Churches Understanding of Mental Illness & Suicide
Several years back I did a post entitled: "Is Suicide The Unforgivable Sin." It has one of the most viewed and discussed post on Preacherman. I am very saddened by the loss that Pastor Rick Warren and his family are facing right now with the death of their son. I cannot imagine the pain. As a minister I have done funerals for people who have committed suicide. They aren't easy. Many questions follow from family and friends. Mental illnesses such as depression face millions. I have hear ministers try to just talk people into feeling good from the pulpit. I have heard ministers try to even guilt people into not having depression claiming it is lack of faith or focus. I strongly believe that it is not lack of faith and the claims, stances and approaches the Church has taken shows our ignorance. Ministers, church leaders need to make people who suffer with depression and mental illness feel good and be aware that their are medications that can and will help. As Churches we need to deal with real questions concerning the topic of suicide. Some of the questions that I posed in my previous article referenced above addresses the following questions. We need not be afraid but ask and seek the answers. We can not ignore this issue. I know this subject is very sensitive, yet I want your true answers to the questions you choose to respond to as well. The questions: Is suicide self-murder? If confession cannot be made after the act, then where does the soul go? Is there such a thing as pre-confession? Is the unforgivable sin suicide? Is there any sin that Jesus won't forgive? Is God's Grace big enough and cover even suicide? What does the Bible say about the "Unforgivable sin?" Does the Bible say it is unforgivable? What feelings does the act of suicide bring on loved ones? What are some signs of someone who might commit suicide? Does the act of suicide give loved ones hell on earth as they have feelings of guilt, blame, loss, sadness, depression, and even questions such as these and on and on? Have you ever had these thoughts? How have anti-depressants helped your life? Does it make you mad when preacher make believers feel guilty who are on these drugs and can it drive a person to the act of suicide? How can we become more educated, compassionate and offer help when it comes to those suffering with mental illness and depression? What can ministers do to become more informed? What has your experience been as a minister/counselor when it comes to this? What advice or counsel have you given to help people who have lost someone to suicide? What do you think? Share your thoughts.