Monday, September 15, 2014

Ignorance is not BLISS.

"...I persecuted his people.  But God had mercy on me because I did it in ignorance and unbelief."  1 Tim. 1:13b

Have you heard any of these words?

I don’t believe in mental illness. – translation – There’s nothing wrong with your child.

It must be spiritual warfare. – translation – Their mental health is only tied to their sin.

Have you tried a parenting class? – translation – You’re not doing such a great job at parenting.

You just need to discipline them more. – translation – Again, you need major help with your parenting skills.

Just make them get out of bed.. – translation – They can easily get up in the morning just like anyone else that doesn’t deal with depression even though your child has chronic depression.

Why don’t you talk to a counselor again? – translation – You really need some help and are clueless.

Can you believe they won’t let their son live with them? – translation – You are an uncaring parent that won’t help your child out when they “really” need you.

Let’s see if we can “help” you by taking your child for a little while. – translation- We need to get your child away from you because all of their issues with life are because of you and we can “fix” them.

When your child has a mental health diagnosis you indeed do hear many of these statements and so much more.  I know I have heard all of them and many others when it came to our son, David.  What got me the most though is that many of them came from my fellow Christians.  That can make it especially painful.  

The verse above talks about showing mercy to those that say these things or worse yet, do things because of their ignorance.  Paul is shown mercy even though he actually killed Christians before his conversion.  Shouldn’t I do the same? 

Some say ignorance is bliss.  Well I don’t think the early Christians would say that or anyone that has to continually justify their decisions when it comes to their special needs child.  Whether it be a mental health diagnosis, hemophilia, or anything else, there are many hurtful things that we special needs parents hear in any given day. 

What are we going to do with the ignorant remarks that come our way?  Self-examination may even show us areas that we are speaking out of ignorance as well.  Will we show mercy?  I would like to think I do, but that is not always true.  I may not directly bash the other person, but what about gossiping with my friends that understand my struggle? 

I know I’ve got a ways to go.  How about you?

Prayer:  Lord, Help me to show mercy when others show their ignorance about my child’s condition through their words or actions.  Also, show me where I am acting out of ignorance in ways that don’t honor you.  Lastly, help me to know when to not share my situation with some people.

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Photo courtesy of  fotographic1980, published on 25 July 2012
Stock Image - image ID: 10094137


  1. Some days I can handle it mercifully, and some days it's the last straw...I know that WE are made more empathetic and aware of the type of pain that comes when we or our children are judged...let what breaks Jesus's heart break ours too so we can be more like him and respond more like him. xo

  2. Well said Tammie. I thought of the song with those very words when I read your comments.