He made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.
 And being found in appearance as a man,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient to death—
even death on a cross!

Philippians 2:7-8


My book I Will Not Hide will soon be on its way to the printer, and here I am—thinking of a lot more that could have been said. The thoughts just keep coming. I guess that’s what happens when you’ve lived a long life.

I’m sensitive to being treated with disrespect. Isn’t everyone? I’m as human as the next person and believe I deserve to be treated that way. And yet, so often, even amongst people who I had thought to be kind, this sense of equality seems not to be understood.

I believe all of us—whether in good health or having mental health issues—are equal as God’s creations. In God’s world there is no inferior or superior, no higher or lower, no lesser or greater. Jesus himself took the role of a servant and did not “regard equality with God a thing to be grasped.” (NASB) We are called to follow the humility we see portrayed in him.

In the Philippians passage above, I can’t help but envision Jesus, appearing like other men, on his knees before his Father. The Son of God, yet humble. He did not look down on the people around him. He did not look down on the tax collector, the leper, or the demoniac. He touched them, spent time with them, talked to them.

Consider when you see Jesus depicted like this. Are you following in the way Jesus calls us to follow?

What leads my thoughts in this direction are the cases where I’ve seen boundaries applied to protect someone from a person with mental health issues. I know how it can be one of the most painful experiences to endure. You can imagine the many questions you would be asking: Why? What’s wrong with me? What did I do wrong? Why doesn’t he tell me?

When one human being sets a boundary to protect himself from a person with mental health issues, it implies to me that he feels superior and has primary rights. The implication that follows is that the human being with mental health issues is inferior, and has no choice but to accept things.

After all, it is thought, the person with illness is the lesser of the two and needs to be protected against.

How much better and less painful if the two who need to have a boundary drawn, were to collaborate to sort out a solution. How much better to talk with each other about what’s not going well, and then discuss how their friendship would benefit by making changes.

You see, I don’t believe there should be such a thing as superior and inferior among God’s people. Those who live with mental illness are as human as those who are healthy and they should be treated that way. Can supporters/friends and people with illness not live together as the equals they are?