I was blessed to receive this letter by email from my good friend Rod. As you will see, he is passionate about this subject. I asked for permission to publish it here and he and his precious wife Ann agreed wholeheartedly.
Dear Pastor Scott
When you referred us to scottythinks.com during this last Sunday’s message, I took the opportunity to look further down the page at other articles. There I noticed your article, “Yes, Virginia, Christians and Even Pastors Can Suffer with Depression and Anxiety.” I immediately pointed it out to Ann, of course, and we both were fairly astonished. Of course, we were more than just curious, but also, obviously interested in reading the article.
I and Ann have both read the article and last night Ann gave it to our daughter Rebecca to read. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and to encourage you for writing such an article. I don’t know what kind of comments or support or lack thereof you’ve received but I wanted you to know we absolutely applaud and support your boldness in writing it. Ann and I have often spoken about how, after I spoke at the Men’s ministry a couple of years back, many people came up to me and shared their struggle. And frankly Pastor, the church in general, and SGT in particular, is not doing enough in this area. Your article makes that quite clear. However, change begins with someone taking the first step in faith to speak truth.
I and Ann are often just perplexed at some of the comments we receive when she or I have spoken to others about her or Rebecca’s battle with mental illness. “Have you prayed?” is often the first question. It practically borders on the ridiculous to ask or even answer that question because of what it implies. Having said all of that however, I and Ann want to thank you and your precious wife, without whose loving support I’m certain you had, for courageously being the first to speak out. And I personally recommit myself to doing whatever it takes to move this so very important topic forward. If that means speaking to all of the Pastors, I would be more than happy to take that step.
As I write this email, I’m slightly overwhelmed with tears as I think of my amazing wife and daughter and others like yourself who have to struggle to gain the support of the church writ large. But I know that change is coming. I’m reminded of Pastor Rick Warren and how the death of his son so enlightened him and what that’s meant for his church and those who battle mental illness. And it starts with one bold Pastor willing to speak up and speak out. Thank you and God bless you for being the one.
Categories: Anxiety and Depression, The Church
Thank you Pastor Scott for posting Rod’s letter. As you know I too have suffered with depression and so have three of my four children.It is not a subject many find easy to talk about. I have shared in my classes at SGT and whenever I get a chance.It would be comforting to others who struggle to know the church doesn’t condemn them. Hopefully the book I have written will bless those who need it.
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Oh Ann. I agree, we need SGT’s support. There are churches all across the United States that are dealing with Mental Illness in the aftermath of either their Pastor’s death or a beloved congregant’s death. I know FOR A FACT FIRSTHAND after Rodney’s presentation on Mental Illness at a Men’s meeting, that SGT has more congregants than they have any idea of who are suffering in silence due to fear of being condemned. I’ve witnessed, personally, every Sunday many men, STILL….even though Rod’s presentation was February 2017……they STILL come up to him and want to share their stories…..their struggles with Mental Illness (either it’s them or a close family member) and their looking for resources. Something has to be done. There should be a special group that meets regularly (sort of like Celebrate Recovery) dealing with the MANY forms of Mental Illness. Men AND women should not have to suffer in silence anymore.
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