You have most likely heard the sad news about Matthew Warren, Rick and Kay Warren’s youngest son, who committed suicide over the weekend. Rick Warren, pastor of Saddleback Church in Orange County California and author of the best-selling book, Purpose-Driven Life, wrote a tender letter to church members asking for their prayers. Pastor Rick said in his letter, “You who watched Matthew grow up knew that he was an incredibly kind, gentle, and compassionate man…but only those closest knew that he struggled from birth with mental illness, dark holes of depression, and even suicidal thoughts.” Matthew, age 27, took his life “in a momentary wave of despair.” Our prayers are with Rick and Kay Warren, their family, and the entire Saddleback congregation.
You can read the story and Pastor Rick’s letter in the Huffington Post.
The death of Matthew Warren has put the issue of depression and mental illness front and center again for people of faith. Upon hearing the news of Matthew Warren’s suicide, Ed Stetzer quickly wrote a piece on how churches should respond to mental illness. This Sunday, I will speak directly to the issue of depression. You may be surprised to learn that famous people from the Bible and from Christian history have wrestled with depression. We will also have on hand some professional Christian counselors who are available to talk with after the service. There is hope!
Some of you will be tempted to skip church Sunday because of the subject matter. I urge you not to do that. Depression is on the rise. It is imperative that all of us (those who suffer and those who do not) understand God’s heart on the matter and respond with the love and compassion of Jesus.