As I was making a mosaic, I realized that I had broken a plate and there was one lone sheep separate from all the rest. Matthew 18:12-14 came to mind. When struggling with a mental illness or addiction yourself or as a bystander, you often feel very lost. You feel separated from God and from community. Often, people leave the church because we feel ashamed of our struggles. On the other side, we as the church body we often pile on that shame by saying you haven’t prayed enough, read enough scripture, or repented enough and that is why you have this mental health issue. That is not what God models to us in this passage. He doesn’t want anyone to be lost. He goes after them and gently and lovingly brings them back to the flock, rejoicing in their return. Whatever side we are on, in the front lines of a mental battle or part of the body, there is a message for us. God calls us to be in community- when we are struggling and when we are not. He calls us to lovingly go after those that are struggling not with a shaming, heavy hand, but with compassion. He calls us to be led back when we have been lost. He calls us to trust when our loved ones are lost that He is pursuing them. May we all be challenged to look at our own hearts today as we ponder what He models!


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