Scripture: Mark 5:1-13; Job 30:15-22
Our first series of the year is called Hidden Angels. The premise behind this series is to highlight certain people in our congregation who have done amazing things for other people. This week we are talking about the topic of mental illness. What we don’t often appreciate as human beings is that the part of the body that is most susceptible to stress is the brain. What I have come to find in my time as a pastor is that the human mind is extraordinarily fragile.
Our brains are constantly interpreting sensory information from the world around us and that information has an impact on the way our brains function. This sensory information can dramatically change the chemicals being produced in your brain. Consider how an event like a car accident, physically assault, sexual assault, or a death in the family can alter your brain chemistry. There is nothing else in our body that is susceptible to these external events like the brain, and yet, there is still a huge stigma in our society against getting treatment for our mental health.
If anything happens to your body, if you break a bone or contract a virus or get diagnosed with cancer, we’ll say, “You need to see a doctor and seek treatment immediately.” But if it has something to do with our minds, if we’re dealing with depression or anxiety or attention deficit disorder or bipolar disorder, it is rare for someone to immediately seek out treatment for fear of being labelled mentally ill. Of course, these mental illnesses are just as harmful as physical pain and suffering. In fact, they can often be much worse.
This Sunday, we’re going to discuss what it is like to suffer from mental illness and how we are called as Christians to support those who find themselves in the grip of mental illness. I hope to see you this Sunday. Fall is quickly approaching, so enjoy these beautiful days while we still have them!