A couple of months ago, I received a note from a parent who is a friend.  It was scribbled on the corner of a sheet of paper.  “What do you do when your child is physically abusive to his family?”  She and I had spoken about the things that were happening in their home.  Her son had not become physically abusive with their parents; but there are a great deal to tension as their son began to struggle with a middle-aged crisis.

His job of 25-years was no longer good enough for him.  He no longer wanted to live in the apartment they had built for him away from the main house.  He wanted them to continue to help him with his daily needs; but he thought he had outgrown the need to mow the lawn and help with the laundry and to do the other things that needed to be done in their compound. 

Again, I went to her and I asked if things had become physical with her son.  She assured me that she and her husband were safe; but she had started to be concerned about others.  Does a parent call the police on their mentally challenged child should he or she become physically abusive?  Perhaps the answer is yes, but I also understand that few parents will do that. 

Because it is likely a mental health issue, speaking to someone who is a professional counselor could be the best answer that will insure the safety of the family and their child.  A behavorialist can often help to pinpoint the problem and bring a worable resolution. 

Unfortunately, because of the cut-backs in the social services all over the nation, these expenses may have to come from a parent’s own pocket. 

However, the expense can be well worth it.  Of course, there are other solutions that can and should be explored.  No, I am not ignoring the help of the Holy Spirit in issues like this.  Prayer and teaching should be an inticate part of bringing a member back to good mental health.  Nevertheless, I believe that we need to be realistic about the strengths and weaknesses of our ministry.   Pastoral counseling is valuable and we know our members more than most people.  But there is a time and place for good, professional intervention. 

What about your minstry?  What would you suggest to a family facing this crisis situation?  What do you believe can be the solution to this  problem?