The core of what I preach and teach…
1. There is a big difference between discouragement and depression, worry and an anxiety disorder.
2. The Bible, when applied properly, will provide comfort, strength and direction for the climb out of the dark valleys of life. The misuse of scripture can aggravate pain.
3. Jesus uses His Body, the church, to provide a healing touch for those in need. The ministry of burden bearing is only possible when the burdened sense a freedom to cry out for help. An atmosphere of grace and transparency should be an intentional goal of any church desiring to help the hurting.
4. Those who have been comforted have a special capacity to minister comfort to the hurting. Healed hearts–scars and all–are a gift to the church.
5. Mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety are an unfortunate reality of a fallen world. Personal sin is not necessarily the CAUSE of such conditions. Often sin can be a RESULT of the sufferer’s wrong response to their pain (which can intensify the condition). Consequently, it is of utmost importance for supporters to discern the difference.
6. Prevention is better than intervention. When a traumatic event happens, it is imperative to seek/offer help as soon as possible. The hurting are in need of loving guidance. Also, because of the unique pressures of the ministry, leaders need to be encouraged to find proper balance in their lives. Chronic stress will take its toll physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
7. Sometimes specialized intervention is a necessary part of the healing process. This is not to devalue the importance of Pastoral care during extreme circumstances.