Many of us wake up every day and thank God for the healthy body he has given us. Many of us do not even think about the fact that we have been blessed with a sound mind as well. We often take this very important point of wellness for granted. For over 10 million people in America, mental wellness is something that eludes them.
To sum up the differences between the most commonly used meanings of these two terms: sympathy is feeling compassion, sorrow, or pity for the hardships that another person encounters, while empathy is putting yourself in the shoes of another.
As Christians I believe it is our duty to have empathy for these people. To try to place ourselves in their shoes and give them the grace and compassion that Jesus would and does daily. Serious mental illnesses like schizophrenia or bipolar 1 are extremely difficult to live with on a daily basis at times. These people need a support system in place to aid them in maneuvering their lives safely and soundly. This is a perfect opportunity for the church to serve the needs of some of its communities most vulnerable occupants.
Remember ministering means serving.
Another group that desperately needs the love and support of the church is the caregivers of those with serious mental illnesses. It may be their mother, father, a sibling or a grandparent that is responsible for taking care of the outlying needs of someone who has mental health issues, and these people need help. They need to feel like they are not alone, that there is a safety net out there that supports their emotional needs. They may need an ear in the middle of the night or a shoulder to cry on in times of crisis and they need to feel like there are open arms and hearts that will help them walk through the storms of mental illness without judgement.
For over five decades the United States has ignored the needs of so many people who live with serious mental illnesses. The pain that families have endured up unto this point in time is unacceptable. We are too advanced as a society to let this suffering continue any longer. I challenge ever person who reads this to extend empathy to those that are suffering through diseases of the mind. Pray for those in our country who have serious mental illnesses. Pray for their families. Pray for our nation as a whole to wake up and start creating a more compassionate world for those that have psychiatric diseases and disorders of the mind and brain.
Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: love therefore is the fulfilment of the law.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: 35 for I was hungry, and ye gave me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took me in; 36 naked, and ye clothed me; I was sick, and ye visited me; I was in prison, and ye came unto me. 37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, and fed thee? or athirst, and gave thee drink? 38 And when saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 39 And when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? 40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of these my brethren, even these least, ye did it unto me. 41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels: 42 for I was hungry, and ye did not give me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink; 43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in; naked, and ye clothed me not; sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. 44 Then shall they also answer, saying, Lord, when saw we thee hungry, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? 45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not unto one of these least, ye did it not unto me. 46 And these shall go away into eternal punishment: but the righteous into eternal life.