Marja Bergen

author, mental health activist, follower of Christ

BPD – My deep shame

 

June 2018

 

 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.

1 Peter 2:22-23

 

I had thought I was a good person. I always tried to be. Like other Christians, I tried to follow Christ, with him as my example for living. But I’ve been looking back at my behavior over past years and feel ashamed.

More and more I’m recognizing how easy it is when I’m hurt, to hurt right back. So unlike Jesus. Not that I want to hurt back. Not at all. But I do talk to others about where my pain came from. Can’t avoid it. How can you keep quiet those things that cause so much suffering? How can you not cry out in pain, tell your doctor, your counselor, your friends, the crisis line?

Self-expression is a basic human need—and I think that must especially hold true for people with disordered emotions like BPD. And that becomes a dangerous thing, especially for one such as me, a person living with over-sensitivity—a person who feels pain deeply and has a need to respond.

And how does my response to suffering line up with the Jesus I try to follow? How did Jesus respond to the unjust suffering he went through? Did Jesus tell people how his pain affected him? As I read what follows, I was shocked at how far my behavior was from his. Why has it taken so long for me to see?

Quoting from The Suffering Jesus, a sermon that comes from Grace to You: (https://www.gty.org/library/sermons)

“All the accusations against Him, all the abuse, all the cruelty, all the suffering was absolutely unjust.  And because He never retaliated in a sinful way, He’s a perfect model, the perfect model.  He is the most unjustly treated human being who ever lived. And because He was perfect and all the mistreatment of hell was thrown against Him and He never sinned, He is the perfect model of how you and I are to respond to unjust treatment.”

How was Jesus able to do this? Verse 23 above shows that “he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.” Jesus left it with God. Jesus, the perfect model. And me? Ashamed to see how much of a sinner I am. 1 Peter 3:9 says, “Don’t return evil for evil, or insult for insult but give a blessing instead.”

I want to be like that, Lord! And I have tried often. If I hurt people, it was not my intent.  But my illness has never allowed me to be anything like you. How I regret the many times I’ve failed!

Lord Jesus, you know how the trauma I’ve lived with has affected who I am today, a person living with borderline (BPD).  So, Lord, I could never be anything close to what you are.

But I will keep striving to come back to wellness. To regain my ability to be more like you and to serve you well.

Marja

1 Comment

  1. (This may be a little off topic n I’m not sure).

    Thanks Marga. Among the many cruel things that our mental illness does is it’s power to produce an isolated life. My mental break came after being spiritually raped by a cult leader. The trauma produced was intentional. This person literally tried to coherence me to kill myself.

    I don’t know how to explain what happened or why God allowed me to be abused this way. Every day I think about the outcome of this horrific experience. I feel like nothing good will come. However, I have been blessed with meeting people like you. Oh how I thought I was alone in this suffering. I was wrong. God has allowed me to see and experience a share or portion in the sufferings of Jesus and of course God himself. If it were not for mental illness and terrible suffering I have then others would believe they’re alone too. Sometimes God’s greatest soldiers are never known to mankind but God knows them!

    I appreciate you very much. I still remember frantically trying to find someone, anyone that proved I was not especially flawed. Flawed? Yes! But not flawed more than others.

    One of my greatest hindrances that I see in myself is my super human ability to complain! I am the world’s greatest complainer! 😂 I never wanted that to be me but it’s true. I believe that God has allowed me to see this truth about myself because suffering has prepared me to hear the truth about myself and the truth about how awful our savior was treated.

    I’m grateful to have read your experiences with mental illness. I often wonder as mental illness gets worse globally what will happen when the world is tried and tested to such a degree that most find impossible to believe is real? Well, I believe if we who are suffering now are still alive then we may be able to demonstrate the deep love and faithfulness of God to a lost and oh so hurting world. I hope that Jesus Christ is seen in us because of these sufferings.

    As always, may the Lord Jesus Christ bless you richly with Himself!

    ❤️

    Steve H

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