MY NEED FOR HIS COMPASSION – MY STORY –

Part of my personal journey with stigma:

  • I learned the excruciating the pain of being considered a good and faithful servant of God for many years, and then suddenly to be treated as “evil.”
  • I learned how hopeless it is to report a wrongdoing to authorities, because they don’t want to hear. You have no credibility because you have a mental illness.
  • I learned what it meant to be a victim of a wrong doing, but given the blame. The symptoms of my mental disorder not taken into account.
  • I learned what it was to lose respect and a stellar reputation at the hands of one person, through no fault of my own. Ostracized by a church that had once given support.
  • I learned what it was like to be slandered and lose friends.
  • I learned what it was like to suffer repeated flash backs for years, causing suicidal depression.

All I needed was for someone with the compassionate love of Jesus to listen. I needed to have my pain heard. But even people closest to me would not believe me. I was left to suffer alone.

No one in my community listened: not the elders of my church; not the assistant district superintendent of my church’s denomination. The organization that was equipping churches to give support to people with mental health challenges didn’t consider it part of their mandate to listen to me or show compassion. They didn’t respond to my emails.

I later had my need met at a subsequent church. I was heard and given the Christ-like compassion I needed,  My recovery took years, but I stayed close to Jesus and was able to continue my ministry through my writings.

SUPPORT, IN THE NAME OF JESUS, IS OF UTMOST IMPORTANCE

The Christian Church needs to be concerned with a lot more than learning about the nuts and bolt of mental health issues. Those who are hurt by stigma need to be able to find refuge in their churches. They need to be able to find healing through the kind of love once shown by Jesus for those who were being rejected by the world.

If a church is to show that it is a follower of Jesus, it must take the lead in providing the kind of compassion once modelled by their namesake, Jesus Christ. For many who have to endure the kind of suffering I experienced, this is the only way to overcome the pain.

For guidance on how to provide such spiritual support:

Healing the Effects of Stigma:  In the Name of Jesus is available as a booklet or free PDF from https://marjabergen.com/books  

Alternatively you could request the free 8-page condensed emailed version, Overcoming the Effects of Stigma by contacting me at https://marjabergen.com/contact

My book, In the Name of Jesus: Spiritual Support for Mental Health Challenges, will help the reader understand what it’s like to live with the pain of stigma. They will see how knowing the love of Jesus and all he can be for us can bring relief and encourage a more confident life.

marja