For this blog post, I am going to focus on these two lines from the Gospel of Mark (3:20, 22):
“Jesus came HOME with his disciples…. When his relatives heard of this, they set out to seize him, for they said, ‘He is out of his mind.’”
So, the event of coming back home for Jesus was not one marked with joy, acceptance, and love. How ironic, and yet in some ways how sadly typical, that his own relatives labeled Jesus as ‘out of his mind.’
Therefore, if anyone has ever told you that YOU are out of your mind, you are in good company with Jesus!
But of course, Jesus was very much in his right mind. It is the mind of Jesus, as well as his heart, that provide our best examples for living. Indeed, to have the heart and thoughts of the Lord Jesus is what we all attempt to strive for, day by day.
However, the relatives of Jesus apparently did not see it that way. They judged him for being different… perhaps they were threatened by the big following he had; maybe they didn’t appreciate his uniqueness; and sadly for them, they did not want to learn from this man who was also Divine.
We also may have experienced times in life when we were not understood. Because of daring to be different, we also may have been called putdown names such as ‘crazy’ and ‘out of our minds.’ Please know that it is okay to be different, and that each and every one of us is unique.
In our modern day, with advances in psychiatry, we know there are real biological conditions, referred to as mental illnesses, that have to do with brain chemistry and the uptake of neurotransmitters. These illnesses can be helped through appropriately prescribed medications. Mental illness diagnoses are more common than many might think. In fact, in most church congregations, there is a prevalence of approximately 1 out of every 4 or 5 people sitting in the pews suffering from some form of mental illness.
So please note, having a mental illness is not a sign of weak character, a punishment from God, a sign of being possessed by the devil (as Jesus was accused of), an indicator of poorly developed faith, or a lack of trying.
We need to be respectful with our language (unlike how Jesus’ relatives spoke of him!), and it can help so much if we are willing to be open to talking about mental health. We also need to be supportive of the struggle and recovery of others, by encouraging others to seek the help they may need.
Another situation where we might personally feel like we are “out of our minds” is in the midst of grief. Each one of us grieves our life losses differently. Sometimes we can go through periods where we would like to cry, but we can’t. Other times it may seem like we cry continuously, and we wish we could stop. All kinds of grief reactions are normal, and are a sign of great love. However, grieving is hard work, and at times you may wonder if you will ever again be back to your “right mind”… whatever that might be! By grieving, you actually will not go back to normal, so to speak, but will grow into a new normal. And you come to realize you will survive. But please, reach out for help… perhaps through a counselor, a support group, your pastor, or a chaplain.
Remember that the shortest but one of the most profound verses in Scripture is “Jesus wept.” Jesus too experienced grief… in this verse Jesus cried in response to the death of a friend.. and He was not afraid to show his feelings. Such truth there is in the song, “What a friend we have in Jesus.” Jesus truly “gets us.” Allow Jesus into your thoughts and hearts, and he will help guide you.