Jarrid Wilson, pastor and author of Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World, died by suicide on Monday September 9, 2019. The news of his death came the next day on World Suicide Prevention Day 2019.
Jarrid, a passionate child of God and church pastor, worked so hard to help others find their way out of hopelessness, depression, and suicidal thoughts…and on this day, he died by suicide. He was a 30-year-old husband and father.
Jarrid Wilson Fought to De-Stigmatize Mental Illness in the Church
Previously, Wilson wrote about the deaths of Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade that “my heart breaks for the families of Anthony and Kate, and I’m praying God will cover them with nothing but peace and comfort.”
So many people commented on Bourdain and Spade’s deaths that their eternal destiny was at stake that Wilson put pen to paper. He wrote…
“I’m writing this post because I want people to understand that these statements couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, they’re ill-thought and without proper biblical understanding…Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace.”
Wilson openly admitted that he struggled with severe depression and suicidal thoughts:
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. 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.”
Jarrid Wilson’s Last Day Was Focused on Helping Others
On the day that Jarrid Wilson died by suicide, he tweeted what seemed to be messages of hope for those who struggle with mental health issues.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure suicidal thoughts.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure depression.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure PTSD.
Loving Jesus doesn’t always cure anxiety.
But that doesn’t mean Jesus doesn’t offer us companionship and comfort.
He ALWAYS does that.
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) September 9, 2019
On the day of his death, Wilson officiated a funeral for a woman who died by suicide. Jarrid was an associate pastor at megachurch Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California.
Officiating a funeral for a Jesus-loving woman who took her own life today.
Your prayers are greatly appreciated for the family.
— Jarrid Wilson (@JarridWilson) September 9, 2019
In the middle of his own struggles and his work to help others with de-stigmatizing mental illness in the church, he challenged the church to develop a deeper theology around these issues.
“Stop telling people that suicide leads to hell. It’s bad theology and proof one doesn’t understand the basic psychology surrounding mental health issues. In closing, we must understand God hates suicide just as much as the next person. Why? Because it defies God’s yearning for the sanctity of life. But while suicide is not something God approves of, no mess is too messy for the grace of Jesus. This includes suicide.”
Jarrid and his wife, Juli, were the founders of faith-centered Anthem of Hope because of their “passion to help equip the church with the resources needed to help better assist those struggling with depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction and suicide.”
Before news of his tragic passing spread, Juli Wilson posted this on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
My loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt of his back husband went to be with Jesus late last night . No more pain, my jerry, no more struggle. You are made complete and you are finally free. Suicide and depression fed you the worst lies, but you knew the truth of Jesus and I know you’re by his side right this very second . I love you forever, Thomas jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest. You loved me and our boys relentlessly and we are forever grateful that i had YOU as a husband and a father to my boys . You are my forever and I will continue to let other people know of the hope in Jesus you found and spoke so boldly about . Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said “Hope Gets the last word. Jesus does”. Your life’s work has lead thousands to the feet of Jesus and your boldness to tell other about your struggle with anxiety and depression has helped so many other people feel like they weren’t alone. YOU WERE an anthem of hope to everyone, baby, and I’ll do my best to continue your legacy of love until my last breath . I need you, jare. But you needed Jesus to hold you and I have to be okay with that. You are everything to me. Since the day we met. J & J. Love you more . These are photos of him in his happy place – fishing the day away . I’ll teach our boys all your tricks, babe. Promise. You are my #anthemofhope
In “Why Suicide Doesn’t Always Lead to Hell,” one of the last articles we published from Jarrid Wilson, he wrote:
“Does God approve of suicide? Nope!
Does God view suicide as a bad thing? Yup!
Is God’s grace sufficient even for those who have committed suicide? Yup!”
We at churchleaders.com are grateful for Jarrid Wilson’s generosity to share his writing with our readers and for his determination to battle the demons of mental illness. Our prayers are with his family and friends as they grieve the loss of one who fought so well.
If you’d like to support others struggling with suicidal thoughts, consider donating to Anthem of Hope today.