Sunday, June 10, 2012

Living Room: the need we fill

We all know how important it is to have Christian friends who will pray for us and support us when we’re going through troubling times or when we’re sick. People undergoing mental health problems need such support as well. When a person has depression he or she often needs someone who will have faith for her at times when God seems distant. And yet, all too often such support is not available to them.

As someone who relies much on Christian friends to help me with my mental health issues, I can see how tragic it is not to have such support. And yet it happens frequently. It hurts me deeply to know this. It doesn’t just hurt, it makes me angry. Lack of acceptance of people with mental illness is not what Jesus wants for us.

At Friday’s Living Room meeting someone who is having a very rough time shared how she has not had Christian support at all until she started coming to Living Room. Churches she has attended have not been open to hearing about such problems. The pastor of the church she currently attends knows of her illness but has warned her not to let anyone in the congregation know about it. “They wouldn’t understand,” he says. As a result she has had no Christian friends with whom she can be open about her struggles.

A while ago she spent three weeks in hospital. She didn’t feel she could tell anyone from her church, so had no one from church praying for her or visiting her. How alone she must have felt!

I’m just so extremely proud of my church’s attitude of acceptance towards people who suffer in this way. So very thankful that my church has supported and encouraged the Living Room support group program. Thankful for the support I personally receive.

This lady is only one Christian of many with mental health issues, one of many who are starving for spiritual support – support too often lacking in churches. Living Room fills the hole for them.