“Jesus…loved the sick; he devoted a great part of his earthly ministry to healing the sick and comforting the afflicted. Our God is a God of compassion and consolation…And he expects us to take the ordinary means to prevent, relieve…suffering and sickness.”
JPII address to the sick
A common attitude throughout history towards illness was that unwellness was a form of punishment from God. Even though this attitude is not as prevalent now, given the advances in understanding of modern medicine, dealing with social judgement continues to be among the most stressful aspects of many illnesses, for example I find that carers of loved ones with mental illness, cognitive deterioration, or challenging behaviors, still experience much stigma.
For example, coping with others’ judgement is rated among the most stressful aspects of parenting a child with autism.
Christianity gives many examples of Jesus making direct contact with the ill, transcending social attitudes, prejudices, even laws, to do so; Always offering compassionate understanding and love, and looking beyond the illness to each person’s inner being.
For anyone experiencing unwellness today, I hope you will receive plenty of compassion and love, from the people around you as well as yourself; and find strength to keep your focus on: your purpose, the beauty of your being, and recovery; while putting to the side any associations that are not made in the spirit of compassionate understanding and kindness.