It is one of the most emotionally sad words ever. It epitomizes hopelessness.
During the past month, I have gotten several prayer requests for someone whose family member committed suicide. And this weekend we all heard the news of Rev. Rick Warren’s son, Matthew, who took his life. I had a precious friend who suffered deep depression and constant thoughts of suicide. Through the years, I used to wonder why she wouldn’t get help. Then, I came up with what I believe are three very valid reasons as to the question ‘why’ she wouldn’t seek out help.
1. PRIDE … She had a brilliant mind. She knew more of the Word of God than most. She taught about the power of the God’s Word that could change our lives. She created credos to live by that were affective, and in fact, so effective that they literally changed lives. Yet, she was unable to successfully live what she taught. She struggled with inner demons that tormented her mind. She was a beautiful woman outside and inside, but when this torment hit her she could become cruel and then go into depression for days at a time. I worked with this most talented, beautiful, gifted, anointed woman for 14 years. He called me to walk with her, serve her, and love her, and I did just that all those years. I must admit that I had no experience with anyone who suffered with mental illness. It was very difficult at times, but I always saw her well and whole. I believe God allowed me to see that picture to be able to continue the walk with her to the end of her life. When I say that pride was one issue what I mean is that she was so intelligent that at times her attitude was that she knew more than others. She had the answers of how to live life and didn’t need help.
2. FEAR … At times when we would talk about her torment and I would mention to her about getting help, her first response was “What would people think?” What would her peers think? What would those who had heard her teachings say? There is an old cliché in the church world “Christians kill their wounded”. Isn’t that sad? But some who call themselves Christians do exactly that. They judge and condemn the wounded and hurting. Well, to me people who do that are not true Christ followers
3. SHAME … She felt ashamed that she couldn’t get on top of her problem. She was ashamed that she couldn’t make the Word of God work to the extent that she would never be troubled with it again. She absolutely believed what she taught with all of her heart. But she couldn’t overcome the times rage would overtake her and then depression. She felt ashamed and that was another thing that kept her from seeking help. We should never allow what others might think or say to keep us from seeking out help when it’s needed. During the last 3 1/2 years of my precious friend’s life, the doctors gave her a low dosage of Zoloft, and I have to tell you that it helped balance her out. She, for the first time, was able to function with a totally sane mind during her last years of contending with cancer. You see, she really did have a chemical imbalance and the medication helped her. Her last years were greater than her past. She touched more lives, I believe, more effectively in those years than in her past. God touched her and healed many past hurts in her life, and she was able to truly forgive. Many times Satan takes advantage of those who suffer with mental issues, and oh my goodness, do you ever need God’s strength and help in dealing with it. But, He is faithful to be there to help us and strengthen us, to give us discernment, and to give us His love to keep fighting the fight. Mental illness is the most difficult, confusing, complex, frustrating disease there is. It requires more strength, patience, tolerance, and forbearance than we humanly have and only God can give.
This past weekend as the news of the Warrens’ son came out, my heart broke, as I am sure yours did. Even though he knew the Lord and loved him, there was a darkness that filled his mind. Hopelessness, helplessness enshrouded his mind. No, I don’t understand it, but I know the Lord does and is full of compassion and mercy. Nothing the medical field or family did could help this dark place in Matthew’s mind. BUT GOD is full of mercy, and one thing we cannot judge is the heart of another. Only God can do that. As well as nice compassionate notes, the Warrens’ have received many, many hateful notes from so called “Christians”. This was their youngest child. The grief they are going through is beyond what I can even imagine. You may want to write them a note just saying that you are praying for them. If you do, go to www.saddleback.com, but if you don’t do that, then please pray for them and for those who have been on our prayer list who have lost loved ones to suicide over the past month.
Today you or someone you know may be dealing with mental illness. You may not know what to say or do, but I want to encourage you to just write a note telling them that you are praying for them and love them. Just a small act of kindness can mean so much. Just show them God’s love. What is God’s love?
Galatians 5:22, 23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.