Ever since hearing the news on Saturday afternoon that Rick Warren's son, Matthew took his own life I have been wrenched in my heart and have experienced heaviness upon my soul. It has been difficult to sleep and to focus on things that, for the time being seem so insignificant compared to the deep mourning and sadness the Warren family must be experiencing during this time. I have spoken many prayers, in silence and out loud for the Warren family and many others who have experienced (and continue to experience) this pain.
I also feel sick to my stomach, not only in hearing of this tragedy, but in witnessing the responses of many who claim to be brothers and sisters in Christ. Not long after reading the news on Twitter and Facebook, I began reading responses from readers, many encouraging and uplifting as they offered prayers and virtual "hugs". However, as I read further I began to see other comments that stank of judgment, callousness, darkness, and spewed hate-filled venom, all in the name of some god these people claim to follow. I felt like vomiting. I don't know where these "Christians" get their theology from, but I've got a pretty good idea that it's not from the God I follow.
I follow Jesus Christ, the Son of the life-giving, ever-loving, always-reaching, grace-filled, second, third, fourth, one hundredth chance giving God who so loved the world that he gave of himself for me, and you, and the entire world. And for Matthew Warren. And for all the Matthew's out there who find themselves in the pangs and darkness of depression amid the sea of suicidal thoughts.In his blog post about the tragedy, Frank Viola shares
"If you are a Christian and you’re heart doesn’t go out to this brother and his family, something is wrong with you spiritually. I don’t care what you think about Warren’s theology, his books, or how he combs his hair. The fact is, he lost a child. Few things can be more painful and nightmarish in this life." - Frank Viola"They will know we are Christians by our love..." The great hymn that we have sung thousands of times, is more than sentimentality. It's a way of life. When the world looks at Christians, what do they see? Fighting among our ranks, devouring one another? Or do we reflect the great love of our Savior as we extend that very same grace?
I highly recommend you read Viola's post as you offer prayer and support to the Warren family and so many others affected by suicide and mental illness.