A Lutheran Perspective on Mental Health
It’s been remarked by many scholars of the human mind that the brain is one of the final frontiers looking to be explored. And when it comes to the epidemic of mental illness, there still exists a stigma and a great deal of misunderstanding regarding the subject in question. As such, where do we stand as Christians on the topic? What do you do for those among us who are afflicted by this epidemic? Shall we do as many religious sects did hundreds of years ago and shun them as victims of possession? Or shall we be like Christ and welcome them with open arms?
If you guessed the second of these choices, then you’re right. This is what we should do. The Lutheran movement was born out of having a personal relationship with Christ and not having to rely upon mediation. Martin Luther’s nailing of the theses to the chapel was to illustrate that people can be a light in the world and conquer darkness through Christ who strengthens us.
It’s our duty to follow Christ’s example and be a beacon to the world. The gospels are filled with stories and examples of his virtue, from taking the disciples under his wing to healing the shunned lepers. First and foremost, we have to be understanding of the afflictions that are endured by and suffered by others. It means taking people and loving them unconditionally, looking past the disease, and seeing the heart and light that resides deep within them.
In recent years, there have been great medical breakthroughs regarding understanding the intricacies of mental illness, what causes it, and how it can be treated. The denial of scientific research shows a want for ignorance and not accepting the changing world in which we live. Mental illness is not divine punishment for sinners or demonic possession. It’s a real-life affliction that manifests itself in millions of people's minds, some of whom are our close friends and relatives. Christ heals his children, and he does not shun them by any means. As followers of his example, we should adhere to these principles daily. We can illustrate his love for us through love and understanding.
The world can be scary for us and the people we love. If you or someone you know is in need of fellowship and a stronger relationship with Christ, visit us. We would love to see you here at Our Savior Lutheran Church, located at 301 58th Street S in St. Petersburg.