“Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40)
I was new to Rochester (NY) and had just connected with a small group at a local church. We were to have a social gathering and I had volunteered to bring the cheese and crackers. On my way there, I was rear-ended and wound up in the emergency room.
I couldn’t move, but nothing showed up on the tests. The medical providers thought I was faking it. Instead, my mind was betraying my body. My mental illness was the culprit of my paralysis. I tried to tell the staff this and asked that they give me my medicine. Instead, they responded as if I were an addict looking for a fix and ignored me.
After sometime an angel arrived. He was an elder from my church, the leader of the small group I had been attending. He offered me a calming presence and reassured staff that I was a man of faith who happened to struggle with a mental illness. Not long after that, they transferred me to a medical-behavioral unit where I received the care I needed to begin the road to recovery.
Persons with mental illness like me are some of the “least of these” Jesus is talking about in this passage. When you show kindness, offer hospitality, and advocate for us, you do it for the Lord, and God is glorified.