Preacher Jarrid Wilson Dies by Suicide, Idiot Christians on Social Media Put Their Ignorance on Mental Health Issues on Display Once More
Preacher Jarrid Wilson ended his own life a few days ago. I didn’t have the time then to write a post about it, though I wanted to.
From what I’ve seen of the after math of Wilson’s suicide, most Christians remain totally ignorant about mental health issues and erroneously believe that faith alone can and will heal someone of having a mental health problem,
while another variety of Christian wrongly believe that having faith in Jesus will keep one immune from developing depression or other mental health problems in the first place.
Here are a few links about that, and then I will add my two cents further below (and there are even more links below my commentary):
A US pastor known for his mental health advocacy has killed himself, church officials say.
Jarrid Wilson, 30, worked at te 15,000 member Harvest Christian Fellowship Church for 18 months before his death.
Mr Wilson and his wife founded Anthem of Hope, a programme created to help people dealing with depression.
He is survived by his two sons and wife Juli, who wrote the death had “completely ripped my heart out of my chest”.
In 2016, he founded Anthem of Hope, a faith-centered organization dedicated amplifying hope for those battling depression
by Robyn Merritt
Wed, Sept 11, 2019
Popular megachurch pastor and mental health advocate Jarrid Wilson has died by suicide.
His wife Juli Wilson broke the news to her followers by sharing a video of her “sweet husband” playing with their son.
Jarrid — a pastor at the Harvest Christian Fellowship Church in California — was 30.
Juli explained that the video — taken on Monday [September 9, 2019] — is the last memory she has of Jarrid as he died that same night.
….In his last Twitter post, shared hours before his death, the father of two wrote, “Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD. Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety. But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.”
“He ALWAYS does that,” Jarrid added.
Prior to his death, Jarrid made it his mission to help those struggling with depression and mental illness.
In 2016, Jarrid founded Anthem of Hope, a Christian organization dedicated to “amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”
In the days following Wilson’s suicide, I saw some of the same ignorant or insensitive comments by the usual types of people on social media: moderate to conservative Christians who cling to this mistaken notion that Jesus alone, or faith in Jesus, can and will either “heal” someone with mental health maladies or keep them safe from this in the first place.
That may be true from some individuals; over the course of my life, I’ve seen a very small number of Christians who have claimed that spiritual only methods freed them from anxiety or what have you, but I am someone who has dealt with a lifetime of clinical depression, suicidal ideation, Social Anxiety Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and the Christian faith did nothing to alleviate the pain, inconveniences, and discomfort of any of those things.
My mother also had anxiety and depression, and she was never freed. She was a very devout Christian, but faith in Jesus, the Bible reading, and so on, did not alleviate her mental health problems, either.
(My mother died several years ago, though not from suicide.)
During the years my mother was alive, she was forever trying to figure out how to get rid of her depression. She purchased many books, most by Christian authors (including Christian psychiatrists) on how to “win” against depression. Those books never helped her. (The Bible did not help her, either.)
I later read many of those same books, and they didn’t help me with depression, either. (And yes, that includes the Bible. And yes, I was a true believer.)
I have already explained in older posts on this blog how I found my way out of clinical depression, so I shall not repeat that here. But suffice it to say, Jesus, faith, Christianity, prayer, God, Bible reading, and church attendance did not play a role.
I had to figure out on my own, by researching, how to get through those problems. The depression has largely dissipated, but I still occasionally deal with thoughts of suicide ~ and anxiety is with me still.
I’ve seen some Christians on social media victim-blaming Wilson. There is absolutely no empathy shown for the pain he was in. That sort of attitude makes people who are hurting, especially other Christians, reluctant to speak up – and maybe get some of the life-saving treatment they need.
A few tips for those of you Christians who don’t “get it”:
Christians, especially those of you who’ve never experienced debilitating depression or anxiety or other forms of mental illness, please stop telling those who do suffer from it what you think they should do, think, and feel. Just be there and listen. If the individual is too depressed to drive him or herself to psychiatrist or psychologist appointments, offer to do that for them.
In the meantime, just provide your presence. Show up and watch TV with them, go on walks with them. Offer non-judgemental emotional support.
And stop, stop, stop telling those of us who have suicidal ideation, depression, or what have you that “Jesus is all we need.” Stop telling us to “turn to the Lord,” or “attend church.” We already tried all that, and it didn’t help us. It’s not helpful. Just sit with us in our pain. Listen and empathize – tell us you’re sorry we’re hurting – but don’t give us advice. Don’t judge. Don’t quote Bible verses at us.
I don’t always agree with Ed Stetzer, but he has a few decent points in this:
As many of us learned of Jarrid Wilson’s suicide, I’m reminded that pastors (and Christians) are not immune, and being honest about that is good for all of us.
…Regrettably, one of the realities of the evangelical community is our hesitancy to look outside of our community for help. But truth be told—and I can attest from this very reality in my own extended family—these are important resources that can help us as we deal with the growing issue of mental health. Notably, it is important that all of us know the number of the suicide prevention hotline, for at some point we may need to use it. (That number is 1-800-273-8255, by the way.)
…The reality is that pastors struggle psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually [as do many non-pastor Christians]. They struggle sometimes with physiological realities in and around depression, and becoming a follower of Jesus and becoming a pastor does not necessarily make those things disappear [this is true for laypersons as well, not just pastors].
It seems to me that Wilson fought the war against his own brain right to the end, with great nobility…trying to encourage others as he himself was losing the battle.
What must be noted here are the responses to his tweet.
I just copied two because they represent the responses inside the church to mental illness.
The first one is the deadly one…if you only believe enough, Jesus will make everything good.
Reality speaks the truth to that lie.
Faith doesn’t always fix things, prayers aren’t always answered, and the mystery here is thick enough to suffocate you.
….Addressing it starts with acknowledging reality…there are some things you just can’t pray away.
I’m someone who deals with suicidal ideation, and I am sickened and infuriated at the Christians online who have condemned Wilson, who show zero concern for him.
All I see are Christians who think Wilson didn’t try Jesus “hard enough,” or “didn’t commit to Jesus enough,” and I see Christians who sit there are bray, “How dare he do this to his wife and kids, how selfish.”
I see no empathy from these people, no understanding of how much psychological pain this person was in that led him to where he is.
And I bet you anything Wilson lived with that psychological pain for many years before he finally took his life.
Christians absolutely need to de-spiritualize mental health problems – as long as they keep insisting it’s a spiritual issue or nothing but Satan’s scheme to take out Christians, they’re going to be ineffective at helping anyone who deals with this, and will keep offering the same unhelpful, cliched advice about “just read your Bible more” or “trust in the Lord.”
And let me ask you, how do you think atheists, Buddhists, and other people deal with mental health issues?
Non-Christians don’t believe in Jesus – and yet some of them manage to live with and deal with mental health issues.
There’s really something wrong that presumes that Jesus only is a solution for depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and other mental disturbances.
For those of you out there who tell me you are a Christian and your faith in Christ brought you comfort in your depression or whatever you dealt with, that is fine – but that same faith and Christ himself did nothing to help me, my mother, and many others who were or are devout Christians who were suicidal or depressed.
Edit. How NOT to Respond to Someone’s Suicide
I remain utterly amazed at the morons online who claim to be Christian and who claim to be helping people who have suicidal ideation (of which I am one), and I can tell you that these reactions are not helpful – they are actually victim-blaming and shaming, such as:
by Martin Ncube
God only allows affliction for 2 reasons: 1. To purify our character 2. Reward for sin Usually for Christians their affliction is due to option 1 Daniel, Job, Joseph, the 3 Hebrew friends, apostle Paul knew this hence they had comfort in affliction
Okay, no. That is not going to help someone such as myself, or Jarrid Wilson who has, or had, suicidal ideation.
Also, Martin’s hermeneutics are flawed.
The point of the book of Job is that humans don’t always know for certain why bad things happen to believers or to “good” people, such as Job – and God tells you in that book to withhold your judgement, because you do not know.
And no, Job does not say God allowed Job to hurt to “purify his character” and other nonsense Martin is spewing.
Guys like Martin are actually hurting more than they are helping. Sometimes it’s better to keep your mouth shut or stay off Twitter rather than spout off about things like this.