Tomorrow Is World Suicide Prevention Day #BeThe1To

Tomorow is World Suicide Prevention Day and I wanted to stop and share a few thoughts with you. From most of the reading I do it seems that depression and suicide are on the rise here in America.

So here are a few articles, links, resources that can help you, or someone you love, know how to deal with the sensitive topic of suicide and depression.

HERE is an article I wrote about a year ago after Anthony Bourdain committed suicide.

THIS link has five steps you can take to help a friend who is contemplating suicide. #BeThe1To

HERE is a book that does a great job of talking about the fact that Christians can get depressed and what we can do about it.

One of the things that we need to keep in mind is that many times people who are hurting the most keep up a facade in public of being OK. So my suggestion would be that if you begin to wonder if someone is struggling ask them out for coffee. Ask questions. Genuinely listen. Show compassion. You could be the one that God uses to save a life.

If you need immediate help, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24/7 at 800-273-8255, or go to

Seven Signs You Might Be A Legalist

I am currently preaching through the book of Romans and came to this passage…

Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things. 2 We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. 3 Do you suppose, O man—you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself—that you will escape the judgment of God? 4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed. -Romans 2:1-5 (ESV)

Paul is communicating a number of important truths in this passage. But one takeaway (as seen in verse 4) is that Christians who have genuinely experienced the glorious truths of the gospel should not be harsh, judgmental, or unkind to others. Put it like this. If we really knew how gracious, patient, and kind God has been to us we would repent of our sin and stop being so harsh toward others.

When we fail to understand the gospel we run the risk of becoming highly legalistic in how we relate to the world and to other people.


  1. You lack humility. “God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.” (Luke 18:11–12).
  2. You turn gray issues into black and white issues. Music, books, movies, modes of schooling, are not just something you have a personal opinion about. You impose your personal convictions on others. It’s really hard for you to believe that others can honestly love the Lord and disagree with you about what is wrong or right.
  3. You have a strong desire to make sure that other people know you are right.
  4. You lack grace, compassion and patience with others. 
  5. You think if it is “secular” it is wrong. Oddly enough, this idea that secular is bad can not be sustained if we think about it for very long. Is the news you listen to Christian? Do you shop at Christian stores? Do you only read books and articles that are written by Christians? Abraham Kuyper put it like this, “There is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry, Mine!”
  6. You have a really hard time dealing with the fact that Jesus was called “a friend of sinners.” Something about that does not sit well with you. You inwardly wonder how Jesus avoided becoming contaminated by the world. Jesus was called a friend of sinners because he was filled with grace, compassion and mercy.
  7. You have a critical spirit but think it is a discerning spirit.


Take this issue to the Lord in prayer. Ask God to reveal to you if you are failing to show the same grace and patience that he has poured out upon you.

Another idea. Take a few people out (at different times) for coffee and ask them their honest opinion. I don’t mean the people who think just like you. Ask them if they can sense a spirit of legalism in your life. Give them permission to speak their mind.

If you come to the conclusion that you are a legalist ask God to forgive you and to soften your heart so that you love others the same way that he loves you.

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. -Matthew 23:23

For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. -John 1:17

As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. -Romans 14:1

You observe days and months and seasons and years! I am afraid I may have labored over you in vain. -Galatians 4:10-11

If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations—  “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch”  (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings?  These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. -Colossians 2:20-23



Angry Christians and the Compassion of God

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you…” -Matthew 5:43-44

Jonah had just preached the shortest sermon recorded in Scripture to the wicked residents of Nineveh. The very thing that Jonah was nervous about happened; the Ninevites repented of their sin.

Here is how the prophet Jonah responded to revival breaking out in Nineveh:

But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, “O LORD, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that you are a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster. -Jonah 4:1-2

Everything in this story is upside down. The prophet of God is rebellious and the wicked city of Nineveh is repentant.

But don’t miss this, a direct contrast is being made between Jonah and the God he claims to be serving. Jonah is angry and God is merciful and slow to anger. The point being made is quite clear. We need to be less like Jonah and more like God. We need to drop the unrighteous anger and instead become people of compassion.

It seems to me that there is more anger and rage present today among confessing Christians than what I have witnessed in the past. You see it online in the name calling, demonizing spiritual and political opponents, and the failure to love people who are different than us.

“The tragedy is that in the name of resisting the internal deterioration of faith and the corruption of the world around them, many Christians – and Christian conservatives most significantly – unwittingly embrace some of the most corrosive aspects of the cultural disintegration they decry. By nurturing its resentments, sustaining them through a discourse of negation toward outsiders, and in cases, pursuing their will to power, they become functional Nietzscheans, participating in the very cultural breakdown they so ardently strive to resist.” -James Davison Hunter

Here is a critically important question, why do we react with rage and anger when God is calling his people first and foremost to be people of compassion? I think there are a variety of answers to this question but I will highlight three.

  • Christians are angry because they feel like they are losing ground in today’s culture war. As Christians we are accustomed to our society being under-girded by our faith. What we find unsettling is that our American culture is increasingly becoming post-Christian and therefore more secularized. The result is that people are losing their mind when others do not see politics or the world the same way they do. My opinion is that we should not be fighting a culture war in the first place. Our rage and commitment to winning arguments is not going to change the world. Deep down we know this, right? What will make a difference is if the world sees Christians entering into this suffering world with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ.
  • Christians are angry because they care about the wrong things. You know how the story ends. Even after God explains that he is going to withdraw his judgment upon Nineveh Jonah heads up to a hill for a better view just in case God does decide to wipe them out. As Jonah is watching and waiting God provides a plant to give him some shade from the heat of the sun. Then God sends a worm to destroy the plant and Jonah’s response is that he would rather die than deal with the heat. What God was exposing in Jonah’s heart is that he cared more for his own comfort than he did the eternal destiny of the Ninevites. This begs the question, what do we care more about? Our material possessions, careers, success and comfort or to see people entering into the kingdom of God?
  • Christians are angry because they are losing sight of the basics of the gospel. I really think this is the huge, underlying problem with how Christians are responding to our culture today. Jesus died for us when we were dead and lost in our sin. We were living a rebellious life and had done nothing to merit the compassion of Jesus. Yet Christ still pursued us out of a heart filled with great compassion. When we truly comprehend these gospel truths we discover that there is no room for unrighteous anger towards others who are lost without Christ. “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?” -Romans 2:4

Let’s be honest, being angry is the much easier option than living as people of compassion. When we are motivated by unrighteous anger we don’t need to bother with being led by the Holy Spirit. When we are angry we are more likely to stay in our house, behind our locked doors, and far away from others who are different than us. Compassion is going to require much more from us. The church is not called to simply vote for politicians who will meet the needs of our hurting world. The church is called to get involved itself and to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ.

So the question before us is the same one God asked Jonah at the end of chapter 4. Is it good for you to be angry?

Picture is taken from dailycallerdotcom