The recent passing of Robin Williams has sparked one of the most heart wrenching "debates" that I've seen in a long time. This will not be a debate and I won't allow it to become one. It would serve no purpose other than to incite pain and misinformation. But it was because of those debates that I didn't intend to write about his passing, or his life in front of the cameras. After all, I didn't know him personally, obviously, and all I would be able to do is just pay homage to him, grieve for the loss of another life and pray for comfort for his family and the loved ones he left behind. But, then, something changed. Something began to eat at me the more I read commentaries, articles and discussions. It seemed everyone had a "comment" or an "opinion." That part didn't surprise me because of this social media age of anonymity, where everyone can "bravely" say what they want without regards to the feelings of others. However, something else was gnawing at me, something that I couldn't quite nail down and then! There it was, right in front of my eyes. One of the most horrific statements, that not only hurt my heart and shook up my spirit, but broke my heart for the millions of eyes who were reading those very harmful words who either suffered this kind of loss in the past or were in the middle of suffering and dealing with this kind of loss currently. What statement was it that turned my intention around? People were saying that suicide sent him to Hell! And worse yet was reading those words, from Christians! From people who didn't KNOW him on a personal level, and only knew him like the rest of the world.....PUBLICLY and IMPERSONALLY.
I always pray about my blog posts before writing them because I really try to write what the Holy Spirit leads me to write. I had two ideas laid on my heart, and on the burners, when he passed. I couldn't seem to write more than a few sentences before this subject would pop into my head and spirit. Well, as a result of not being able to finish the other posts right now, I prayed about it, was lead to a new, but hidden, article about him, and the Lord took me off the first article and changed my direction to this one! I'm OK with that because I pray that these words that I will soon be writing, will touch someone, comfort someone or give wisdom to someone that needs it!
Robin Williams was one of those rare comedic geniuses who crossed over into different generations. Comedy is a unique career path and an even more unique skill, or talent depending on how you look at it. The majority of comedians are generational-specific. By that, I mean, they resonate with those of their time and never really span much more than a decade, if that. Not Robin Williams. He came on the scene in the late '70's with a sit-com called, "Mork and Mindy," taking the world by storm ever since. Who was this man!?! Everyone has some memory of their favorite movie, stand-up routine, cartoon voice overs or the ingenious way he would completely take over an interview! No matter who you are, or where you live, he could make you laugh with his brilliance. He could make you forget about your pains and sorrows for just a little while. He could make you relate to his "characters" that he would so brilliantly create on the spot. His mind was amazing. His mind was unbelievably creative....unlike any other. The people who really knew him on a personal and professional level, couldn't say enough about his talent, his improvisational skills and his bullet-speed quickness in his delivery!
Now, with that said, when the media lit up about his suicide, it ignited so much emotion across the social media that it was mind blowing. First of all, it's not the first suicide that Hollywood has experienced and sadly, it won't be the last. Second of all, suicide is NOT the problem here and too many people focused on the ACT instead of the problem that caused the action. Mental illness, addictions, trauma and physical issues. The mind is a curious thing. It's one of the mysteries of our existence. It's fragile and can be "broken" at any time. I remember watching "Mork and Mindy" one evening with my mom and out of the blue she said, God rest her soul, "Sweety, now there's a broken soul. He's a very SAD man behind those eyes." Well, at 15-16 years old, what did I know, right? Then maybe a few years later, we saw an interview with him, and I could actually SEE that sadness that mom had spoken of a few years earlier. I suddenly saw someone that couldn't turn it "off" and for a second, when he'd pause briefly for reflection, you'd see it in his eyes. They were sad. Very sad. Very hurt. Very lost. This was the beginning of my looking at people in a whole different light. That was one of those "moments" that one doesn't forget and every time I'd see him in an interview after that moment, I saw the same thing, sometimes worse, but always behind those eyes, was a deep sadness. I remember the discussion mom and I had afterwards about depression and hiding behind "masks" and this was around 1979-1981! She felt it important enough at that time to talk to me about it and so I listened. And learned.
|2 Corinthians 3:17|
Before I begin my discussion on suicide, and his salvation, take a look at the below information found straight out of the Bible!
Christ died for US
John 3:16 - "And God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him, should not perish but have everlasting life."
Romans 5:8 - "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
Acts 3:19 - "Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord."
John 3:36 - "He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."
John 1:12 - "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."
Ephesians 2:8-9 - "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast."
Assurance of Salvation
John 10:27-28 - "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand."
Salvation ONLY in Him
John 14:6 - "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me."
Acts 4:12 - "Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Remember, it isn't by the works you do, nor the hours you spend in church. It isn't about how good you are, or how good you THINK you are, that will get you saved and guarantee eternal life. Because it is important to understand that ALL people have a sin problem! Romans 3:23, "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" and in Romans 6:23, "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." It's believing that Jesus died for your sins, repenting, asking for forgiveness and receiving the Son into your heart! And you will have everlasting life, reigning with the King forever more! Did you see conditions or exceptions there? Anywhere in those scriptures?! No! The conditions are set forth by your belief in Jesus Christ, your repentance of your sins, your receiving Jesus Christ as your Savior! Receiving the FREE GIFT. It isn't a gift until you accept it, receive it and hold it!
Back to the issue at hand....Suicide! This is an awful, terrible act and out of ALL the ways to die, suicide is the ONE act that not only leaves so many loved ones feeling as though they "missed" something, but it leaves behind guilt and blame and in some cases shame. Nobody understands suicide! Nobody really can even explain it because that would mean knowing the thoughts and minds of those who commit this tragedy. Only one person can do that and that's God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit! People call it "selfish" and "cowardly" or taking the "cowards" way out. To some, it is seen as such. Well, in the minds of those who take their lives, they BELIEVE the opposite. They believe everyone ELSE would be better off without them being a "burden" to their friends and family. That's how their minds work through this act and they convince themselves that they are being BRAVE by removing themselves from burdening others. Remember, if someone is at the point in their lives to commit suicide, they are NOT mentally stable. Whether they've been battling a mental disorder/disease all of their lives, or something recently "snapped," they have become unstable for whatever reason.
Suicide is MURDER. Let's make that distinction first. This makes suicide NO different than any other "sin" in the bible EXCEPT the ONE unpardonable sin of "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit." Matthew 12:31-32, "Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men. v32) Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come." And in Mark 3:29, "but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is subject to eternal condemnation” If you deny the Holy Spirit's entrance into your life, to work his sanctification in you, you cannot be cleansed from unrighteousness. Therefore, "blasphemy against the Holy Ghost" can be understood as a continued and persistently stubborn rejection of the gospel of salvation. This would be an "unpardonable sin" because as long as a person remains in unbelief, he voluntarily excludes himself from forgiveness of sin.
It would be difficult to argue that suicide is not a sin, because it's the taking of a human life, or to put it bluntly, murder. It isn't the murder of someone else, it's self-murder, but murder nonetheless. Murder is the taking of A LIFE. Yours or someone else's life. Period. The Bible clearly expresses the sanctity of human life in Exodus 20:13, "You shall not murder." God is the author of life, thus, the giving and taking of life ought to remain in his hands, Job 1:21, "And he said: “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” In Deuteronomy 30:19-20, you can hear the truest heart of God crying out for His people to choose life, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; v20) that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”
|His Hands Hold YOU!|
Suicide is a terrible tragedy, but it does NOT negate the Lord's act of redemption! Our salvation rests securely in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. So then, "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13! Will Jesus welcome home a believer who died at their own hands? I absolutely believe He will, tenderly and lovingly because He said ALL of our sins were forgiven and remembered no more. Would He not welcome home a believer who chose to have an abortion? Is this sin any different than suicide? He said that nobody would snatch them from His hands and that whosoever believes in Him shall have ETERNAL life. The Biblical basis for this is in Romans 8:38-39, and I'm capitalizing the whole thing for emphasis upon His precious PROMISE to us, "FOR I AM PERSUADED THAT NEITHER DEATH NOR LIFE, NOR ANGELS NOR PRINCIPALITIES NOR POWERS, NOR THINGS PRESENT NOR THINGS TO COME V39) NOR HEIGHT NOR DEPTH, NOR ANY OTHER CREATED THING, SHALL BE ABLE TO SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF GOD WHICH IS IN CHRIST JESUS OUR LORD." This covers A LOT of ground, wouldn't you say?! Are WE not "created things?" So then, how is it that we can trust in this beautiful promise that He so profoundly spoke to us, then deny its same comfort to those people who doubly grieve for brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives and friends who, in horrible, desperate, clouded moments of total despair and in their darkest moments, decided to end their lives? I believe that Jesus died not only for the sins of us all, but for all of our sins, including the forgotten ones, even suicide.
Some people, Christians included, think suicide can't be forgiven. They say it's because the person who took their own life couldn't have repented of doing it and they were playing "God." I find terrible fault with this way of thinking because all of us commit sins that we're too spiritually cloddish to recognize for the sins that they are! And, as born again Christians, we ALL die with sins not named and repented of. That's why we have a Savior who remember our sins no more....covered us in His precious blood and forgave us of every single sin - past, present and future. Even those that we don't recognize as sin in our worldly fleshly ways. It's because of our humanly natural ways that we can't recognize all of our sins because we tend to justify them....sometimes to death. But if we are truly born again believers in Jesus Christ as our Savior, we will have eternal life with our Father in Heaven!
|He Paid Our Sin Debt in FULL|
As a quick side note, before I continue, is to make mention of being in bondage and under strongholds. Many Christians struggle with bondage and strongholds, most not even realizing it until something finally grabs hold of their spirits and shakes them up a little. Anyone who has been truly delivered from a stronghold or a form of bondage, understands how blinding they can be, how BINDING they can become, how heavy they can be to carry around and how they can cloud your views and judgment to a point of making poor life and spiritual choices. Satan is behind each of them. Lying through his teeth. Laughing the whole time. Being in bondage to a sin, or to sins, to the world itself, stifles your relationship and growth with the Lord BUT it doesn't mean He forsakes you or turns His back on you. Quite the opposite if we call out to Him with our hearts and souls! In our darkest moments, when we call upon the Lord the loudest, when our hearts are the most broken, is when He will be felt and seen the most! Sometimes, for some people, though, their illness, or bondage or strongholds consumes them and they find it more difficult to cry out during those times of total desperation. When you have strongholds and are under bondage and also have a mental illness/disorder, then how much more confused and desperate do you think that person becomes? Being in bondage is a very real thing. Some people would say something like, "Oh they are fighting their own demons." Or something like, "They've been fighting their own demons for years." And even something on the lines of, 'They're afraid to be alone in silence because they don't want to deal with their demons." Well, those are all pretty good examples of what being in bondage is like. Just because you are a saved, born again believer in Jesus, doesn't mean that everything changes overnight! We are sanctified daily! But the transformation doesn't happen overnight....and depending on if there is discipleship in that persons life, can also predict growth or lack thereof.
Every single day we are being worked on, growing, learning, changing, cleansed. It's easier for some than for others just as it is quicker for some than for others. Robin Williams was definitely in bondage to many things to a point that it overwhelmed him. It consumed him actually. He felt hopeless. And it's sad. Very sad. Nobody knows the torment this man suffered. Except for the Lord Himself! Yes, it's true that by accepting Jesus as our Savior transforms us from the inside out, but it doesn't happen overnight. Some very good, God fearing, born again believers in Christ suffered immensely unto their deaths because of bondage and strongholds, because of addictions and diseases. There are many more that weren't saved that went to their deaths the same way....which ones should WE, as Christians, be more concerned with?
Many commentators, bloggers and others reporting on this "breaking news" automatically ASSUMED that Robin Williams wasn't a born again Christian BECAUSE he committed suicide. How presumptuous! They flooded the comments sections with their thoughts and "truths" and they flooded the cyberspace areas with thoughts and memories. All on the first day of hearing about his death. All without even knowing for CERTAIN that it was suicide, even though it appeared that way. It's still presumptuous. It's still premature. So the next day, in a hidden article, tucked away nicely from the public view, late at night, there is was....in the headlines...."Robin Williams "accepted Jesus Christ!"" For all to SEE. But did they? Not too many discussions arose after this hidden away article came out. Interesting? Not really. People would rather focus on other things of less importance and spewing condemnation of his eternal soul. I cringed but I prayed for peace! Now for those who followed Robin knew he had an Episcopalian upbringing and would base some of his jokes on that said upbringing. He was searching still when sometime later in his career, and through his depression, seeds had been planted by a few friends and one person in particular who shared the same kind of upbringing in the Episcopalian church and later became a born again Christian. This person is a Dr of Theology and said that after one of Robin's many stints in rehab, he "accepted Jesus Christ." He reminisced about their conversations and upbringing and how this Dr shared the gospel with Robin.
If you did follow Robin and happened to have the privilege to catch some of his interviews, on those rare occasions, when he would be able to contain the "public" Robin, he'd mention his reliance upon his FAITH and Jesus to get him out of his dark places. It was GENUINE. If you had eyes to see, then you would see how God was behind his eyes during those rare interviews. It wasn't a put on. Some things are just evident. He said at one point he realized, and I'm paraphrasing this, when he was at his lowest point, in the darkest part of his life, coming face to face with God made him come closer to Him and made him realize God and his family was ALL he had!!! As I read that, I was warmed to my spirit BUT furious at the same time!! Furious that people had already condemned this man without knowing anything about him. Or his HEART! Judging him before knowing truth. I was furious that they spoke about him spending eternity in hell because he committed suicide, to a world of HURTING people!!! To people who may have lost a loved one, that was a born again believer, to suicide now possibly putting doubts in their minds about where they will be spending eternal life. Furious that these Christians were HURTING the kingdom of God more than they were HELPING!!!
Then there's that statement, ""No one who is truly a Christian will succumb to addiction and depression or (fill in the blank) much less take his own life" which is tragically false. With all due respect, this is the sort of theology that damages God's children and minimizes one's ability to serve in God's Kingdom. There are "true Christians" all over the world who love Jesus with all their heart, who have faith in Him, but yet, are in bondage of some kind, or who suffer mental disorders/diseases. Being a Christian doesn't make any of us exempt from pain, suffering, flaws and mental disorders...but it does provide us a source in overcoming them daily. Still...with that being said, there are sometimes when we are overcome today by what we defeated yesterday. Remember what Ephesians 6:12 tells us, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." This battle is very real and while yours may not be provoking you toward suicide, depression or addiction, Robin's definitely was. What Robin lost was his perspective. I know you've all heard the saying, "Perception is reality." Well, Robin's perception became his reality. He may have lost perspective of life, but he didn't lose his status as a 'Christian' or his love from God.
And anyone who followed his career, and what he allowed in the public eye, also knew Robin Williams as a "giver" of himself and his wealth. He LOVED the wounded warriors program and our soldiers, and put on some shows for them as well as visiting soldiers and supporting their cause financially. He LOVED children and supported St. Jude's hospital. He donated to causes that he DIDN'T brag about. He gave to others unselfishly because he loved. He did it humbly. Just like the bible tells us! Be humble givers and don't brag. He never did. He lived a primarily quiet life, out of the spotlight, unless he was promoting a movie or his recent television show, or a stand up comedy tour. Otherwise, he humbly stayed in the background, fighting his demons, struggling with his life, and silently crying out! There are lives he touched that none of us will ever know about. He made so many people laugh, and cry, and covered up his own sadness and tears. He had problems, sure. He had made mistakes. Sure. He wasn't perfect. But we all have problems, we all make mistakes and NONE of us are perfect. We ALL fall short of the glory of God! When Robin Williams accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior, he was sealed with the blood of Christ, promised eternal life and forgiven of ALL of his sins. The only thing that would condemn Robin Williams to hell is if he CHOSE NOT to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior. Not suicide. Not the sin that was bought and paid for by the blood of Jesus. Let Jesus' own words be a comfort to all of you who may have experienced this kind of tragedy of a loved one who was a suffering Christian! Loved ones who have died at their own hands we can safely entrust to our gracious God!
|He DOES Hear Your Cries!|
The REAL question we need to ask ourselves, and not OTHERS, is, "Are WE doing the will of the Father? Or are we just acting like it?" If we truly have the love of God residing within us, we are mature enough to know that addiction, depression, idolatry, jealousy, pornography, murder and many more battles are being waged against God's children by Satan himself. Ephesians 6:12 once again, "For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places." This is why all of God's people need each other...so we don't lose each other to the lies that Satan and the suicidal thoughts he whispers in the ears of our loved ones, or those we may know. We need each other to be encouraged to pray for one another and to serve each other in Jesus' name! I'm convinced there wasn't many, if any at all, of those kinds of people in Robin's circle doing those kinds of things for him. This serves as a grave reminder to be sensitive to others around us, to be able to spot someone who may be battling these same battles, and who just might be spiraling into that deep darkened pit of despair. Suicide is an act taken in RESPONSE to feeling absolutely defeated by life.
Robin Williams death left me convinced that what had driven him to commit suicide had been his inability see the Hope and Joy that Jesus set in front of him because of his mental instability that consumed his very existence. He struggled for many many years to try to shake his addictions, to conquer his inner demons that produced his clinical depression and that would eventually cause him to feel like a failure in everyone's eyes, but especially his own. He couldn't feel that way because he was expected to make the whole world laugh. His expectations, not others. I'm convinced that as he looked in the mirror, he didn't see the person the whole world saw. The person he created for the world to see was the person he wanted to be but just couldn't for whatever reason. I'm convinced that Robin Williams saw a totally different man that was broken, bound up, sad, and fractured. his death also left me convinced that we, as Christians, need more compassion and love towards the battles of others, and less of fingers wagging and condemnation. Nobody escapes this life without sin....there are two choices, to have those sins covered by the blood of Jesus and to accept Him as our Savior, spending eternity in Heaven with our Father, or to go to our death with our sins fully exposed, refusing the free gift of Salvation that is offered to us in this life, spending eternity in Hell. I've made my choice many years ago.....I pray that you have chosen Jesus too. If you haven't, please take this time, where you're at right now, and believe on Jesus Christ as the only Begotten Son, who was born of a virgin, died on the Cross for ALL of our sins, who bought and paid for our sin debt in full, and rose three days later, repent of your sins, ask for forgiveness, and accept the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior!
May you rest in peace in the arms of God!