Why Does the Church Not Understand Mental Illness?

Some church people can associate Daniel 4, where God humbled Nebuchadnezzar by stripping away his reason for a time so that the king lived like an animal as mental illness. Some may say Nebuchadnezzar’s descent into madness was a form of schizophrenia. Churches sometimes think those who have a mental illness should seek God in the same humbling manner Nebuchadnezzar did. It is not wrong to think that our ultimate healing and hope come from Christ. Jesus Christ is the source of abundant life and freedom. Mental Health struggles are not necessarily the result of sin or human failure. Saying that mental illness results from God’s punishment are like saying God struck down King Herod with cancer to deny him glory. “When pain is to be born, a little courage helps more than much knowledge, a little human sympathy more than much courage, and the least tincture of the love of God more than all.” C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

      Though some people still think that anxiety could be improved if they just make their faith stronger and pray more, evangelical leaders and grassroots activists are orchestrating a shift in how the community approaches mental health issues. Part of the problem with mental health and the church is trying to overcome the evangelical idea of mental health issues being associated with demonic spirits or the result of sin, or believing it can be simply prayed away. The battle between Scientific perspectives and Faith has waged war with each other for a long time, but the church should understand the Scientific approach and entwine it with a Biblical approach.

         That is why I started Bro-Hun Recovery Outreach to help churches understand the need for mental health awareness. Also, linking churches with Christian resources and some secular ones may help the church.
Throughout history, when people need to seek help from mental health issues the number one place seems to be the churches or faith communities. When dealing with mental health issues, seeking Christian churches seems to be the answer for those truly seeking. Most pastors don’t realize this and often, those who struggle with mental illness get left out or ignored.

      The goal would be to help churches understand the mission of helping those struggling with mental illness. If we are representatives of Christ among those in our church and the world, then we have a need to respond to those with mental illness with compassion as Christ would. There has been in recent times a serious shortage of Metal Health care, especially psychiatrists. In modern times thousands of people now suffer from some form of mental illness.
That should make it the church’s sole purpose to step in and fill in the gap. Those who are in need of psychiatry should also have a church resource they can go to well. I’d love to see more Christian groups and churches actually making mental health care more available in their communities.

Author & Minister

Rev. Darren Labrecque

Co-site Director Mental Awareness Program

As a Pentecostal believing that all the spiritual gifts are still at work today in our live as believers in Christ. Rev. Labrecque begin the ministry Bo-Hun Recovery Outreach with his beloved wife Noel. The ministry present more then just caring for others, but also provide a platform that deals with our youth and young adults on a level that many are afraid to address.

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