Compassionate Love: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness (c)2015 Nancy Virden
So, the noise is over.
The rallies, shouting, sighing and shaking of heads, and finger-pointing are dying down. Gay marriage is here.
Are we willing to take the next step? How will we love people who are different from us?
When the same-sex couple moves next door, will you straight Christians invite them to come worship with you at church? Will you introduce them to your neighborhood and friends or have them over for dinner without an agenda?
Will you as a member of the LGBTQ community associate with your (oh no!) Christian fellow employee without resentment?
Love as an action wins, every time. That is because God invented it and His entire nature is love in action.
Chronic conditions like major depression, bipolar disorder, multiple sclerosis, MCAD, pulmonary lung disease, and many others are still stigmatized because what is on the inside cannot be seen on the outside. If you’re not sure about that, think on the last time you saw someone park in a handicap zone and walk into a store. Were you frustrated because you couldn’t find a parking spot? Did you think, “They don’t look disabled?”
Or how about the neighbor on disability because of anxiety? Maybe you wish you could just sit at home and do nothing and get paid for it. People are complex and it’s ok to say, “I don’t understand them or their cause.” It’s not so helpful to dismiss everyone who is different, refusing to express love through action.
Chosen ignorance prevents neighbors and coworkers from talking to each other. That includes representatives of all belief systems, chronic conditions or any other invisible dissimilarity. It’s our job to get to know people and take time for love.
Dr. Tony Campolo told the following story. He stopped for an emergency bite to eat, and a prostitute walked in. He overheard that the next day was her birthday and no one would be celebrating. After she left, Dr. Campolo started asking questions and making phone calls.
The next evening, he returned with balloons, streamers, and a glorious cake. Several of the woman’s friends arrived, and when she walked in, the surprise of a lifetime was waiting for her!
That’s right, he threw a birthday party for a stranger many would describe as “not good enough.” Do we love like that?
In light of this week’s SCOTUS decision on gay marriage, I highly recommend this video in which Dr. Campolo shares an experience called, “The story of a gay son.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWYtkn_8D-g&sns=fb
God bless you, and may compassionate love be your chosen way of life.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental illness. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Hope and help can be yours.
-pictures from Qualitystockphotos.com