Bearing One Anothers Burdens: The Gospel Call to Care for Those Affected by Serious Mental Illness in Our Local Churches.

P82 Project Restoration

Bearing One Another’s Burdens: The Gospel Call to Care for Those Affected by Serious Mental Illness in Our Local Churches

A few weeks ago, I was asked to share about the work of P82 at a small local church during their prayer meeting. As I spoke, I noticed a woman slip in the side door near the end of my talk. She sat in the back row, and she began to nod in sync with my closing remarks about how we still speak about serious mental illness in whispers and hushed tones. I opened it up for Q & A, and her hand immediately shot up.

Through tears, she described how she had been caring for her son who lived with schizophrenia for many years, and he was currently in the hospital. The incredible thing we would all soon learn was that no one in her church knew about this. Not even her close friends. Moved by compassion, everyone gathered around this dear lady and began to pray; some were even crying, expressing their care and love for her. It was a beautiful picture of what Jesus has called us to as believers, called to walk out our faith and lives together in local congregations. Washers of each other’s feet. And this includes families affected by mental illness.

In some corners of American churches, we are still wrestling with conditions like schizophrenia. It doesn’t fit into our categories, though we do take it out of the box now and again and try to awkwardly apply scripture. I think this is because unless we are personally touched by it, we just don’t understand, and perhaps we might be fearful of it. But Jesus doesn’t let us off the hook here. We can clearly see throughout scripture that he goes toward the weak, the helpless, not away from them. And if we are going to follow Jesus, we must move toward them too.

As followers of Christ, we are called not only to share in each other’s joys but
also to bear one another’s burdens, especially when it comes to challenges like serious mental illness. Let us strive to create opportunities where individuals and families affected by such conditions feel supported, loved, and included, reflecting the heart of Jesus in our midst. Through prayer, understanding, and practical support, may our churches become beacons of hope and healing, reflecting the love of Christ to our weakest members.

Contact us if your church is interested in learning more about how to care for families affected by serious mental illness.

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