Psalm 16:3 The beauty of faith-filled people encompasses me. They are true, and my heart is thrilled beyond measure. (VOICE)
For Christians, having a family member with a brain disorder can sometimes feel like some sort of dark family secret. The temptation might be to withdraw from church friends for fear that we might be judged or that they wouldn’t understand what we’re dealing with.
While, sadly, that sometimes is true, more often than not our friends love us and staying away from church isn’t the answer. Even after a few embarrassing incidents when my stepson used to go to church with us (he no longer attends church), we never abandoned our commitment to our local church fellowship.
Once our close friends knew what was going on, they were supportive and sympathetic. We decided that we had to be vulnerable because we realized that people needed to be educated about brain disorders.
An amazing thing began to happen. In conversations with people they would reveal that they, too, had a relative with some sort of mental illness. I can’t tell you the number of times that’s happened.
The stigma of mental illness is alive and well in society and in the church. What relief we’ve experienced in sharing our story with others, and at times I’ve had someone else say they’re so glad finally to be able to talk about it.
James tells us to pray for each other, and the prophet Samuel even said to the people at one point, “As for me, the last thing I would ever do is to stop praying for you. That would be a sin against the Eternal One on my part.” (I Samuel 12:23a – Voice) As the body of Christ, we’re called to pray for one another. We need to see this as a command, not a suggestion.
Do you see the beauty of the believers who pray for you? The prayer of faith by our friends has carried us through some rough spots, and in turn my prayers can support others in the same way.
Never quit going to church. Surround yourself with “the beauty of faith-filled people,” and experience the joy of the fellowship of believers no matter what’s going on in your life.
We need each other.