I’m not sure that I’ve ever wrestled with the title and content of a blog post with greater care or for a longer amount of time. Nothing about titling this post or developing its content seems right. I don’t know the Warren family. Any public mention of this in today’s self-serving world of personal brand-building via technology and all its tools seems exploitive. That’s not my intent. Rather, my intent here is to speak to how I’ve already heard some people speak to Matthew Warren’s death.
Everyone is talking about this story. News media and social media has been buzzing since Saturday when the news about Matthew Warren’s death broke. I haven’t even come close to watching all the reports or tracking what everyone is saying about what happened and what led up to it. It’s horrible. . . plain and simple. This is not the way things are supposed to be and we all know that in our gut. Nobody is feeling that more than this young man’s family and friends. The rest of us – unless we’ve been through it – can’t even begin to imagine.
Some of what I’ve seen and heard has been troubling. It’s for that reason that I want to very quickly mention some guidelines that I believe might be helpful as we ponder how to best respond to what’s happened. . . not only in this story, but in the thousands of others like it. Here are some strongly stated Don’ts and one simple Do. . . .
- Don’t speculate. Don’t speculate on what happened or the reasons behind it. Don’t speculate on the specific causes and circumstances. We don’t know. We won’t know. We don’t need to know.
- Don’t blame. The legalists and Pharisees among us will quickly dissect this in ignorant ways that throw blame, and shred an already hurting family. Enough said.
- Don’t simplify. This was a 27-year-old man whose story was just as complex as your story and my story. There are no easy answers here.
- Don’t exploit the story. . . especially on social media.
- Don’t downplay depression. It’s not something a person can magically turn on and turn off with the flick of switch or a decision. If you’ve been there yourself or with someone you love, you know how powerful, deeply difficult, and complex depression is.
- Don’t discount what God will do. God will glorify Himself through this.
- Do pray. Pray for Matthew Warren’s family and friends. Pray for all those who suffer under the debilitating cloud of depression.