I was never a fan of Robin Williams.
It wasn’t that I disliked him, he was just on my neutral “eh, whatever” list.
But now that he has chosen to end his own life, he has my attention. The reason is this: suicide is a big deal. Anyone who has ever known someone who committed suicide, or anyone who has ever contemplated suicide for themselves, has felt a pang of dark emotion at this news.
Some people are mad because they only see a famous man who selfishly offed himself, attempting to end his problems.
Some are sad because he was their favorite actor.
And some are disturbed because the news is now buzzing with words like “depression” and “bipolar” and “suicide” and it hits too close to home for some of us.
If you have ever struggled with a mental disorder, you will understand the temptation of suicide. When chaos suffocates your brain, all suicide seems like is the “Off” switch. It’s not that you don’t love your family, or your friends, or your fuzzy cat, but the desire to escape can become overwhelming.
Looking from the outside in, yeah, it does seem like a selfish choice. We all know suicide really doesn’t “solve” anything. But then again, suicide isn’t rational.
This becomes a sticky situation for Christians to discuss. Christians deal with mental disorders, too. It doesn’t mean that God has abandoned them, it’s just one of the many consequences of living in a fallen world. And just because we know that God is strong enough to carry us through even the darkest of the brain’s corners, doesn’t mean we won’t still travel through them.
Am I condoning suicide? No. I believe that God has allotted a certain number of days for each of us to live on this earth, and I am quite convinced that it is not our job to choose when the last day is. He has tasked each of us with spreading the Gospel and reaching out to the world around us, the same way He has reached out to us.
Suicide is Satan’s lie that we are too powerless to continue the life a powerful God has graciously given us.
So whether you are mourning the loss of a favorite actor, or are disgusted by the news coverage of it all, please consider this:
Robin Williams battled the same thing that many, many people you know are battling. Mental disorders are real, and they’re nasty. Let his death serve as a reminder to reach out to those who feel hopeless and trapped from mental disorders. God’s mercy is great enough to fill the deepest cracks and crevices in our lives–and we need to be that messenger.
If you are currently in the midst of a dark, lingering depression, please know this: It is hard. It is very hard. But God is strong enough to hold on to you even when you can’t hold on any more. He will give you the ability to overcome.
You are worth the life He has given to you. Don’t rob yourself of His grace.
“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
– John 16:33
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you pretect them from the evil one. They are not of the world, even as I am not of it. Sanctify them by the truth; Your word is truth.”
– John 17:15-17