Everywhere you go on the internet today, people are expressing their sorrow over the death of Robin Williams. When I heard the news, I too was devastated. Yet when we discovered it was suicide, the grief deepened. Why? That answer is probably different for the many ways we perceived him. Some miss him for his funny movies, his quirky lines from Mork and Mindy, his amazing diverse roles as Mrs. Doubtfire, Dead Poets Society, Jumanji, and a plethora more. My children grew up with him, the voice of Alladin and character in Happy Feet. Robin Williams became part of the collective American conscience.
So we grieve for the tragic loss of an American icon, a beloved actor. My distress is of another sort with spiritual implications. He died of his own doing, depressed and with no hope. My heart breaks for him. Could not one person penetrate this glamorous, incredibly successful actor? Was there no one in Hollywood that could break through his successful armor and extend the love of Jesus? Perhaps someone had tried. I know the Christian radio station in our area, The Sound of Life prays weekly for the rich and famous.
Perhaps he was closed to the gospel because of his liberal leaning. But Jesus was the most liberal, giving person to ever walk the face of the earth. Why do Christians have to be labeled as narrow minded, right wing fanatics? That is only a small percentage of us. Could not a true representative of Christ show who Jesus really is? A lover of the downtrodden, the depressed, the rich and the poor, the healer of the emotionally and physically sick, wonderful counselor, the hope of nations. Somehow Robin Williams missed that message.
The Bible does state that it is “easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle, then to enter the kingdom of God” (Matthew 19:24). Perhaps that was his problem. His riches and fame insulated him from needing Jesus. Yet the Bible says its difficult, but not impossible. Then why didn’t his depression cause him to seek the love of God? Perhaps Mr. Williams was never directed that way. With the professionals attending him, probably the best in the field, did not one of them direct Robin to the Savior of the World? Did not one, "carpe diem" seize the day? While each man and woman has to make their own choice about what to do with Jesus, it is also the responsibility of the church to truly represent the life of Christ.
We, the church have many tools at our disposal. We can first pray, reach out to the lost and hurting, support Christian ministries, be creative in our witness, produce movies with a dynamic Christian theme, write articles, books, devotions etc., volunteer, become counselors, pastors, teachers and a plethora of other ways to reach our communities. In essence, we can show a hurting, lost world the love of God and the hope of all mankind, Jesus.
The hour is getting late. More people are becoming depressed and hopeless. Carpe diem. Seize the day.