I love it when I hear a sermon that makes me think about a passage of Scripture differently. That happened to me two Sundays ago with a sermon on 1 John 1:5-10.
This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
I’ve read this passage countless times, and I’ve always felt a little guilty. I thought that my depression meant that I was living in darkness, that I wasn’t close enough to God. But my pastor gave me a different perspective on this. He said that living in the light means living exposed, real, and vulnerable–it means living openly, being honest about your life, your struggles, your relationship with God.
And I can’t explain the peace that came over me with this realization.
Coming out as mentally ill has allowed me to live in the light in a way that I hadn’t experienced before, and reading this passage with fresh insight was so encouraging.
I’m not saying that if you aren’t acknowledging your mental illness then you’re living in darkness. It takes time. It’s a process. But there’s a freedom that comes with living out in the open and seeking the help that you need.
Nothing is worse than feeling like you’re alone, that you can’t be real with yourself and with those around you.
Integrity grows the kingdom.
If you have a story about mental illness—whether personal or concerning a loved one—please consider sharing your experience. Even if you aren’t at a place yet where you feel comfortable disclosing your name, the church body needs your voice. Let’s shine a light on the darkness, together.