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For the past few weeks, I have been preaching a sermon series on forgiveness. I, like many people I know, have personally struggled with this and I feel it is an important topic to discuss. Forgiveness is part of our overall spiritual and emotional wellbeing and a necessary component of our growth as disciples. I think it’s one of those things we gloss over in Christian circles with the assumption we know what it is and we know how to do it. In truth, we could use a lot more practice with it. Teaching on the subject the past few weeks has me thinking about healing in general but specifically about healing in relation to mental health. 

Throughout the recent pandemic, our conference has stressed the idea of mental health awareness, which I think is needed. The current pandemic has caused issues for everyone, each of us reacting or not reacting to the changing circumstances of our lives. It has created personal and political divides among families and communities. This creates what feels like constant friction or the perception (from the various prominent media groups) of friction. People find themselves edgy and reactive to the slightest provocation on certain subjects. I think this edginess has highlighted an awareness of mental health needs that many didn’t realize they needed to address.

At the end of my sermon on Sunday I was talking about forgiveness as a process we work through and said, 

And it’s not a one shot and you’re done kind of thing. We may need to seek out good counseling. There is nothing wrong with seeking help from those trained as therapists. It is no different than going to a doctor for a physical ailment. We may need to talk to pastors or spiritual directors. It may be that what is bothering you, the unforgiveness you feel is rooted to something spiritual. The point is we will have to work at it, do the hard work of heart searching and soul searching.

I think the idea of speaking with counselors and spiritual directors is a wise practice. I once had an older fellow minister tell me we should go once a year to a counselor at a minimum just to process everything pastors deal with over a year. I think this is wise advice for anyone. It’s a good thing to work through the things that bother us with a counselor or spiritual advisor. Sometimes these things are simple and can be dealt with in a short span of time. Other times, we are dealing with deep seated, painful issues from our past that have gone unresolved. These situations may take long and require a professional. In either case, find someone with an outside perspective to help you walk through these things. 

The goal of salvation is our complete wholeness and restoration. Sometimes God brings others into our lives help us. Don’t be afraid to seek out those God uses as healers to help you to good health and wellness.