It’s Not Your Fault: A Response to Matt Walsh

If you’ve not read Matt Walsh’s take on Robin Williams’ suicide, you can do so here.

When I was about 9, my mom’s battle with depression really started heating up. I remember a lot of gray days and mean words; for a while there, she wasn’t a nice person. After almost a year of weight loss, sadness, anger, and frustration, she finally went for help, which came in the form of counseling and meds. And life turned around.

I do not hold my mother responsible for any of the mean things she said, any of the cuss words she thew at me, any of the times she slammed the door and hid in her room for hours. She was sick.

While I agree with Walsh that people suffering from mental illness certainly make poor decisions, even willfully, I don’t believe they can be held accountable. Does a dog return to it’s vomit? Yup. But it’s doing it out of some weird instinct that drives it do so, not because it doesn’t know any better.

We can talk about how maybe Robin Williams knew better, that maybe he was selfish in the choice he made. Or maybe we’re just looking for someone to blame because when we lose someone, everything just hurts.

And that’s the real bummer. It hurts.

I’ve dealt with loss. I won’t go into the details here, but if you really want to know, just ask and I’ll tell you. In the mean time, I learned an important lesson. Sometimes there’s no one to blame and we have to admit that as much as we live in a beautiful world, it has sharp edges on broken pieces from the fall.

I’m not going to blame Robin. I’m not going to blame my mom. Or God. I won’t even do the “Christian” thing and blame the devil (though he is certainly aiding all this pain). I’m going to chalk all this pain up to what it really is: unfortunate.

If you’re reading this and thinking about taking your own life—Please, don’t. I know it hurts and you want it to stop hurting, but sometimes God asks us to walk through pain and we have to follow Him because he walked through pain too. He walked through it because the joy that followed made the pain seem the tiniest blade of grass under a vast, blue sky. Hope and wait for that blue sky. Let Him work through you as He promised He would.

Pain is the common denominator that binds us all together. Thankfully, the equation works out to hope.

Before I quit, I would like to remind us all of what the Apostle Paul said in his epistle to the Colossians:

“Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders, making the most of the opportunity. Let your speech always be with grace, as though seasoned with salt, so that you will know how you should respond to each person.

I respect Walsh’s opinion, but we have to be careful about how we say things, especially as an evermore secular media slowly applies pressure to mainstream evangelicalism. Headlines like his simply make us look mean. Please, speak the truth, but speak it well.

Truth is good meat, but no one likes to eat it raw.