my mental battles aren’t excuses
Before I get started, one disclaimer: I am not a certified counselor or professional in mental health. Just a living, breathing, non-quitting bipolar-with-suicide-ideation Christian. One thing I used to do and observe others doing is using our mental struggles as an excuse or justification to hurt others. I don’t like that I have done this. And when I bounced my behavior off God’s word, I was convicted. In the bible, Paul wrote, “I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.” (2 Cor. 12:7-8) From this text, I learned that Paul was tormented. Like Paul, some of us are mentally tormented. However, what I gleaned from the subtext, is that PAUL says HE has a thorn. He owns it. He embraces it. He gives it to God. What Paul does not say is that his “thorn” is mine, yours ours. It’s HIS thorn. And as the text continues, God used it to display His grace and power (2 Cor. 12:9). Sometimes, I’ve been tempted to say, “But I can’t help it. It’s just the way my mind is.” But that doesn’t line up with God’s word either. The bible says that we take our thoughts captive. My thoughts are not my master if Jesus is my Savior. The bible also says the greatest commandment is, “love your neighbors and your enemies.” And love does *not* mean I use my “thorn” to hurt others with it. I hope you know my heart. I know firsthand, the struggle (in the mind) is real. But I also hope this honesty encourages someone to join me in being the best we can be with it.