Mental illness is rarely this black and white.

The French mountainside may as well have been an ocean. The pain that shook the mountain has, like an earthquake, rippled from shore to shore.

After learning that Andreas Lubitz, the 27-year-old pilot responsible for taking his life and the lives of 149 others, was suspected of deliberately crashing Germanwings Flight 4U9525, I thought, 27?  Only 27?  Wow, a pilot at 27?  His parents must have been so proud.  Then I thought of the horror of the 149 . . . the helplessness they must have felt . . . and the “Oh, God, why have you forsaken me?” feelings . . . and the sudden claustrophobia and suffocating despair that must have fallen upon them before the mountain.  How sad? The very accomplishment which caused one family so much pride has now caused them and others a world of devastation.

Christians suspect that mental illness is what happens when demons happen upon an empty vessel, for we know the adversary, who comes to steal, kill, and destroy, is prowling around like a roaring lion, looking for anyone he can devour, (I Peter 5:8).


In just an open shirt, bare breasts, legs, and feet . . . at a mausoleum?

When the Devourer passes by some homes, he sees the bright light of the Holy Spirit glowing inside and, while he may throw rocks trying to break a window and cause vexation, he gives up and keeps moving around the block.  Should he return to a house once swept cleaned but now filled with darkness, he searches for an opening, the space beneath the door or the size of a keyhole or a window and, like a thief, deliberately seeps in, easy as air, and perhaps brings a few friends.  Guard your mind, be alert, Christians are told.  If there be found any cracks in your foundation, the flames from a faraway French mountain may burn a path to the tips of your very feet.

The shame! I tried to imagine the hot and overwhelming showers of shame falling on the heads of Lubitz’s parents.  Then I imagined something else.  I imagined the false pride that tends to rise up in people, which erroneously assures them they could never do what Andreas Lubitz did, the pride which convinces them that no one close to them could ever cause the harm Andreas Lubitz caused.

But when eyes are averted from the mountain and the gaze brought to one’s own feet, with a bowed head and humbled spirit, it’s much easier to see that while the cloud of mental illness seems darkest over others, its shadow passes over the rest of us, too.

Think about it.  Haven’t we all been touched by someone’s sickness?  For example, married senators with pregnant wives sharing—not wisdom—but their “nuts” with young women.  Or what about that old biker boy, one testicle strong, having the “nuts” to pick our pockets to fund a foundation while lying to our faces that he’s not a dope.

But that’s them, what about us?


Same woman, same web page, with presumably her child.

How many times have you deliberately cupped your hands to repeat gossip you didn’t even believe yourself?  How many times have you deliberately acted beneath your title in the presence of those looking up to you?  Hey supervisor, hey pastor, hey mom/dad, hey older sibling, this finger points at you!!! And me!!!  And how many times, Christian, has your behavior been indistinguishable from common heathens?

Do we not know the effect we have on our victims when we deliberately do wrong?  Sure we do.  But we do it anyway.  Doesn’t that make us sicker than those who cannot appreciate right from wrong due to mental illness?

Pictures, unbecoming of any woman, a woman who happens to be you, are being posted daily on world-wide web pages just above the photo of the woman, who just happens to be you, lovingly embracing her innocent child.  Deliberately.  Who are you?  Are you naughty or nice?  Do you know?

Call me nuts, but I happen to believe that too many people have their heads lifted up in pride who have deliberately gone behavior-blind to their own “sick & crazy.” 

When your eyes move from the mountain and refocus, really focusing on the valleys at your feet, what harm are you causing yourself and others with your touch?  Your impression may not leave a hole in a mountain.  But, to the lives closest to you, your touch—the ripples from the little bombs you set off deliberately every day—can be just as devastating.

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