Stay With Us | Have A Little Faith with Nadia Bolz-Weber
Nadia Bolz-Weber breaks the silence on a topic that has long been taboo in the church: suicide. Sharing her own experience with a close friend ending his life, Bolz-Weber also offers one powerful invitation to all: Please, stay with us.
NADIA BOLZ-WEBER: I don't know anyone who hasn't been impacted by, hurt by, and confused by someone ending their own life. I know that when my friend, PJ, died by suicide, everyone who knew him tried to make sense of it. We talked about his mental state, and what may have contributed to his death. We recalled recent phone calls, and conversations, and events, trying to piece together a narrative that would cohere to logic, and we couldn't make the math work. Because he was so loved, and had so many friends, and had just gotten his PhD, and was so funny, and so likeable. And try as I might, I could not crawl into my friend's interior world like some kind of investigative reporter of the soul, and find the truth. That's what we do. We try to know the truth about suicide, but we never can, not really. So I have no answers here. And I know the church has tended to get this one wrong for a very long time, adding more pain, and doing it in God's name-- that we never speak of suicide at all but. We can speak of it, we can. And there is the story of suicide in the gospels. It was the story of Judas. John's gospel tells us that the devil put it into Judas his heart to betray Jesus. But I suspect the devil didn't stop there. I think he probably kept lying to the Judas, convincing him that his death was of more value than his life. He was lied to. I know that anthropomorphized image of the devil with the red tail and pitchfork feels like a spiritual fairy tale, so if you can't get on board with the devil as an actual being, then think of the devil as all the evil and lies that seek to defy God. I do not know what thoughts are in the minds of those who end their lives. I cannot say what the words are. But I can say that whatever those words are, the thing those words form are lies. So when it comes to suicide, we must renounce all lies that seek to defy love. We must remind each other that God can find what is lost, redeem what is foul, love what is busted up. And that anything else in your head is a damn lie. If you cannot believe it, let me believe it for you. So please stay with us. Because soon, I might need you to believe it for me when I can't.