A look at Christian response to suicide.
Yesterday, I tweeted this after hearing of Robin Williams’ death by suicide:
I asked him if he considered depression to be sin?
We had more exchanges, he refused to answer my question.
I also got a personal e-mail from someone who had recently gone through postpartum depression and loss. She, too, was seeing heartless comments about suicide and the sin of depression.
And then this article from Matt Walsh came through my Facebook feed this morning: Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice
Here’s an excerpt from Walsh’s article:
So I’m just like you, then, because I can’t stomach the thought of it. I’ve seen it in the neighborhoods where I’ve lived and the schools that I’ve attended. I’ve seen it in my family. I’ve known adults and kids who’ve done it. I’ve seen it on the news and read about it in books, but I can’t comprehend it. The complete, total, absolute rejection of life. The final refusal to see the worth in anything, or the beauty, or the reason, or the point, or the hope. The willingness to saddle your family with the pain and misery and anger that will now plague them for the rest of their lives.
It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that. Your suicide doesn’t happen to you; it doesn’t attack you like cancer or descend upon you like a tornado. It is a decision made by an individual. A bad decision. Always a bad decision.
This is what I posted on my Facebook status today:
I’m reminded of the story of Lazarus’ death. Jesus could have raised him from the dead immediately. Instead he saw Mary and Martha and offered comfort to them. I want to have the tender heart of Jesus for hurting people.
I’m aware of 3 suicides in the past couple of weeks. A 15-yr old son of a well-known Christian leader, a mother of 2 in Oregon, and now Robin Williams. We don’t know what was so painful in their life that they chose to end their life prematurely, but there are people all around us who are in pain and could use someone to weep and mourn with them as Jesus modeled for us.
A lot of Christians blame mental health issues on sin. The people I know who have mental health issues have been harmed deeply by others through various kinds of abuse. Sometimes these folks need a little extra tender care and a listening ear. To blame suicide on “sin” is heartless and not very loving. We can do better.
We can learn from Kay Warren, wife of popular pastor, Rick Warren, whose son, Matthew committed suicide has responded to these tragedies:
Let us have the heart of Christ for those who suffer pain and loss. The world is watching us. The world needs a Christ-like response to pain, not judgment and condemnation.