What a topic right, and who am I to delve into what my contention with this theological conundrum! The best scholars in the world of denominational theory can develop their entire identity standing for one platform or another. Yet again, who am I? A man who has never been to seminary, I have never pastored a church or delved into any formal education as it relates to any study of religious positioning.
I am a man who understands how human nature works, a man who has had the world of mental health disorders as a considerable part of his life, a man who sees things differently than most. I am a man who, more often than not, considers the bible in a different light than those we admire as leaders on the topic.
For the last ten years, I have made it my mission to affect the homeless communities positively both locally and when I travel for work. A society that is massively impacted by issues with mental health. This ministry has been a massive lesson of love and grace in itself, but not nearly as impactful as when it is a person in your world that you love who is the victim of mental illness.
So what. Where is the tie to the the TULIP and it's reformed theological premise? I am so glad you asked. Let me explain. For those of you that that do not have a clue as to what TULIP refers to, I will give you a brief explanation.
Man is TOTALLY DEPRAVED, in other words, born evil and has no hope. UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION, God randomly picks a few humans who get to go to heaven, historically this is those of the caucasian persuasion. LIMITED ATONEMENT, the cross is not good enough for everyone, only the elect. IRRESISTIBLE GRACE, If you feel it, you must have it and can't say no. PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS, you were elected so you are good to go.
You see, this theological premise shows that God does not love everyone, and men are too horrible to have a choice in the matter. A human's ability to choose whether or not they want to believe has no bearing. The tie between mental health and TULIP that needs to be unpacked here leaves a ton in need of reconciliation.
We seem to forget as humans we did not create ourselves, we spend so much time trying to determine and classify how we behave yet do not take the time to adhere valid credit where credit is due. We miss God's handiwork by not giving him credit for the basics of human nature as we understand them. This simple concept is overlooked not only by the Calvinist camp; in all honesty, every other denominational platform seams to forget that the model is a reflection of the modeler's vision.
In other words, when you look at humanity and see the common thread of the positive traits shared among races, ethnicity, financial and other demographic variances, the light shines clear on who our maker truly is. To this point, I will focus on two massively important and heavily negated topics in the reformed circles of logic.
Pretty simple right, however, if you have ever been a party to having a loved one who suffers from any form of mental illness, you will know first hand how much they can hurt you. You will understand how much work it is to bury your human anger and take the lumps as they come because you know, in your heart, that this person is not in the right frame of mind. Hurt that is beyond explanation. I cannot even begin to tell you what I have personally experienced in this realm of long-suffering.
Yet, I know without a doubt that deep inside their soul is a spark of life and love that is real. Now take a moment and parallel this logic to sin. We are all God's creation, are we not? For we did not make ourselves, we are a part of Him; we are his handiwork. A bigger than life example when contrasted to any relationship in human form. Does he not see a glimmer in us that is worth loving?
Why do we, even when hurt deeply by one we love so much, especially when you see the ignorance in their behavior, never stop loving them regardless of their actions? Did we invent this deep soul yearning for grace to be continued? I think not.
Look, I am not a professional writer, I have people on staff for that, so please take this post as a passionate urge for you to see that love is so powerful that even when we are hurt intentionally by a loved one. We see past the motivation and understand the background forces employing actions displayed.
We love them with a broken heart because we grieve for the struggles raging hard in their minds. We become overjoyed at the glimmer of sanity; we celebrate the acceptance of help on their part. We want nothing more than to have a healthy, loving relationship with them regardless of their ill-minded actions toward us. Yet we cannot control how they respond if they get treatment and follow the correct course of action prescribed by a professional.
Look, this post is not about me being a scholar in the realm of theological demographics. However, what I want you to understand is that I did not makeup how to love this person in my world. I do. I give all the credit to my maker and thank Him for building this small taste of his mercy and grace into my soul. I also see this as a trait among all of humanity, of course, with the exceptions. Yes, there those that do not see through bad times with a grace based heart. Yet I believe God still loves them as well.
Especially when you look at a parent's love for their children, how do you even begin to think that our maker has built us to be in His image when the love shown in that model completely contradicts the precepts taught by the Piper's of this world. It doe's not fit with the profound yet simple logic, if you are as simple-minded as I am, that human nature on the side of good is a direct reflection of God's creative marvel and any logic that teaches the opposite is simply not right.