Whenever a public figure takes their own life, we get on social media hoping to reach out to those who are also struggling. We encourage them to seek help.
What if we’re speaking to the wrong people?
Rick Warren, in his first sermon series back after his son took his own life, told his church the one thing you should never say to someone dealing with a tragedy:
“Don’t say to somebody who just went through a major loss—they just got fired, they just got a bad report from the doctor. Don’t say ‘call me if you need anything.’ That’s about the dumbest thing you can say to somebody in shock. Because now you’ve put it on them. They’ve got to work to get your help. You’re not taking the initiative. You’re forcing them to take the initiative.”
Are we doing the same with those struggling with their mental health?
Are we saying “seek help” when we should be saying to those in the church “BE THE HELP.” Are our small group leaders and volunteers the ones we need to speak life in to when depression and anxiety is the national conversation so they feel empowered to ask the difficult questions of those under their care?
Be the help.
Don’t wait for them to reach out to us. Go to them.
After struggling with depression and anxiety, Andrew Stoecklein, lead pastor of Inland Hills Church in California, took his own life this last weekend.
Instead of saying:
“Pastors, there are people in your life who love you and care for you. It’s ok to talk to them if you’ve had similar thoughts…”
I want to say:
“Pastors, if you have people in your life who you love and care for, reach out to them to this week. Ask how they’re doing and then ask them again to make sure you got the honest answer."
Be the help. Take the initiative.
This week I'm praying for Andrew's family, his church, and for the conversations we need to have with the people we love.