Lathan Craft is a pastor and author discussing mental health and Christianity and how responding with empathy should look.
Mental Health and Christianity
Mental health and Christianity are often seen as two separate things.
Christians sometimes fall into the trap of thinking that we must live lives without struggles, especially if it is related to mental health like depression, anxiety, or grief. It is important to realize that such stigmas related to mental health and the treatment for mental health create the modern-day leper in our churches.
Some of the things we do as Christians that do more harm include quoting scripture like it is cough syrup or a quick fix, prophesying over someone who is grieving at the moment, judging someone’s lifestyle when what they need is someone to be present as they go through their mental health journey.
Mental health should not be seen as a dirty word, but rather as something that should be open and talked about more. Christians need to be more open about mental health because mental illness does not discriminate. Mental illness affects people from all walks of life, including Christians.
Christians can do a better job of supporting those who suffer from mental illness. We need to be more open about mental health, and we need to break the stigma that mental illness is a sign of weakness.
We need to be there for our brothers and sisters in Christ who are going through mental health struggles, just as they would be there for us. We also need to be present for those who are not believers in Jesus Christ as ambassadors of Him.
Mental health and Christianity are not two separate things, but rather they are intertwined. We need to start talking about mental health in our churches, and we need to start supporting those who suffer from mental illness. Mental health should not be a dirty word, and Christians should not be afraid to talk about mental health.
Check out this article from Our Daily Bread about mental health and Christianity.
Responding with Empathy
When mental health is brought up in conversation, it’s not always easy to know how to respond. As ambassadors of Jesus Christ, we have an opportunity to respond with empathy. But what is empathy?
Empathy is the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. It’s about being able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and feel what they’re feeling. When we respond with empathy, we let the person know that we understand what they’re going through and that we care.
If you’re not sure how to respond to someone who is dealing with mental health issues, here are a few things you can do:
- Listen without judgment.
- Ask questions and let the person talk
- Avoid giving advice unless asked.
- Offer support and resources.
- Let the person know you care.
Responding with empathy can be difficult, but it’s so important. We all need to feel understood and cared for, especially when we’re going through tough times. So let’s be the champions of empathy in our world. It could make all the difference for someone struggling with mental health issues.
In This Episode
- What was a leper of the Old Testament of the Bible
- What is The Leper in the Church, Lathan Craft’s book about modern-day lepers
- Talking about stigmas related to mental health
- How we should go deeper with using scripture for wisdom rather than cough syrup
- Being present without the sense we need to solve someone’s problem – pulling up a chair and not a Bible verse or idiom
- How to pray for those enduring a tough season, pain, or loss
- Getting rid of the stigma of modern medicine to treat mental health
- Acting and responding with compassion for those who are struggling
- Becoming aware of having a lack of compassion
- Jesus demonstrated to us how to grieve for others
- Meeting people right where they are
- Why you should not “prophesy” over someone who is grieving
- Communicating with non-Christians in an authentic, compassionate way
- Sacrificing your schedule to meet those in need
Lathan W. Craft is an International Best-Selling Author and highly-respected speaker. He is the host of the nationally-recognized podcast ‘The Other Side of the Church’ which features regular guests such as Matthew West, Blanca, and Bob Goff – whom Lathan has also worked closely with.
Lathan has been featured on various podcasts and radio shows such as The Crappy Christian Podcast, Are You Real? Podcast, and Faith Positive Radio.
He is the founder of Made for Purpose, a coaching and consulting business helping people work in their design and description. He is the founder of A Heartbeat From Hope, a non-profit organization giving individualized hope to the most hopeless of places. He is also the founder of After-Words, helping writers write their stories before it’s too late.
Lathan has degrees and is highly esteemed in Psychology, Counseling, Leadership, and Ministry. He has been regarded as an expert in belonging, ostracization, and the power of words. Ultimately, Lathan has devoted his life to researching and articulating the importance of belonging, and how words truly can change the world.
Resources and Links
Get a copy of The Leper in the Church: Stories from the Unseen from Amazon today. (Affiliate link)
Related Past Episodes of Beyond the Rut
Host, Editing, and Production: Jerry Dugan