Suicide: talk about it and respond as Christ's body
Two weeks ago I lost a very good friend to depression and suicide. He was a fellow pastor and a confidant of mine. His humor was contagious, his insights brilliant and he was a mighty encourager to me and hundreds of people. His pastor said at the funeral, "Sometimes even the experts get lost." This is so true. All of us can feel lost, trapped in hopelessness and surrounded by darkness. I already miss Chris. I am angry he won't be there next week when we had planned to meet together. I am confused and ask God, "Why?" The lesson I am learning is that the church needs to talk more about mental illness. When someone in our church has cancer, we pray publicly for them, take them a prayer quilt and deliver meals to their family. When someone is suffering from mental illness, is chronically depressed or bipolar, we are embarrassed, few people go to visit them, take a meal or sends cards. We do not know how to respond or what to say.
Last year, over 500,000 people attempted suicide in this country, and one-third of them succeeded. If you or a loved one is depressed, bipolar, suffers from dementia or has ADHD, schizophrenia or any mental condition, our staff, prayer ministers and Stephen Ministers care about you, will walk with you and will never condemn you or look down on you. Our church, our pastors, the Healing Rooms and the Haven of Hope Counseling Center are here FOR YOU AND THIS COMMUNITY.
I ask you to be attentive, alert and available to your neighbors who are suffering, many times in silence. Our churches can make a big difference. Let's live and share God's love with all people and let others know we need not fear, for our God is with us and came to save us. Call me anytime. I am honored to serve as a pastor to broken, imperfect people, for this is me as well.