Up/Down

In recent years, I have become increasingly aware of the effects of mental illness on people’s lives, and no less so in the church.  Christians are just as vulnerable as anyone to mental illness, but many feel ashamed to share those struggles, wondering if they will be rejected or judged by others.  Because of this, the lives of those afflicted with mental illness often remain shrouded to churchgoers, and we have no idea how to respond when people share their stories with us.

I am thankful that awareness of mental illness is growing among Christians, but it comes at a very high cost.  I have lost count of how many people have shared the pain of depression, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, etc. with me as a pastor, and I feel privileged to counsel and pray for these people who God loves so much.  But for many, the isolation, shame, and alienation from others is debilitating and overwhelming, and all too often results in a tragic loss.  In a world struggling to cope with the painful reality of mental illness, the church must be able to demonstrate compassion, acceptance, and understanding in a way that reflects the love of Jesus.

With millions of people in the United States affected by mental illness, it is almost certain that you know someone, or several people, who are trying to deal with it.  We have a duty to love them, and it is hard to love if we do not understand.  That’s why it encouraged me to discover this documentary on bipolar disorder entitled “Up/Down”.  Please watch it.