There are many who are mourning the tragic suicide of Matthew Warren and unfortunately, there are some who are attacking Rick & Kay. Some have identified themselves as Christians while some of have identified themselves as non-Christians. Some in the latter group have generalized all Christians as naive or have stated this tragedy suits them for whatever reason. Grace and peace to them. As far as those who identify themselves as Christ-followers, I consider their attacks as shameful, unloving and unfit of the name Christian – wake up.
I’m writing this post not because I feel I have anything remarkably unique to add, I’m writing in hopes of adding to the side of sympathy and collective mourning. My heart is heavy for Matthew, for the Warrens and for the many like Matthew. I’m writing for those who are struggling with mental illnesses – may God’s grace and peace find you.
Let’s be clear – there is only one response to a tragedy like this and it involves sympathy and mourning. But I get it, Rick Warren is a target and this is an opportunity for his critics outside the Church and those within. Some have made many assumptions on Rick’s parenting and terrible words have been declared. This is the ugly side of humanity – one that I don’t think I’ll ever get used to. It’s also the side that I knowingly/unknowingly contribute to and may the Lord & Christian community help me identify these blind spots as needed.
Still, there is a beautiful side we get to see as well. Many who have been critical of Rick’s philosophy of ministry or ideology have wasted no time in expressing their condolences and calling on others to pray for the Warren family. I have been particularly touched by those who have identified themselves as non-religious but have expressed their sympathies and condolences to the Warrens.
Further, it’s in these moments that people express their hurts, their personal histories or share a personal need regarding their loved one. As tragic as Matthew’s suicide is, God can and will bring goodness out of it. Don’t misread, God didn’t want nor cause Matthew to take his life, but God in His goodness can still work even in such terrible times.
If you are reading this and are struggling with depression or a form of mental illness, know there is help, know there are those who deeply love you and care for you, know that God loves you more than we can imagine.
For those who can not identify with this burden, take this opportunity to pray for the Matthew Warrens’ of our world, likely there are many very near to us now.
Here’s a roundup of some links – may the Lord be with the Warren family, may the Lord be with those struggle with mental illness and may the Lord be with you.
A Must read from Ed Stetzer – My Take: How churches can respond to mental illness If you can help it, don’t read the comments, it reveals some of that ugly side of humanity. And if you do because I mentioned it, stop reading after three of them – you don’t need those words – like anything, just because they’re printed, doesn’t mean they need to be read.
Suicide, Scripture and the Grace of God by Jim Denison – Lengthy, I think most will find it helpful – though realize he’s generalizing and covering a lot of ground on a complicated subject. Does a great job in my opinion.
The Mysterious Joy of Matthew Warren by Thomas McDonald – beautiful article (and when I read it, the commenters were great).
A few more links can be found through Christianity Today’s post.