I read a heart-rending story over at Rachel Held Evans’ blog which I feel so compelled to link up to, as I’m sure the story resonates with many who have been through/going through an addiction, eating disorder, or mental health problems, yet have felt so alone in the midst of their faith community:
“I’m not sure when my brother died.
It’s tricky because while in some ways he’s very much alive – he breathes, eats, sleeps and has temporal mass –in others he is a walking ghost.
For at least the last decade and arguably several years longer, my baby brother has been an addict. Alcohol, women, opiates – he dabbles in many vices. All of them destructive. All of them expensive in myriads of ways. All of them symptoms of larger problems no professional can seem to accurately assess, diagnose or cure…
We are not a periphery family. My parents were close friends with much of our pastoral staff at the church I grew up in. In the past decade I have been a youth worker at several churches, worked at various faith-based nonprofits, served as a missionary and was a seminary student. The faith community is central to the bedrock of our family.
And yet people of faith have routinely sucked.
I have been told his addiction is my fault, my parent’s fault, Satan’s fault. I have been told I am simply not praying hard enough or I simply do not have enough faith. I have been told my life is too stressful for someone to be in community with me. I have been accused of being a bad youth worker since I couldn’t even keep my brother out of trouble. I have been told this is God’s plan for our family and if we just keep persevering, God’s glory will be known and it will all be worth it. I have been told that my suffering at my brother’s choice is simply “my cross to bear.”
None of that was helpful.
None of that was loving.
None of it was the correct response”.
Do click on the link above and check it out.