Want to know why so many people say, “I didn’t know they were struggling” when someone commits suicide? It’s because that person felt like they would be judged. And why shouldn’t they feel that way?
We’ve been taught that if you just pray more or love the Lord more, or find joy or any amount of nonsense, that we’ll stop feeling depressed. Instead of seeing those emotions as a warning sign that something is wrong with a person’s health, they see it as a point of shame.
They don’t want anyone’s pat answers. And, they don’t want to have their spouse or family go under severe interrogation about their depression. If people could openly talk about depression and the stuff going on in their lives, I think we wouldn’t be as shocked when someone takes their life. We won’t say, “I didn’t even know they were depressed. They looked like they had their life together.”
Newsflash, depressed people know how to put on a show just like the rest of us. If you want people to be honest with you and share what’s going on in their life, then you have to be honest, too. You have to put yourself out there and admit to the darkest feelings you have and share things you’ve stuffed in your closet.
I bring all of this up because a friend of mine shared a story of a pastor that took his life last week. His name is Andrew. Here’s his last sermon.
Want to know why this breaks my heart so much? Because Pastors and their families already feel isolated and alone. It’s very hard for ministry staff to find real friends at their church. So, when they are going through the biggest crisis of their lives, they have no one they feel they can trust to talk about it.
I encourage you to develop real relationships with others. If you look at someone and think, “They’ve got it altogether”, then that’s a good indication that you aren’t close to them whatsoever. You’ve likely never gone beyond the surface with them. To build trust with someone, you have to be vulnerable.