Matthew, the tax collector
I discovered I have a lot in common with a tax collector, because me, a bipolar rests in the forgiveness of Jesus. This tax collector is no ordinary collector. He is not a family member or a neighbor. I have known him since I was a little girl. I learned he is forgiven by Jesus just like me. You will learn more about him next.
In Luke Chapter 5 of the Bible, you will find one of my favorite passages. Jesus was invited to a different sort of party with a different kind of crowd. Jesus had just called Levi, the tax collector, to become one of His disciples (students or followers). In celebration of Levi’s new calling, Levi held a banquet at his house and invited all his friends.
Once the Pharisees (religious rule enforcer) and teachers of the law heard about the party, they complained about Jesus hanging out with such a shameful group of “sinners”. Jesus responded to the Pharisees and teachers of the law by saying the people who knowingly sin are the people who need me.
In the days of Jesus, tax collectors were not considered fine, upstanding citizens. Many times tax collectors were known to skim off the top to pad their own pockets. Whatever shady business practices Levi may have conducted, Jesus looked passed the sin in Levi’s life and saw the potential for greatness.
I was just like Matthew, covered in sin and shame
Jesus looked passed my sin and saw my potential, too just like Matthew. I spent about ten years in a bipolar manic state. Rage ran through my veins like I was the Hulk. My credit cards were blowing up as I charged everything. I didn’t really have a job. Well actually job-jumping was my job. Men, men, men and more men. Reckless living and reckless driving. I was helpless; unable to think straight; or curb my appetite for sinful living.
My mental illness, coupled with the baggage of my family, created a toxic environment where I made a multitude of unwise decisions. Many of those were unsafe and risky if not dangerous to my well being – physically, spiritually and emotionally. However, I knew in the back of my mind from learning about Matthew at a young age, I, a bipolar, rests in the forgiveness of Jesus.
When I was finally diagnosed and was on the proper medicine for my bipolar 1 with psychotic features, rapid cycling and mixed episodes, I was able with a clear mind assess the damages that was done those ten years. It was like assessing the damages of a Category 3 hurricane on a coastal town.
I have come to terms with the mistakes I have made while manic. I know I was not in my right mind. However, being a Christian who is supposed to be holy and righteous, I could not leave my past whirlwind there with just an acknowledgement. God worked with me through the muck and the mire for a long time and he is still working on me since I still battle horrible, out-of-control mania.
Trust the truth of God’s Word
There have been times when I have felt I was too far gone. My sins were far too great to carry around on my own. It was as if I heard the voices of the Pharisees in my mind constantly reminding me of my sins. But Jesus’s voice was louder and he said “You are forgiven.”
The Bible says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed,” (Isaiah 53:5). Jesus took the penalty for my sins to the cross and nailed it there forever. I can live in peace and live as a healed person because of Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.
Freedom – Bipolar Rests in the Forgiveness of Jesus
Jesus came for people like me, who was lost in sin and who needed a savior (Luke 19:10). He extends His offer of freedom from sin to you, as well. Have you accepted it? Are you willing to open your heart to Him? If you have already accepted His gift of freedom from sin, be sure to spend some time thanking Him today.
Call to Action
Do you have some unconfessed sin? Do you have some things in your life that haunt you? Are you mentally ill and question did I or did I not sin? Or can you be like me, a bipolar rests in the forgiveness of Jesus. Go to God in prayer.
In the Comment space below, tell me your opinion 1) Can a bipolar rests in the forgiveness of Jesus? 2) If a mentally ill person sins while under the influence of his or her mental illness, did they sin or should the deed be erased completely like it never happened? You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org