I have not hidden the fact that church is a place I have struggled over the last few decades for the obvious reason. Well, rather than the church, I struggle with listening to the pastor, looking at him as a godly man or one that people often put on a pedestal. These are my personal hang-ups. Over the last little while, I have found myself focusing and hearing the sermons. This has been a huge surprise to me and yet is also a testimony of God’s healing power and counseling.
In our society we are trying to stop the stigma of mental illness. (I think the word “mental” is a huge factor in this stigma). There is so much knowledge to help those of us that suffer from one form of mental health issue or another.
I heard not long ago this sentence in a sermon, “Depression is caused self-centeredness.” All my senses seemed to react immediately. My eyes widened to a point I didn’t know possible. My ears strained, wondering if they heard correctly, my tongue had a taste of something that was close to wanting to throw up and my hands wanted to punch something, HARD!
Definition of self-centered: concerned solely with one’s own desires, needs, or interests
This is Webster Dictionary’s take on the meaning of self-centered. My hands have frozen, my heart is pounding and my body is tensing up as I re-read that sentence. Mental Illness is caused by self-centeredness?
THIS ignorant comment is one of the reasons that mental illness has a stigma. It is ( I am pausing here because I want to use words like fool, jerk, moron, nitwit, stupid, twit, blockhead, bonehead, cretin, dimwit, dumbbell, ignoramus, imbecile, muttonhead, nincompoop, simpleton, all synonyms used Thesaurus.com to describe a fool) ignorant to speak on a topic you are uneducated about. The pulpit should be a place where a speaker/preacher speaks and teaches on subjects they are educated about. It is important for them to cite their sources. It is actually imperative to do so as it holds them accountable and in this case, if this was factual, would prevent me from blowing a gasket.
There is the evangelical idea that demons, bad spirits or sin are causing the mental illness and that it can be overcome with Bible study and prayer. I had a father that would send us outside and tell us to cast the devil out of us for something he perceived as bad behavior.
Sigh. I am terribly flustered that (some) preachers use the pulpit to spew their own thoughts and belief. They are in a power of position and their members often take their thoughts as truth, not questioning what they are being taught. We as a society have learned to trust those in specific professions. Our doctor is usually someone we trust and yet, most of us would not hesitate to get a second opinion if we QUESTIONED their assessment of our situation.
There are many cases and times where mental health has been spoken ignorantly and made light of what one that deals with this goes through. I am simply putting it out there that as someone that deals with mental health issues EVERY DAY it is not like having a cold. A cold (for most people) is an annoyance and leaves in a short time. My mental health issues and part of my daily life, my sidekick with me constantly.
I am asking pastors to please research your thoughts, cite your sources, and understand that your
To us, as students seeking the truth, we need to remember that pastor/teachers are human. They are often speaking of life experiences that are theirs. If they are not citing a source, it is a personal thought. We need to study for ourselves. We need to question. This applies to all subjects, though I am on a rant about the ignorant comment about mental illness.
And yes, these are my own personal thoughts. 🙂
My sources are :