1 Sep

Suicide is a most difficult subject to discuss.  We don’t understand, because we don’t want to … We judge.  We project our beliefs about people, regardless of whether or not we even know them.  We judge.  We make decisions about what we perceive as the sins of others without respect or regard to their families, to their circumstances, or to their realities.  We ignore the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 7) where He asked “How can you see the speck of dust in the eye of another while you have a PLANK sticking out of your own eye??”

I’ve been told (and I have no statistical data to back this up) that South Carolina leads the nation in pastors that commit suicide.  I hope this is not true.  And I know we haven’t cornered the market, either …

WHY?  Why do pastors and church leaders commit suicide??  DON’T THEY KNOW??  DON’T THEY BELIEVE??  I’m afraid the answers are not as simple as we wish they would be.  And I am also afraid our prognostications and judgments have a much larger impact on this situation than we’d care to admit.

In the past couple of weeks, some information about a leader at a Christian college has come to light.  I have seen many social media posts asking for prayer for this great school.  And I have seen some folks unmercifully judge this man and hit him with all of the righteous buckshot they could muster.  Some spew venom from the outside of the church, laughing and mocking this man, the school with which he has been associated for decades, and mocking the Kingdom of God.  Make no mistake:  This man is not perfect.  He will answer for his sins.  And I submit to you that 99.9% of us have no idea what the real story is.  It grieves me that I have seen Christian leaders burning him on social media.  I look at this situation and it shows me that NONE OF US are above or immune from sin.  WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES.  Let he who hasn’t made a mistake cast the first stone!!

After hearing of another pastor suicide, I wonder if this hyper-judgmentalism, the one that doesn’t allow a man of God to be human, I wonder if that might be a factor in all of this.  And there are some people who will read this and say “Well, David Wike must be hiding something…”  I won’t hide it:  I AM NOT PERFECT.  Mind you, I had never heard of Ashley Madison until the news broke about the breach, but I am not perfect.  Neither are you.

Maybe if we prayed for each other, tried to restore each other with grace and dignity, instead of burning each other with righteous flame-throwers … Maybe if we took that approach, maybe ONE PASTOR might not take his life … DO you think it would be worth that??

I do.

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