A pouting child is a picture of….How would you finish that sentence?
Rejection. Isolation. Exclusion.
“What did I do?” “No fair.” Children understand when they are unfairly judged or excluded for no apparent reason. But that doesn’t make them feel any better. Those emotional scars can last a lifetime.
Throughout history entire groups have been unfairly ostracized and persecuted. The Israelites, Jews, and blacks.
Perhaps you feel ostracized. Excluded, ignored, banished, left out. Has mental illness (MI) made you feel like a cast away. Discarded. Shunned.
Like victims of bullying, you feel shame. Convinced you did something to deserve it. Taunted by unfair thoughts: Maybe if I was a better parent.
But deep down inside you know you’re trying the best you can to help your child who has MI. You’re struggling to keep peace in your home and love in your marriage.
In the midst of all you’re dealing with, shame needn’t be one of the challenges.
According to the online Oxford Dictionaries, shame is defined as: “a person, action, or situation that brings a loss of respect or honor.”
MI: the situation that robs us of respect or honor. We feel shame because society still misunderstands MI. We feel judged by people who have no idea what we’re enduring. Shame on them!
Oxford Dictionaries also defines shame as: “a painful feeling of humiliation or distress caused by the consciousness of wrong or foolish behavior.”
Surely, our shame can cause us to feel humiliated. Others make us feel like we’re to blame for some reason. Shame on us for believing that lie.
The truth is MI is an illness. Behavior management techniques employed by other parents won’t work with a child whose actions are a reflection of unstable thinking or fragile emotions.
It’s not so easy to just…
- Tell a clinically depressed child to, “Snap out of it.”
- Expect an anorexic child to, “Sit there until you finish your meal.”
- Require the explosive child with a bipolar disorder to, “Calm down and relax.”
- Punish a child experiencing a psychotic episode for his violent and bizarre behaviors.
My resolve: to fight feelings of needless shame. And to seek encouragement from God’s Word.
“I have chosen the way of faithfulness; I have set my heart on your laws. I hold fast to your statutes, Lord; do not let me be put to shame (Psalm 119:30-32).”
“May the arrogant be put to shame for wronging me without cause; but I will meditate on your precepts (Psalm 119:78).”
“Because the Sovereign Lord helps me, I will not be disgraced. Therefore have I set my face like flint, and I know I will not be put to shame (Isaiah 50:7).”
I’ve learned to ignore assumptions made by others whose lives aren’t touched by MI. I no longer care what others think. Years of judgment from others taught me to be a God-pleaser. God sees the long-suffering, gentleness, and unconditional love I extend to Chris. My heavenly Father cares more about the fruit of the spirit in my life rather than the dust on my furniture. He knows I’m doing my best to honor Him in my parenting.
Bottom line: Christ knows the truth. And He experienced shame.
“…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).”
Call on Him to rescue you from needless shame. Fall on the throne of God and leave it there. May Hillson’s
“Came to my Rescue” be the cry of your heart.