This starts a series of posts from good friends who are gifted writers – much better than me.
They have different backgrounds and come from all around the world. Here is Josh’s (http://joshfox.co.uk/) offering.
Mark 5:2-5 “When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him. This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones”
Out of all the people that Jesus healed and loved, this demon possessed man in chains was the only one he purposefully sought out, all others came to him. Jesus was always open to people coming to him to be healed, but he never pursued them…except for this one time. This one time Jesus went out of his way, he crossed a lake and traveled through a storm to get to this man. Once he had healed him he just went straight back over to the other side to continue his work.
Why did Jesus go out of his way for this man? Why out of all the people he healed did he pursue this one person? Because he was a lost cause. This man had no capacity to pursue Jesus, he had no capacity to have faith, unless someone reached out to him he would have no chance of freedom. The mentally unstable are often the ones who need most attention, they often do not have the capacity to pursue faith. They need someone to lead them, direct them and usher them into a life with God.
We believe in reaching out to the lonely, the broken and the hurting, we preach about it all the time, but in our minds we only imagine reaching the ones who are… ‘normal’. Not the weirdos, not the crazy people, not the ones who creep us out, not the mentally unstable. We are very comfortable reaching people for God, but perhaps only comfortable with those who have a reasonable degree of sanity?
These kind of people are the ones who need our love the most, but the sad thing is they are often last to receive it. Why? Because mental instability is our modern-day leprosy, we are scared of it, we don’t understand it, it un-nerves us and creeps us out. They are the people that we quickly move away from, that we avoid in the streets, those we hope they don’t sit next to us on the bus.
Jesus was willing to touch the leper, but are we willing to reach out and touch the lives of the mentally unstable?