Psalm 34: 18
I couldn't help but weep when I learned of the passing a man I did not know, a father who committed suicide and left his wife and three children behind.
I don't know much about Stephen 'tWitch' Boss. I vaguely recall seeing him as the DJ on the "Ellen" show, and I learned he was a dancer. But what affected me most was seeing the pictures of Boss' family, who must go on without him after he shot himself in a motel room this week.
In my book and small group video series, "The Next Thing: A Christian Model for Dealing with Crisis in Personal Life," my wife Sara and I are bluntly open about how depression and near-suicide has affected our family. This week she and I watched an entertainment show's feature story on tWitch and his family, and as I watched, I knew exactly what happened.
I can tell Boss was in a dark place emotionally and mentally. He was at the bottom of the well. He thought the world would be better off without him, specifically, that his wife and children would actually have better lives if he weren't around anymore.
This is how depressed people think. It's irrational. You can try to convince them otherwise, but they feel you're the one who is irrational. Depression is an irrational disease, and that's how we have to see it - as a disease of the mind and spirit.
I believe that Christianity is a practical religion; you can put its principles into practice in your daily life and in life situations. What does Christianity have to say to the depressed person who is contemplating suicide, and to those around them?
Let me start with a word of comfort and truth from Psalm 34: 18.
The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Do you hear that? When you are at your lowest point, brokenhearted and crushed, that is when God is the closest to you. And there's a reason for that: because of who God is.
In my soon-to-be-released book and existing video series, "Live Like You're Loved," I explain how God's love and forgiveness stem from who He is, not who you are. I share the amazing truth that God loves you because he created you with value and worth that you can never lose. I show how your life is transformed as you understand and embed the truths that you are loved by God, forgiven by God, sent by God, and welcomed to eternal relationship with God; I can do this because my own life has been transformed by embedding these truths in my heart and soul. Finally, I give you the steps on how to achieve this transformation.
I wrote "Live Like You're Loved" because I see an epidemic of negative self-image and a deficit of feeling loved. To be clear, depression and negative self-image are like two overlapping circles in a Venn diagram; one is not the other, but they are related, and you can have negative self-image with or without the disease of depression.
Now, while my book and videos will help, I won't claim that they can overcome depression on their own. Depression is treated with some mix of medication and counseling, depending on the type. Perhaps the insights in my book could assist with the counseling and mental reworking aspect. They certainly help if you ever wrangle with negative self-image and question whether God could love you.
If you're someone struggling with the dark feelings of depression, I realize it's hard to make any kind of effort, but please seek help, such as through the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 988. Please - just three digits to press on your phone.
If you're someone who loves a depressed person, be aware that depressed people can put on a happy face. Boss was described as someone who was full of light. He recently said that he was looking forward to having a fourth child with his wife. It was all an act, perhaps a desperate act of trying to speak happiness into existence when he actually felt a crushing anguish. With depressed people, sometimes things will seem the brightest right before life tumbles into the darkest moment, as what happened with Boss.
It's frightening, whether you are the depressed person or the one who loves the depressed person. Ultimately, the best I can share to comfort you is the assurance that God is near to the brokenhearted and ready to save the one who is crushed in spirit.
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Regarding my work "Live Like You're Loved," Jerry Smith, a small group leader in Braselton, GA who studied the video series, said: "This course is near and dear to my heart. In my Christian Walk, I have encountered so many people who really and truly do not know the love of our Lord and Savior. I think that what Cecil is doing with his ministry and with courses such as this, is a definite need fulfillment."
Please explore "Live Like You're Loved" at https://www.ceciltaylorministries.com/live-like-you-re-loved. You can also order the video series or pre-order the book at https://store.ceciltaylorministries.com/collections/live-like-youre-loved .