Grace Greater than Our Sin
Mental health is a topic which sadly the Christian Church has not embraced whole heartedly over it’s history. Often times we members of the Christian Church and it’s leaders have labelled mental illnesses and those who wrestle with them as being weak, sinful, or flawed.
Tragically the way in which many Christian leaders engage with mental illness has been to either ignore it or to judge those who are known to struggle with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, one of many other mental illnesses, or a combination of these. Ignorance whether willful or not is certainly not the answer because education is the only way which we can move past an ancient misunderstanding of mental illness.
My therapist assures me that I do not have any diagnosable mental illnesses yet I find meeting with him and exploring my feelings to be most beneficial. It’s beneficial for me to explore the things that I’m stuck on and are therefore interfering with my ability to get my work done with a clear head. It’s beneficial because my “business” tends to require me to be connected with my emotions and to speak form the heart in a way which people can relate to while being challenged as well.
My Certified Pastoral Education supervisors recommended that all clergy regularly engage in some sort of pastoral care therapy as a sort of emotional and spiritual maintenance as well as general health care. Today I met with my therapist and while we were discussing a situation which I have been struggling with for several weeks he instructed me to simply visualize the scenario without judging it or interacting with it, but to simply observe my thoughts and feelings.
As I did this the lyrics of one of my favorite hymns popped into my head the chorus of which goes like this: “Grace, grace, God's grace, grace that will pardon and cleanse within; grace, grace, God's grace, grace that is greater than all our sin!”
We all have inner demons that we wrestle with on a regular basis and some people have inner demons which can be so loud that they make it almost impossible to even function due to how they are shouting so loudly. These demons are not the fault of those who have them and even if they are due to their choices blame does not help in the healing process.
While these lyrics were going through my head I was overcome by the power of our God’s grace to mediate and mitigate any situation. To transform pain into motivation through the power of forgiveness and grace. These are the ways in which the Spirit of God transform each of us and transform our world around us. By God’s grace alone.