An Open Letter to Pastor Rick Warren

BJIt is with the deepest sympathy and understanding that I send you this message of condolence. As I lost my son, then only 19, in 1999 to suicide too, who was diagnosed with Bi-polar and Dysthymic Disorder.  I went through 3 1/2 years of deep mourning and convulsive tears, that even prompted me to have a mini-stroke because I could not stop the tears.

You have I believe, Pastor, an opportunity here to minister as you never have before.  The CHURCH and Mental illnesses.   I pray with all my heart, that God uses you mightily as He did when you wrote the Purpose Driven Life.   There is not much written about suicide in the Bible, except Judas and Sampson.  Since the onset of ministries, churches have professed suicide to be a sin.  THAT bothered me so tremendously, that it was part of the reason, I could not heal.  No one knew what to say to  me.  And when they did they put their foot in their mouth, and only made things worse, so that I left a church, because I could not get back in the “happy clappy” praise and worship mode.  How could I?  They had me believing my son who was saved in 8/2/91 was in hell.   So God used my creativity, and I searched til I found answers.

One is in C. S. Lewis’  “Mere Christianity,” Fourth chapter, on “Morality and Psychoanalysis” as he talked about Freud, moral choices, the Bible, and mental illnesses.  The consensus, is my son, and YOUR son, don’t need people making excuses for them, they are with Jesus.  Don’t let anyone tell you different!  Lewis said, ” These illnesses do not need repentance..they need a cure!”. And that includes Alzheimer’s, Down Syndrome, bi-polar, schizophrenia, and the like.  There is a
difference between Jesus casting out demons, (ie Voodoo, Satanism, etc.) and those mentally ill, including half our service men and women coming home with PTS and worse after seeing all the carnage.

My son would have been 33 yesterday April 9th.  I still miss him implicitly.  I never was stupid enough to ask God, why? For I knew why.  He was in so much pain.  All suicide’s want to do is put out the pain!  My son, 6’2″ bawling his head off holding on to me sobbing….hurting…the night before, while all my faxes, calls to the psychiatrist/mental health, were ignored because he was legally an adult.  God uses us through our pain.  Unfortunately, those parents of victims in Sandy Hook, now are politicking, and lashing out instead  of mourning and seeking Christ.  But, my
prayers too are with the shooters’ families in all these cases.  No one in the media goes there.  Am I the only one that is public when this could have been me?  My son blew himself up with 6 sticks of stolen dynamite, while working for a drilling and blasting company.  A bi-polar young 19 year old doing that?!  But he was legally and adult.  And it was me that gave confidential files to the police as all court records are seald.  (In other words if he’d got a gun, etc, like these shooters, he would not be on any background check.) And this has to happen on a State level in ALL states!

The other consolation besides Lewis, is  David Wierseby’s book, “Comforting the Bereaved” which is on Amazon and has a chapter in it on suicide.  It helped so much.  Because I know as with YOUR SON….when my son did this horrific act, it first passed through the sovereign hands of God.  Our son’s now are with Jesus walking streets of gold.  Maybe just maybe, they might give each other a hug.  My BJ has a baby sister Dana up there too, my aunt, and I hope my parents.  And at 74, one day soon, I will lie next to him and my mom, in the natural and join him in Heaven and get that big hug, I miss so much.

In 1999, on the gravestone, I wrote in pain, his epitaph:

Here rests my son upon the  earth he loved,
A youth whom success and love eluded.
Heavy in heart he gave us all he had – a tear.
In peace now from Heaven he gained a friend;
Mis’ry past, now with family and Jesus his God.
The dew on the ground is my kiss to thee.
J E. Worthen (c) 2001

God bless you, and I pray that God uses your son’s death to minister as never before on what the churches are missing.. Thank you Jesus for all you do…There are more like you and I who have gone through this in the churches, that either left the church, or remain unsupported and not understood.   This is the greatest opportunity to minister.

All my love and compassion in Jesus name


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