The fear people have of those living with BPD must be one of the most tragic things for those who suffer. Fear is what causes the stigma that brings with it exclusion from groups and activities and avoidance by others. It becomes difficult to have friends, to have a job, to have a normal life.

Stigma engenders a significant loss of self-esteem, destroying vitality we might otherwise bring to our lives. In fact, stigma often causes greater pain than the illness itself. There’s nothing worse than being thought of as a person set apart – a person not like others. Not given respect. Some are even made to feel less than human. It’s enough to make you wonder if you should even live. No wonder there’s a high suicide rate amongst those living with BPD.

Where is the acceptance that people with BPD need? Don’t we all deserve acceptance? Don’t we all deserve love?

Remember the story about the prostitute? Jesus showed her love she had not thought possible. He showed her the compassion she so badly needed. Her tears tumbled down like the tears of a child. In the greatest expression of gratitude, one that she didn’t plan and couldn’t have helped, tears spilled over Jesus’ feet as he was reclining. After the life she had been leading – a stigmatized empty life – you can understand why the deep emotion.

We who are also stigmatized need to have such love shown to us. We too need Jesus. We need godly individuals who can be his representatives – people who will take the time to learn about our illness. We want friends who are not afraid to spend time with us, learning that there’s no need to fear us.

This has been Part 4 of the series BPD for Churches. Read Part 5 Responding to People with BPD