On Mental Health and Chsitianity
By Sam Dennis
| January 8th 2017
Over the years the contemporary church has evolved to the point that it tackles issues boldly than it could have been imagined in the previous century. These issues range from sex to divorce. As you and I could agree, these did not form part of a preacher’s sermon notes a decade or decades ago but the question here is what about mental health?
It is arguably much more acceptable to be pregnant out of wedlock in the modern Church than an admission to mental health. This, it seems is the elephant we’re afraid to bring in the room.
‘Why should a Christian suffer from anxiety, depression or any other mental illness for that matter when the bible tells us not to be anxious about anything? In such a case such a person is not really grounded in the word!”
This unconscious confession of ignorance by one of my friends shocked me but it also reminded me that it is a reflection of the mood in the contemporary church. The prosperity gospel is much more admirable as compared to the health of the congregation.
Some churches have outrightly become financial cults. W.E.B DuBois averred that “the problem of the twentieth century is the problem of the color line” and the evolution of this statement it seems is the fact that the problem of the twenty-first century is the problem of ignorance.
As a people, we seem to have made a conscious decision to embrace ignorance and abide by it in spite of living in an age of ‘knowledge’.
In my walk, I have met may Christians who struggle with mental illnesses. While a few have been brave enough to speak it out, many still suffer in silence out of fear of judgment and rejection which is quite ironical since the gospel of Christ was built on, among other things, acceptance. The topic of mental health has been either knowingly or unknowingly ignored by the speakers of the gospel.
As we focus on other things as a church, both institutionally and as personally, it would be destructive to ignore these issues especially since we live in an age when issues to deal with mental health are on the rise and the only way out if not professional counseling is suicide.
We need to ask ourselves how many of our congregants can afford the services of a professional counselor. As a concerned Christian, conscious about the trends in the society, it is my appeal that the institution of the church, as it focuses on sex, divorce, prosperity, and even politics turn its attention on mental health.
As we build a financially, spiritually, and a politically conscious Christian, let us also turn our attention to their mental health. We turn no stones if we ignore this.
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