“The eye through which I see God is the same eye through which God sees me; my eye and God’s eye are one eye, one seeing, one knowing, one love.” – Meister Eckhart
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* Trigger warning in case of depression *
(I am no expert on depression and mental illness but I am about to comment on the topic, so please be kind to yourself if you are struggling and know I am hoping to be helpful and not hurtful. Please do not read further if this could is troubling in any way.)
Night and day among the tombs and on the hillsides he was always crying out and bruising himself with stones. Catching sight of Jesus from a distance, he ran up and prostrated himself before him, crying out in a loud voice, “What have you to do with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?”
The man Jesus encountered living among tombs was believed to be possessed by demons.
I have no idea if that was literally true or if he was simply mentally ill.
People who were mentally ill would have been assumed to be possessed back in those days.
It’s very symbolic that the man is roaming among the dead.
How many people today are in similar straits?
How many are in the depths of despair over life experiences, injustices done to them, or simply due to mental illness?
Just as this man was bruising himself with stones, troubled people today are known to cut themselves.
Do we ignore such people or do we help them?
Jesus goes to help this man despite the troubling circumstances.
Like a chaplain, he comes along side this man in his pain and suffering.
How many people today are at risk of suicide or even hurting others because we as a society turn away from them?
The man goes on to tell Jesus his name is Legion meaning there are “many of us.”
Are these the many voices that have belittled this man or have told him in so many ways that he was not loved?
Jesus does not abandon him but, wonder of wonders, shows compassion to him and orders the “unclean spirit” to leave him.
Jesus includes the man among the beloveds of God.
Loving presence and compassion were Jesus’ remedies.
Perhaps instead of judging those who are acting out of their pain, we would do well to come alongside them.
Sure, it’s risky.
But what would Jesus do?
Listen to the song of the day “There Are Three” on the Mercy Reigns album by clicking HERE.
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Remember: God loves you!