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The Church Should Confront Mental Health Honestly

By David L. Hawkins, III / Published on Tuesday, 09 Jul 2019 19:00 PM / No Comments / 104 views

Christian artist Andy Mineo released a song titled “Honest 2 God freestyle” that tackles his anxieties and fears throughout 2016. He talks about experiencing depression and seeking therapy and starting to honestly doubt God.

A particular commenter on this video gets rather toxic and attacks Mineo for openly speaking about these things. The following is this commenter’s first comment:

“This guy need to stop whining about life! Not being mean but he sounds like a woman! His wife will NEVER respect him if he keeps going down this self pity road.”

Mineo openly discussing his battles is something only a woman would do. Men can’t have feelings. At least that’s what this comment thinks. I guess Jesus Himself was acting like a woman when He cried in the garden? This is the kind of logic that ends up scaring people away from church. This same commenter talks about how men shouldn’t get therapists because God should be your therapists. He says that feelings are for women and that men of God should be better than that.

Does being a man of God really mean turning off your emotions? Does being a man of God really mean not sharing your testimony because of emotional implications? Does being a man of God mean alienating your brothers in Christ because they have the absolute audacity to be open and honest about where they are and where they’ve been? No. That isn’t the man of God I wish to be or the men of God I wish to look up to.

A big part of my walk with Christ since being saved in 2015 has been being honest about my struggles, mentally and financially. It is not a female thing to ask for help or to share your story. It really shouldn’t be yet there are churches all over America where that is the agenda.

The website Facts & Trends cites a LifeWay Research Study that has some scary findings:

  • 49 percent of pastors say they rarely or never speak to their congregation about mental illness.
  • 27 percent of churches have a plan to assist families affected by mental illness.
  • 4 percent of churchgoers who lost a loved one to suicide say church leaders were aware of their loved one’s struggles.
  • 35 percent of Americans say mental illness could be overcome with Bible study and prayer alone.

Some church goers do say their church addresses these issues accordingly but other statistics show that there is still an obvious stigma. The 35% that believe mental illness can be overcome with Bible study and prayer alone very much feel that same as the commenter who is staunchly against “real Christians” seeing therapists. It is as if God is not capable of working through therapy and other methods to lead one of His followers through that healing process.

Galatians 2 literally tells us to “carry each other’s burdens.” The Bible doesn’t tell us to hide our weakness. The first section of 2 Corinthians 12 literally tells us to boast in our weakness! Paul talks about his thorn and how it is necessary to show his need for grace and forgiveness. His power is made perfect in weakness. That very statement taken straight from the Bible does not have room for a ‘holier than thou’ attitude in which you are better than everyone else just because your mess isn’t visible.

The attitude some churches have towards mental health overall hurts our ability to share the Gospel. Pastors and congregations and people outside of the church are all held to an insane standard which we will never meet. My pastor, Manning Strickland of Legacy @ Beaver Hills, talked about this. He talked about suicide within the church and how many pastors are leaving their churches.

This post isn’t to condemn anyone. It is more so to raise awareness. People need to learn about mental health and be understanding. Someone will not turn to Christ when they look at the church and see hatred being thrown at them for mental woes that are in no way their fault. We can’t keep acting like anxiety and depression will just go away. We have to all love people where they are and understand what they need.

Thank you for reading, I hope this in some way helped you.

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