Never Forget the Person

Meaning and Relationships

Extreme mental illnesses can be unnerving. We don’t always know what to do for someone who’s mentally unstable, but we know God calls us to love the broken and speak truth to the sick. Dr. David Powlison explains how God equips Christians to offer meaning and relationships to those who desperately need it.

Dr. David Powlison  teaches at the Christian Counseling and Educational Foundation (CCEF) and edits The Journal of Biblical Counseling. His books include Speaking Truth in Love, Seeing with New Eyes, Power Encounters, and The Biblical Counseling Movement: History and Context.

People with extreme mental problems can often intimidate us. David explained that we should avoid labels because they can cause us to think a person with a certain mental illness cannot be loved or hear the truth. Instead, we should pursue loving relationships with them. 

What’s your gut reaction when you encounter someone with a severe mental disorder? Why do you think you react that way?
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David said we should always remember that every person bears the image of God—whether they’re healthy or not. How does his statement strike you? Why?
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David pointed out that even secular scholars acknowledge the human need for meaning and relationship. How have you seen that to be true in your own life? How has God provided meaning and relationships for you?
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In what ways could you apply David’s teaching in how you build relationships with struggling people this week?
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All people bear God’s image, even those with extreme mental illnesses. If you know someone with a severe mental condition, pray for them this week. Ask God to show you ways you can be a good friend to them. If you counsel people on a regular basis, think of ways you can show your patients their meaning in Christ. 

To learn more about The Biblical Counseling Coalition, click here