Monday, June 23, 2014

"Don't Dis' Me, Man!" - Have We Become Pathological Name-Callers?

In the years since psychology and psychiatry have gained respect and public acceptance, the Western world, in particular, has incorporated many diagnostic terms into everyday vocabulary. In contemporary America, you probably cannot go a day in normal conversation without someone self-disclosing—if only jokingly—about their ADD, ADHD, or even "schizo" behaviors. There probably isn't a cocktail party in any major city where someone isn't naming someone else as a "manic" or "clinical" or <fill in the blank> over a martini.  

Frankly, I'm at the point where I want to shout, "ENOUGH ALREADY!" 

I mean, isn't about time we all stop playing armchair mental health professional, and start talking about ourselves and others more…kindly…more…human-ly? 

If our deepest ways of understanding one another have to come from a professional manual that exists to define and catalog mental and emotional disorders, doesn't that seem…I dunno…kind of…sick? Obsessive? Pathological…? 

Seriously, how does persistently calling someone a "case" or "co-dependent" or "OCD" help us to treat people with Christ-like humility and kindness? 

This world is a red-hot mess. People get hurt out there—really banged up. Is this the best we can do, as the people of God? We break out our label-makers, like Martha Stewart, and go around assuring that everyone knows who we think is bi-polar or personality disordered...? Dude, really? 

Think about it. Our friends hear us calling one another by "clinical" names. People share what we say about others. (That, incidentally, is called gossip…just sayin'.) If that's how we roll, then what happens when we fall into conflict with people? Do we check their label and start with the dis'…? 

Cool it with the clinical and the Haterade, peeps. If you call yourself a Christian, you can't be down with that. 

Word up

Ephesians 4:29

English Standard Version (ESV)
29 Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.

You get me? Knock it off! 

Explain to me—please, I'm all ears—how slapping on labels and walking off all confident in your "professional" Dx (that's how the professionals write "diagnosis") builds anyone up or gives grace to those who hear. Ya. I thought so. You can't.

You didn't ask for my non-professional opinion, but here it is anyway…

Stick with The Golden Rule. "Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back. 31 And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them" (Luke 6:30-31). 

If you think someone needs professional help, guide them there…gently. Kindly. If you can't, pray and seek someone who can. But put down your little label maker and chill, for heaven's sake! Who died and left you Freud? 

And don't just leave the broken, wounded people you encounter to go around wearing their labels and searching for hope. No one says you have to "fix" them, but you can be nice. You can be an encourager. 

Yo, and one more thing…

If you really can't get yourself to the place where you stop with the name-calling (because that's what it is) and start with the edifying (because that's what it ain't) you can be rock solid that there's a whole pipeline of folks who have your page marked in the manual. They onto you.

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