Over the weekend, Matthew Warren, the son of mega-church pastor Rick Warren tragically died as a result of suicide brought about by mental illness. It truly does sadden me when anyone dies, so my heart goes out to Rick Warren, the rest of his family, and those who knew Matt and called him a friend.
I’m saddened because I think Matt is dead. I think that everything he was as a person is gone and that he now only lives on in the memories of those who knew him. But Rick Warren doesn’t agree with me on this one. He believes that Matt had a purpose driven life and that the purpose of Matt’s life was Jesus. Rick Warren believes that Matt is not gone forever, but actually went on to a “better place.” In fact, Rick Warren believes he will see his son again when he dies. So why is he grieving?
Rick Warren is a popular author and mega-church pastor. He travels the country on occasion either to give speeches or to go on a book tour. Does he grieve for his family before he leaves? Okay, that isn’t fair – speaking engagements and book tours aren’t better places.
What if Rick’s family were to go on vacation to Disney World? Would Rick grieve for them? He would certainly miss them, but he would know that they went on to a better place and that he would see them again soon. So it would be pretty silly to grieve for his family if they went to Disney World, right?
But maybe Rick Warren realizes that suicide is a sin and that his son Matthew who has struggled all his life with mental illness will not be going to a better place after all. Maybe he will be going to “the other place.” You know the place where Matt is expected to be tortured for all eternity (which I should remind people, eternity is kind of a very long time). I do believe that pastor Warren does hold a belief in Hell. So that might be why he is grieving and that would certainly be understandable to grieve in that situation. Does Rick Warren really believe that the purpose driven life of Matt Warren is to be tortured for all eternity?
The way I see it, this life is the only life we have. When it is over, it is over. There are no “do overs.” If you have a mental illness, get help! Make the most out of your life. Make the world a better place for others. Live well and be remembered. Ben Franklin put it best when he said:
“If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth the reading, or do things worth the writing.”