Pastors are only human.
It’s easy to forget that spiritual leaders face the same stresses and challenges as the members of their congregations. Dealing daily with the struggles of others often exacerbates the problem. This reality hit home when Jarrid Wilson, who was an associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, Calif., took his life on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day. Ironically, he had just performed the funeral of another suicide victim.
In a blog post just over a year ago, Wilson highlighted his lifelong struggle with his own mental health while pushing back against the idea that suicide damns people to hell.
“As terrible as it sounds, mental health issues can lead many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they didn’t struggle,” he wrote. “If you don’t believe me, I’d encourage you to get to know someone with PTSD, Alzheimer’s or OCD so that you can better understand where I’m coming from. As someone who’s struggled with severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions, I can assure you that what I’m saying is true.”
In a public message on Harvest Christian Fellowship’s website, Pastor Greg Laurie said, “It is with the deepest sadness and shock that I have to report that Jarrid Wilson went to be with the Lord last night. At a time like this, there are just no words. Sometimes people may think that as pastors or spiritual leaders we are somehow above the pain and struggles of everyday people. We are the ones who are supposed to have all the answers. But we do not.”
“At the end of the day, pastors are just people who need to reach out to God for His help and strength, each and every day,” Laurie said.
–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice