No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world. – Robin Williams
Like so many of us, I was devastated to hear about the death of Robin Williams yesterday, August 11. As I struggle with my emotions, I feel an overwhelming compulsion to address church leaders.
Pastors, preachers, teachers, and leaders, I implore you: Please don’t reduce the loss of Robin Williams to a talking point about Hollywood ‘not having the answers’ or ‘not having anything to offer’ this weekend. Depression is a real disease that deserves real attention. It affects the churched and unchurched alike. Believers and unbelievers. Rich and poor. Famous and unnoticed. Too often we forget that actors are human – and that Christians are too for that matter – and that we all share in this human condition. That we’re all susceptible to pain. That we’re all in this together. That we’re all doing this for the first time. So, please, instead of using your platform (physical or metaphorical) to pass judgment, use it to champion hope. To tell those who hear you that they matter. That hope is real. That love is real. That it’s okay to need other people. That they can find help if they’re hurting. That they’re loved. That their story isn’t over. To stay alive.
If you would like help identifying and compiling local and/or national resources that may be helpful for those in your congregations that battle with depression or suicidal thoughts, please contact me directly. I will be more than happy to help you in any way I can.