drugs at the situation.”  Most likely, at one time this person heard or witnessed a story when mental health medications did not help.

Facts, out of context. 

Medications do not always help for a variety of complex reasons. For more information see my blog 3 Reasons Why Medication Does Not Always Help. Yet this is only one area of mental health treatment that is misunderstood.

People go without treatment because loud stigma rings in their ears. Suffering lasts longer and occurs more frequently in cases of untreated or undertreated depression. Typical treatment  does not always involve meds, yet often does. I urge you to take the time to proactively learn more. 

Context  matters

Barabas was actually set free the day he heard, “Barabas! Crucify him!”  Regardless if it’s about Christian beliefs, politics, someone’s reputation, or any other issue, the truth is in the whole story. Soundbites and stigma help no one. 

If you want to know more about Barabas and Jesus’ trial, click here.

Today’s Helpful Word

The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise
brings healing. 


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 are yours.


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