Paul says we Christians are running a race. Here's what I'm looking at on my run toward Christ.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Robin Williams and Suicide

Today one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, died of an apparent suicide.  He was 63.

Robin was one of my favorite actors because he could do so many different things so well.  I couldn't turn away from Good Will Hunting as he repeated, "It's not your fault."  He's the reason your uncle thinks it's funny to wake you up by shouting, "Good Morning Vietnam!"  He had us say, "O captain, my captain" in Dead Poets Society.  Made us both laugh and cry in Mrs. Doubtfire  and Patch Adams.  He enthralled children as the genie in Aladdin, freaked us out and inspired pity in One Hour Photo and burst into living rooms as our favorite rainbow suspender wearing alien in Mork and Mindy.  He was so diverse and talented but also fatally depressed.

Robin Williams' death reminds me again that we, especially Christians, need to step up and fight to keep depression from killing our friends, neighbors and family.  Depression has affected me very personally, as has suicide.  Several people I know and love dearly have been so depressed they've considered suicide.  I've had close friends and family (one even this week) attempt suicide.  Sadly, I've had friends, family and friends of family kill themselves.  Depression and suicide is all around us and we must wake up to that.

Friends, stop treating depressed and suicidal people as if they are freaks.  Stop putting them in the closets that often eventually kill them.  Stop telling them the lie that those who commit suicide go to Hell automatically.  Stop treating depression as if it's something they should just be able to pray away if only they had enough faith.  Stop making people feel like taking medication is some sign of weakness in their faith.

Those of you that are depressed, I can't understand how you feel but I will try to make you feel like a person loved by God.  But in order to do that I and others need you to stop hiding your depression.  Let others fight depression with you.  Let us be there for you.  Let us pray with you.  Let us hold your hand through this.  And please, please, please find help from people other than us, too.  We want to help you but you may need to see a counselor or may need medication.  Medication and counseling is not a sign of weakness, but of wisdom.

Friends, too many people are dying every day from depression.  The World Health Organization estimates that 3,000 people a day commit suicide and for every person who kills themselves 20 people attempt to do so.  We can't ignore this.  Robin Williams is just one of 1,000,000 people each year that dies too soon from depression.  Christians, let us love more effectively in this area because Jesus would, and Jesus will through you if you do it today.

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