How Do We Respond to the Loss of Human Life?

No one can understand the place the human mind and soul go when overtaken by depression. Unless you've been there. Whether a season or a lifetime condition, mental illness is just that: it is an illness. And if that dark place of depression leads to such despair that taking one’s life seems like the only sensible thing to do - well, only those who’ve sat on that ledge can truly know that soulish agony.

I sat with a young man last week at a hospital where he was working his way back from attempting to take his own life.  Back on his medication, he was still confused about his decision to end his life just four days prior. Then four days later, the world heard the news of our loss of Chester Bennington, lead singer, Linkin Park. 

I hope - whether we understand or not - that our response is NOT…

  • See what drugs will do.
  • He made a selfish decision.
  • If he’d been a Christian…
  • This is a poor example to his followers. 

Such thoughts and comments disclose our dualistic thinking: “us” vs “them.” Furthermore, we reveal our judgment of “them” - people who in some way, we deem to be different than us. When we think or say any of the above, we demonstrate our tendency to measure morality rather than practice loving unconditionally. 

When we think “us”/“them;” when we judge; when we play moral police - we miss recognizing pain and despair as reasons to care deeply about someone. We dismiss the grieving that any human should experience when another human chooses to end life. We may not stop and pray for those closest to Chester - or anyone else - who experience profound loss of someone they love dearly (HERE is a beautiful letter from Chester’s band, Linkin Park). 

I hope - regardless of our ability to understand suicide - that our response WILL be…

  • There’s so much I don’t understand.
  • His life mattered.
  • His music showed us what human transparency looks like. 
  • God of grace, God of Love - we trust him to you.
  • Help me live my life as a model of hope - in Jesus. 

Let’s…

  • Stop judging what we don’t understand. 
  • Put our moral measuring stick away.
  • Mourn, grieve, lament the loss of human life.

I urge you…

  • Listen to those around you. 
  • Be interested in others. 
  • Love them lavishly. 
  • Practice radical acceptance. 

And if you’re in a dark place, wondering if life is worth living, there is help - call: 1-800-273-8255 (National Suicide Prevention Hotline) or text Text HOME to 741741 (Crisis Text Line). If you live in the immediate Michiana area, email me