Pastor Greg Laurie Calls for Christians to Show Compassion to Those With Mental Health Issues After Jarrid Wilson’s Suicide

Pastor Greg Laurie speaks at Harvest Christian Fellowship church in Riverside, Calif., on Sept. 11, 2019. RNS photo by Alejandra Molina

Pastor Greg Laurie urged his grieving congregants at Harvest Christian Fellowship on Wednesday (Sept. 11) to have compassion for people dealing with mental health issues as the church copes with the news that one of its pastors died by suicide.

“Sometimes we want to just say, ‘They’re just not spiritual or they don’t love the Lord,’ and that’s just a ridiculous thing to say because they may have a struggle you know nothing about,” Laurie said.

Hundreds filled the pews at the church’s midweek service, two days after the death of preacher and mental health activist Jarrid Wilson.

Wilson, co-founder of the mental health nonprofit Anthem of Hope, was open about his own depression. He often posted on social media about his battles with mental illness.

Julie and Jarrid Wilson. Photo via @jarridwilson/Instagram

Just hours before his passing, Wilson had posted a series of tweets that dealt with suicide, including one encouraging followers to remember that loving Jesus doesn’t always cure illnesses such as depression, PTSD or anxiety.

“But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort,” he wrote.

Citing Scripture, Laurie preached about the tendency to hold certain people to elevated standards, “expecting them to be everything for us.” He advised to instead “look to Jesus Christ. … He’s the only one who will sustain you.”

Laurie said Wilson “knew that suicide was the wrong decision.”

“He knew it was not the answer. He was doing what he could to prevent it and to bring this issue to our attention,” Laurie said. “We need to remember what he told us on his best days, not his worst.

“He made a wrong decision, but he was forgiven by God,” he added.

Laurie also stressed the importance of seeking help when feeling depressed or experiencing suicidal thoughts.

“We don’t need to do life alone. We have each other. We have the church,” Laurie said.

In his sermon, he aimed to normalize mental health.

“We would not say of someone who died of cancer, ‘Why didn’t they overcome their cancer? Why didn’t they get the upper hand on it?’ … Just as there are issues like that, there are also mental issues that can be medical,” Laurie said.

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Source: Religion News Service