Tuesday: The Lowest of the Low

Read Mark 5:1-20. Compare this man’s situation with the plight of modern homeless people. Compare his description with that of mentally ill patients. What similarities and differences exist? How does modern society treat people who suffer from mental illness? What explains Christ’s admonition to publicize the event, though He consistently counsels others to maintain secrecy?

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

Image © Providence Collection from GoodSalt.com

From the perspective of many of us today, it’s hard to imagine someone in such a horrific state, living in a cemetery even. Though some argue that this man was merely insane, the text teaches otherwise. (Besides, how does that idea fit with that which happened to the pigs?)

A crucial point for us in this story is that no one, no matter how deranged – whether from demon possession, mental illness, drug use, whatever – is to be ignored. In some cases, professional help is needed and should be given when possible.

As Christians we must remember that Christ died for everyone, and even those whom we might deem to be beyond our help still deserve as much mercy and respect and kindness as possible. Besides, who are we to judge anyone to be a hopeless case, to be beyond the power of God? From our perspective things can look bad, but from God’s perspective every human being is of infinite worth. Were it not for the Cross, all our cases would be hopeless, a point worth remembering as we confront very disturbed and damaged people.

Dwell on some of the people you know who are truly in bad shape, whether mentally, spiritually, or physically, and for whatever reason. Try to view them in the way that you think our unconditionally loving God views them. Besides praying for them, what can you do, in any way, to minister to their needs and show them something of the love of God?



Tuesday: The Lowest of the Low — 16 Comments

  1. The King of Kings came to save sinners like myself. I am at the bottom and my God has saved and loves me more than people around me who judge me and others like myself. Even those who profess to love me, look at me with scorn because I have been homeless a very long time, even with multiple children. Thank you Loving God for being my Shelter in the storm.

    • Sally Ann, yes, God loves us all unconditionally. I am praying that God will continue to bless you and your children. May you know peace and joy whatever the situation. Remember God is more than able.

  2. Its really difficult to do the right thing, I always see wen people look at me, take my comments, respond to my questions, but wen I rebuke or say anything about it, they wuld say I think wong about them. But then also I really see it in me sometimes wen I look at those mayb worse than my state, n I always try to stop it but its so hard, pray Jesus 2 help us!

  3. The fact that we can all fall victims of being mentally ill at a certain degree, its the very reason why we should be in position to help those who are in such condition, this is our role as Christians to always be there for them because the matter of the fact is they need our support.

  4. It is interesting that Jesus doesn't just take his new disciple and leave the area. Even though they asked him to leave the town, Christ still leaves a missionary behind to reach the people.

  5. It is interesting to note that we do categorize ourselves as poor, rich, ordinary, holier, sinners and so on. When choosing who to associate with, we go by those classes of people. If u feel rich u associate urself with rich people and so on! Jesus is setting a good example here by associating himself with a lunatic! How awesome is that? From last weeks' lesson, we learnt that he descipled the ordinary, the common and so on! We should also strive to do the same in order to continue what Jesus started! With that we, we will fulfill his will!

  6. Something notable in this story is the fact that, despite being possessed by a legion of demons, the man throws himself at Jesus' feet. The demons speak through him to the Lord they had known and loved before Satan had deceived them. They could easily have had the demoniac attack Jesus but instead he worships him. Another madman comes to mind, King Nebuchadnezzar. In the depth of his madness he called to God and acknowledged him as Creator - and God restored his kingdom to him. In the depth of the demoniac's madness his will for salvation overcame Satan's power over him and Jesus crossed the sea of Galilee to redeem him and to release him for a work only he could do to God's glory.

  7. It is truly amazing to see that many of those we consider 'outcasts' either because of their physical or mental state, who will be saved, when they meet or call on Jesus. Yet on the other hand there are many "intelligent", "financially secure" people who will be lost simply because they refused to call on Him.

  8. We should be compassionate as the great example set by Christ, just the fact, we are all one paycheck away from been homeless, and one bad situation from becoming mentally ill

  9. We all as Christians need to look at one another through God's eyes. We have to remember God died for us al. We are not here to judge but to be judged. So let's love one another and let the love of God shine in us and through us.

  10. [Moderator's Note: We require full names when commenting. In this case we understand the commentator needs to protect the identity of her neighbor who needs prayer. In most all other cases please use full name when commenting. Thank you.]

    I have a neighbor whose 30 yr daughter has extreme fear that someone is after her to murder her. She refuses to take any medication and reads books on spiritualism. The mother asks us Christians to pray. Please pray for her daughter. They are not Christians. I don't know how to help besides prayer.

  11. We have a number of people living in our area who are developmentally disadvantaged. Some of them are unable to read and write. Many of them, while they can live in society do not have any sense of social awareness. They will want to visit at 10pm, or will want help beyond the amount of time that normal people would ask. They also take offense easily and can become quite dangerous when that happens. Dealing with such folk becomes quite difficult at times because one has to decide where to draw the line.

    The issue is compounded when their behavior reaches the stage where police have to be called. One of these folk recently poured petrol over himself out on the street and we ended up with the police, fire brigade and ambulance attending.

    Dealing with such people is a complex issue and drawing the line between providing Christian love and calling the appropriate authorities is not easy. One needs to understand however that Christian understanding must include the responsibility of knowing when it is time to take the appropriate action. I have found that the best practice so far is to make it very clear where the boundaries of social interaction are. One of these developmentally disadvantaged persons has a computer, and I have been called many times to fix their computer for them. I could spend half my life at their place fixing their computer and tutoring them how to use it. I make a point of setting out clearly what I will and won't do. So far it has seemed to work. Other neighbours have not been so clear and they have ending up being perceived as enemies.

    Doing the Christian thing is more than just being kind to people like this. It always requires a sense of practical responsibility, and sometimes that means doing the tough thing like calling the police.

  12. Recently we had a visitor almost take over our church service as the young man presenting our service was inexperienced in dealing with this type of person. The visitor was very intent on giving us a message that "eating meat was wrong" he was very adamant and quoted many Bible verses, when he finally understood that we were on a different topic he left as he handed out his fliers on not eating meat. This did give us a chance to come together as a group to decide how to handle these type of interruptions. It is sad to think we sometimes need a "Bouncer" at church!

    How we handle the unruly is a reflection of our love and of our respect for God! His sanctuary should not become someones place to advertise their current accusations or other personal issues. These types of interruptions must be stopped for the good of the people who have come to worship and give glory to our Creator God. I pray for the discernment to know how to handle each of these situations!

  13. Homelessness is something I experienced for a short time. Two weeks on the floor in the back of a store. There were a few other times too.

    One of my brothers lived 8 months in a cardboard box, in an empty lot, in the downtown part of a city in Michigan. I am sure there were other times he was homeless. When he had an opportunity to detox, he wouldn't cooperate. He believed in God and I wonder how God will view his life, since us siblings came from a very dysfunctional home.

    Now I see the homeless in NYC. We don't know the circumstances of their lives and what brought them to that point. As we passed a homeless man, I told my 4 year-old granddaughter why he was lying on the heater on the side walk. My granddaughter said, We could take the homeless man home to the apartment, there's room."

    Mentally ill can be something all together different. Homelessness and mentally ill might be connected sometimes but not always.

  14. I have experienced both mental illness and homelessness, and it has been an interesting journey, i know how they feel, think, live and i try my best by GOD's grace and mercy to help in any way i can, because society says it cares but doesn't, so we as the followers should be the exceptions that these persons can count on for love and support always.


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