Tag Archives: violence

For One of the Least of These: Helping The Stranger

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse  (c)2018  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries

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Dehumanizing a person in our thoughts or speech makes it easier to fear and hate. Dehumanizing a people group works the same way. Equating a race or gender with animals is one way in which society has dehumanized people. Another form of such dehumanization occurs when struggles with mental health are demonized or wrapped up in one word- crazy. 

Fear of people with histories of mental illness is reaching new extremes. Reporting on the very few violent types carelessly connects mental illness with murder. Truth is, the vast majority of people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence. Those who have attempted suicide are not going to “go off” and attack others. 

We need to better understand what brings a person to the point they are homicidal. Mental illness may be a factor, but is not a predictor. 

For example, a recent mass shooter was reported to have seen a psychiatrist. I believe the article said he had visited this doctor one time. The story implied that because he had seen a psychiatrist he must be crazy, and therefore ended up killing people. Here is another way of looking at it. He saw a psychiatrist only once, and did not follow through with treatment, hence did not accept the help offered to him. 

By equating “he saw a psychiatrist” with murderous behavior, stigma is encouraged. People who will benefit from psychiatric care may feel shamed into not going. 

Beyond mass shooters and other criminals are millions of people who for one reason or another struggle with mental illness to varying degrees. Instead of being knowledgeable and learning to practice healthy boundaries, we run away or ignore them.

We have each been a stranger. For whatever reason, we have each been judged. It has never benefited us to feel misunderstood. In this way, we can relate to those who are ostracized because of their mental health history. 

Here is today’s invitation. If you know someone with a past of mental illness, say hello.  This website offers information on how to be supportive. Simple internet searches will lead you to such information as well.

Be wise. I am not suggesting we ignore one’s history of violent behavior and invite them to hang out with our families. I am simply inviting you to avoid dehumanizing someone based on a history of mental illness. Let’s drop the negative assumptions and fear. Let’s drop the hate and “lock ’em all up” attitude which is growing in the U.S.

Today’s Helpful Word

Matthew 25: 37

Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?  And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’  And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers (and sisters), you did it to me.’



NOTE:  I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges.  In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.

If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.

If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S.  (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.


Then There is This Peace-of-Mind: A Response to Recent Violence

Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who struggle with mental illness   (c)2016  Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministry

Helping hands

It seems in the chaos of recent days, people are growing more fearful, focusing on a negative “what if?” What if situations do not change? What if violence escalates? What if it touches me or my family?  On this Sunday, as many of us return home from worship, I invite you to ask with me, what if we consider God in all of this?

The following is from Always the Fight 2nd ed. (c)2015. 

“It has taken a long time to begin to see suffering as a blessing. The same Master Designer created both night and day. God, who saw every detail of our unformed bodies before we were born, who knew every one of our minutes before one of them occurred, is not surprised by our pain. He is not taken aback, has everything under control, and loves us still.

You see, the struggle is the plan.

It is in the not-seeing, the not-understanding that we reach out in the dark. Shuffling our feet across unknown terrain, arms outstretched and hearts beating fast, it is in pitch-blackness we search for wisdom, and grow.

Faith is not sight. Quite the opposite. It is the evidence of what is unseen. Pain often draws all of our attention, narrowing our vision to a few moments in time. That is why our faith will not thrive if limited to what we can understand. A more magnificent purpose is at play. Gold can only be made pure through fire, and if our faith is to be refined as gold, it must be tried and tested. Saint Paul even speaks of considering it a joy whenever we face troubles!

Major depression has been humbling. I am broken, but for a purpose. God has chosen to allow me to fall into the pit for the opportunity of teaching me how to climb out of it.”

Father God, In Your mercy, may our cities and nations ascend from this fear and pain with humility, willingness to lean on You, and wisdom. Amen.



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 is yours.

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