An open letter to the church about suicide by someone who contemplated it

It’s time for the church to get real about mental illness

I’m pissed. I’m pissed because how much longer are we going to be silent about the things that really matter? We are so caught up in what we can control and explain and see, we are ignoring the issues that are harming our loved ones.

We are attempting to solve anxiety and depression with Bible verses and sweet clichés.

We are more concerned about our reputations than we are that people are dying inside.

We tell people not to be two-faced, but we create church cultures where that’s exactly how we behave because we are afraid to tread in the gray of grace. If something isn’t black and white, then we wash our hands of it. If we can’t figure something out or if it sounds too worldly, we throw it away.

Why can’t we talk about addiction? Suicide? Mental illness?

Why do we make it so difficult for people to come forward and say, “I have a problem and I don’t know how to fix it.”

Why do we imply that pastors cannot actively struggle with mental illness? Why do we imply that people have to keep their addiction secret? Why are so afraid of people who have suicidal thoughts? Why do we so easily dismiss counseling and anxiety and depression medication?

You must realize that our ignorance, our fear of being uncomfortable, is sending people to their deaths every day.

We need to work on understanding depression

We often say, “Suicide is the most selfish thing a person can do.” But we aren’t giving people a choice about their behavior. We foster stigmas and clauses and cultures where people have to act one way on the outside while they are screaming for help on the inside.

And no one can live that way. No one.

We have to be okay when someone questions, when someone doesn’t know if they believe anymore, when someone is in such a dark place that he or she can’t see where to take the next step. We have to be okay with the mess.

I get it. I was there. I remember feeling so helpless. So hopeless. Wondering if God even exists and whether He loves me.

I remember being so dismayed with myself. I was embarrassed I didn’t even know who I was. I didn’t know how to go back and right all the wrongs. I didn’t have a freaking clue about anything. I was face down in our bedroom, alone and exhausted. And that’s when I heard the voice of Jesus, “I love you. Even here. Even now.”

Jesus comes to heal the broken

That’s what we forget: Jesus came for the sick, not the healthy. And if you think you are healthy, you better check yourself.

Woe on us to only create churches where the healthy are comfortable and thriving, while the sick are left to stumble around in the dark outside. Woe on us for creating churches that are more comfortable with the lies: The perfect family, the perfect couple, the perfect kids — that we act shocked when the image dissolves and the true dysfunction is revealed. Woe to us.

Jesus couldn’t stand the Pharisees and we’ve created entire churches filled with them.

You guys, I’m pissed. Mental Illness is killing more people than ever before because we haven’t been bold enough to speak up. We have to acknowledge mental illness and take a practical approach.

We have to be willing to start talking about the fact that the world is broken and so are we. We are broken spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. We are broken and so we will do broken things. And the church should be the last place where people are shocked about this.

However, this is usually not the case. So, I’m over the church. I’m over being silent and going with the flow and watching the people I love around me die. I’m done. I will be outspoken. I will make you uncomfortable because I will not stand by while people feel worthless and ashamed. I’m pissed.