People with mental illnesses, for the most part, have been banned from our ‘conventional’ activities. Many times they have been pushed into concealing their true identity. Usually society doesn’t mind if they come out with the rest of us, BUT only if they agree to play according to the rules. Yes life is about rules I know, but the rules for the mentally ill are different – they have to pretend they’re not mentally ill.
-If you can’t see, you don’t have to pretend you don’t wear glasses.
-If you are diabetic you don’t pretend you can eat that large candy bar.
They are expected to say the proper things and act the proper way at exactly the right time. That’s NOT reality!
I received this email and have decided to share part of it. I have changed the name for privacy sake. As those who know me best know that I have a real love for the mentally handicapped, physically handicapped or just plain different folks! I welcome your comments.
“Please help me with this. When is it OK to ask someone NOT to come to their church? My brother has a mental illness and he was OK except they had changed his meds and he had some facial twitches and his arms would move out, along with him looking like he was mumbling to himself. He is attending the church we have gone to since he was 2 years old. The pastor called the day before Easter and asked Chad not to come to the service. Several of the congregation thought he was “distracting”. Visitors would be attending and they wanted them to return and thought he would deter them from returning. Do you think that was acceptable? I am trying NOT to be upset about it. My brother is depressed and feels rejected by people he has known his whole life. Should I be understanding or am I justified in being angry?”
My Response to her is how she might address a letter to the Pastor and congregation of the church:
What has been done to your brother is astounding to me. I am trying with all that is within me to continue in a spiritual attitude in addressing this letter.
1 Thes. 5:14 “…be patient toward all men.”
When Jesus lived here on earth, He demonstrated compassion to those who needed it most. It was their apparent need that moved Him to compassion. There is never a time that Jesus asks for someone to be excluded where He was ministering because they had a disability that caused Him to be “distracted”. NEVER! He ministered and cared about the person inside the body.
John 9 The disabled man that was thrown out of the temple. Jesus wasn’t happy about it. As a matter of fact, Jesus healed the man that was thrown out and the ones that threw him out He called them – Pharisees. You might want to consider what you have done and just how Jesus looked upon your conduct.
Luke 14: 12-23 Jesus is very disturbed with the guest list at the Great Banquet! Clearly the hosts made the “distracted” people their 2nd choice! Jesus stated to the Pharisees that they were to include people with disabilities and you will be blessed! Jesus includes the social outcasts, the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind in the invitation to the Great Banquet. The Pharisees didn’t!
Jesus touched the unclean lepers and he touched the demon possessed men that no one else could touch. Jesus spent much time with the people that society OR church calls “distracted”. When others told the beggars with disabilities to be quiet and leave Jesus alone, he called them to himself!
Jesus’ ministry all through the gospels was interacting one-on-one with the people who were sick, hurting, and disabled. He gave them His attention and His time. Jesus did teach in the synagogue and spend time with the educated and so-called upper class, but He spent more of his time with the down and out. NO! He didn’t push them away!
Jesus’ healing of people with disabilities, and spending so much time with those rejected by society or those who you call “distracted” showed just how much He valued them. And how much He values my brother! How very sad the Jesus you claim to know is not the Jesus I know.
I am very thankful that Christ has not put you in charge of who will be invited to the Marriage Supper. Jesus doesn’t mind “distractions” at His table.
Maybe you can ponder this question. Do you like Jesus, touch those who are ill and those who are social outcasts and bring them into your church and share Jesus with them? Or do you allow them to touch you?”
Many Christians suffer with various forms of mental illnesses.
They are sprinkled all throughout our churches.
Don’t hide from them!
This is our moment to shine!