The evil of the category of “mental illness”

I have many reasons why I generally disagree with the category of mental illness. I will just share one: it is a horror that people would put other people into some “lesser” category. Two examples of how you might unwittingly do this:

  1. Suppose someone says they suffer from “post-traumatic stress disorder.” You have heard of others who have struggled with that. You have seen the harmful effects of it. You have never suffered the kind of trauma they have experienced. So instead of seeing them as a fellow sinner made in God’s image, in need of God’s grace just like you, and instead of moving into their life to know them and love them and try to understand their experiences, you decide you are not gifted enough to minister to them. So you never really get to know them the way you might with someone who has no “label.” Or at the very least, you will wait to get to know them until they are “cured.”
  2. Suppose you know someone with Down Syndrome. You have internal compassion for them and their family, but you figure you can never have a regular conversation with that person. So you don’t even try. Maybe they visit your church, but you don’t even introduce yourself–maybe even unwittingly you ignore them because “regular” people have more to offer the church, more money to give, more ways they can serve. So instead of seeing them as a fellow sinner made in God’s image, in need of God’s grace just like you, and instead of moving into their life to know them and love them and try to understand their experiences, you decide you are not gifted enough to minister to them. They have “special needs” that you could never meet.

I pray the Lord help us see same-ness before we ever see differences. Every single human being has the exact same level of need for the gospel.

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