Friday, April 11, 2014

Day 33 of Lent, Friday, April 11, 2014

“I believe; help my unbelief!”

       Father of a boy with an unclean spirit as shared in Mark 9:14-29

We don't do very well as a culture with mental illness.  It is stigmatized and most people refuse to get help for minor ailments because they believe that to do so indicates weakness.

Sometimes we see mental illness erupt in violence such as in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. Sixteen year old Alex Hribal is being charged with stabbing 21 of his classmates on Wednesday.  

Most have so far described him as a nice kid.  He didn't seem to be a loner and made good grades. It didn't appear that he was bullied.

Not a lot of clues have surfaced as of this writing for a motive.

To be honest, I would like a motive.  I want to make sense of this.  If he was bullied or had a history of mental illness, that would help.  If his parents were divorcing or if he had a bad break-up - something!

When a fellow human being does something so random, it is disturbing because we can't counter it.

The next best thing we can do is to punish it.

We want to send a message so others won't do the same thing.

And so he is being charged as an adult.

I think about my own children who are a few years away from his age.  I want to keep them safe from these kind of rampages.  But I also would want to get them help if they had a breakdown like this.

As I consider teens suffering from mental illness, I don't think that they contemplate whether or not they'll be charged as adults before acting out in violence.  In fact, I don't think they look at consequences at all.

If we truly want to redeem those who are ill, we need to do a better job of removing the stigmas of counseling and therapy.

Lighting a candle for those who are suffering.
We are complex people but we also believe that God's love is constant.  I pray for all those who suffered physically from this attack on Wednesday.  As I pray for their trauma, I also include those wounds that damaged them mentally or emotionally or spiritually.  I pray that they'll embrace forgiveness as it leads to healing.

I also pray for Alex Hribal.  I would like to hope that he will get the help he needs.  To be honest, I'm kind of doubtful that he'll get it.  But my faith tells me that God is still at work in his life.  Is he redeemable?

I believe!  God, help my unbelief.

Photo by Arivumathi (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons

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