Rick Warren, Mental Illness and the Broken Heart–Why no family should ever have to go it alone.

spring time

It’s spring. Finally.

Believe it or not, the sun has started shining in rainy B.C.  I’m walking my dog in the fields behind the bible college most every day.  Kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood in the early evening light.

Good times.

But, not for everyone.

Last Saturday, Rick Warren lost his son. After years of struggling with mental illness, a much loved young man took his own life.

“This is going to change the way people see his ministry,” someone said to me.

“That’s what happens when prominent christian leaders get too involved in so many things,” someone else commented on a social media site.

I’d like to say that it’s human nature to try to figure out what goes wrong in certain situations. I’d like to say say that people are just searching for the reason someone else suffered so that they can avoid making the same mistake themselves.

But, I’d be incorrect.

It’s not human nature. It’s a lack of faith and compassion that keeps us from doing what we should do from the get go- plunge into the darkness and become one with the wounded heart.

Instead, we spiritualize our frantic scramble to

  • label
  • and judge
  • and point fingers at circumstances

that shatter someone else’s world.

You would think that Christians would know better. We are, after all, followers of a suffering Christ.

Fact is, most of us are terrified to enter into the world of someone else’s pain.

The author of the book of Galatians wrote “Carry each other’s heavy loads. If you do, you will give the law of Christ its full meaning”.

I like that.

Reaching out, not to judge or criticize, but to lift the burden of the person struggling beside you.

Back to the Warren family.

I don’t know them but I can pray for them. In an act of spiritual solidarity,  I can show compassion to other families whose loved ones struggle with clinical depression. I can insist that we as a church make room for those who struggle in mind as well as those who struggle in other areas of their lives.

Bottom line – The world will know we are Christians when we refuse to let our brothers and sisters walk alone in the dark.


Hanging around with Hopelessness? – run back to the truth as fast as you can.


“You can’t get anywhere unless you know somebody,” the scruffy man said as we surveyed the carpet he had cleaned, “If you don’t have money or a powerful family name, you are nothing.”

Sobering words.

They stayed with me the rest of the day.

Just before his hopelessness became a part of me, I ran back to the truth.

No matter what

  • compelling arguments I may hear,
  • mess I may find myself in,
  • I’m feeling right now,

God still cares.

Our future is not some game of chance.

We do not just happen to luck in or luck out.

People matter to God.

Jeremiah knew this when he sent a letter to the Israelites. They had been exiled in Babylon and needed to know that God was still in control.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper  you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope and a future.

Jeremiah revealed the heart of the God, the same God who who loves you and me.

Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

God has a purpose for each one of us.