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Are We Listening? Do We Even Care?

January 15, 2016

Greetings,

“And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests.  With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints.  Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the mystery of the gospel,…”  Ephesians 6: 18-19

Since I gave out my telephone number several days ago in the “About Captain Kirk” section of this blog site I have received quite a few calls.  I just knew there were folks out there who struggle with depression, PTSD, and other mental health issues like myself.  The calls were 60-40 between those needing encouragement and prayer, and the other half calling to encourage and pray for me.  Plus there was that one mystery caller who rebuked me.  Putting your personal information out in public always carries risk, but it was a chance the Lord had me ready to take for the benefit of others,

Most all of those calling for help have experienced apathy and rejection from the “church” because of their issues.  They had been told by “church leaders” that they needed to pray more and sin less.  The majority of “Christians” out there have no clue of how to address, treat, or pray for those with mental issues, and what they don’t understand they tend to label as demonic activity.  When those who suffer reached out to the “church” for help, prayer and encouragement; what they got was rejection and judgement.

This is why most people who struggle with mental and emotional issues never ask for help.  Because when they have in the past they were totally misunderstood and then treated like some sort of leper.  Many who ask for help are then labeled “less than” and then ignored for the most part.  Unless they also happen to be a good tither.  This is what the “church” does when they don’t understand the person or the problem.  I am certain there are some “churches” out there who do help and understand, but for the most part this is not true.  And it is not just the “churches” that don’t understand, it is society in general.

Back in 1992 when I was working as a psychiatric technician in a lock down unit we admitted a young woman who was very disturbed and depressed after a suicide attempt.  She was not fooling around either.  Instead of slashing horizontally on her wrists she did so vertically down the length of her forearms.  It was a miracle she did not bleed out and die.  The reason behind that drastic attempt was that her “church” told her that her secular music collection was the root of her mental illness and they forced their way into her apartment took her collection and burned it all right in front of her.  She was obsessed with John Lennon and owned everything he ever released including all the works of the Beatles.  They had to hold her down as they destroyed her many years of work collecting these albums.  That totally wrong and insensitive action really freaked her out and drove her deeper into depression and resulted in her attempting to take her own life.  I got to work with her several weeks at the unit and near the end of her stay I was led to simply share Jesus with her.  She responded well and received her freedom in Christ that very day.  Because I earned her trust and did not try to change or manipulate her in any way, we are still in touch all these years later.  In fact she now lives in the same apartment complex as I do.  She still struggles at times, but Jesus has made a HUGE difference in her life.

So how can we help the suffering?  Mostly by listening and allowing people to tell their own whole story.  If they can get what is bothering them off their chest it helps immensely.  If you are a totally engaged listener you are far more likely to be trusted than those who only listen in part because they feel they need to supply immediate feedback and an antidote.  We need to show love and appropriate concern, but the truth is that this does not take a whole lot of words on our behalf and surely not in the beginning.  After we have heard their story and prayed about it, we can then give them comforting words and support.  Remember Proverbs where it says, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver is the timely spoken word.”

This is a HUGE topic and I am not an expert by any means, but I hope what I have shared here helps some.  When you pray for someone it is vitally important that we only pray as the Spirit leads us.  In most cases I am not equipped to give expert advice.  So I hold back on what I think I want to say and instead hopefully say only what God desires me too.  Thanks to all those who called to encourage me, I really appreciate it.  Let me stress this one more time….NEVER underestimate the value of listening.  To both God and those you seek to serve.

Love and….

Kirk Out !

p.s.  Sometimes folks need more than prayer or wise counsel.  At times they may need medication and medical support.  Pray about it and don’t play doctor.  If you feel they may need professional help, call and help them make an appointment.  If possible drive them there yourself.  It is important to be there for them before, during, and after the healing process. Sometimes a friend is just exactly what they needed all along.

 

 

 

 

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7 Comments
  1. daryl permalink

    This is truly a blessed writing that will encourage many of us to “have eyes to see,and ears to hear”.Occasionally at my job,I meet truck drivers.Recently I met one that I would ask all to pray for.He was hurting.A little over a year ago,his only 2 grandsons committed suicide within 3 months of each other.It grieved me to not be able to talk with him more,but it just wasn’t possible at work.His name is “Mark”.Hopefully,I see him again.

  2. phariseeinrecovery permalink

    Wonderful post. In our fellowship we had mostly depressed ex heroine addicts and alcoholics. We tried our best.

    Recently I had two people talking suicide who have made a complete recovery thanks to the Lord. All glory to the Lord, glory belongs to him alone.

    Recently, a friend was totally overwhelmed and depressed because of a bad job situation, bad health and while in this state, his wife leaves him.

    He was at the end of his rope. The lord put it in our heart to pour the love on.

    First thing my wife did was cook him a dinner which I delivered, he wasn’t very sociable at the time.
    This person was seething with all the anger and self hate we find in depressed people. He had become a black hole of negativity and cynisism. The Lord put in our heart to tell him to give himself one minute of peace.

    We told him that for 60 seconds a day he was going to have his inner voice speak lovingly and kindly to himself.

    We also told him that when he felt life was too much and when his anxiety overcame him to repeat “God is love”–1 John 4:7

    Over a course of months this man has been reborn? Revitalized and all by the power of God.

    Thanks for sharing a real story!

    • What a wonderful example of love, prayer and patience. Thanks for sharing Phariseeinrecovery

  3. Duane permalink

    In my experience of being in the mental health field, I to have stories were churches, especially those that are ungoverned, that made individuals with mental issues far worse by their words and actions. Most people forget that no matter what is going on in that other persons life that they are still beings created by God, loved by God, and valued by God. The most important thing you can do for anyone who is in need is to sit next to them be ready to help, listen or protect them. But like it says in Corinthians if you do it with out Agapee then it will not be near as valuable as it could be. That meas seeing the person in need as God sees and values them.

  4. I don’t have much experience in this area, but some. Listen👍❤️ With the heart and to Gods leading…..great advice. Hate the part about church rejecting and doing their own therapy so wrongly. But it is what it is. Like you say, Chris, don’t go to church, be the church👍. Ever learning…..

  5. Wow, Amen to what everyone is saying here, such mature wisdom!

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