Sadness and Madness

Saturday shortly after noon, I filled up the dog bowl on the back porch with water and pitched dishes in the dishwasher so that I could head out with Melissa for a bite to eat and maybe a little shoe shopping. She’d spent the night with Keith and me in the country and we’d had a lazy Saturday morning over coffee and conversation. I’d set out my purse and keys and decided to wipe down the kitchen counter before we walked out the door. Just as I sprayed the cleaner and grabbed the dishtowel, Melissa walked in staring at the screen of her phone with the oddest expression.

“Mom, I don’t know if it’s true or not but I’m seeing references on Twitter to Rick and Kay Warren losing a son.”

She was ashen. My stomach flipped and, over the next few minutes as she read to me bits and pieces of breaking news, we feared the worst. I felt a hot sickness in my throat. My relationship with the Warrens is the same as most of yours. I have simply been served and led well by them. Although I had the joy of ministering to women on the Saddleback campus some years ago, my stay was brief and our schedules were wrapped entirely around the event. I have not had the opportunity to get to know the Warrens in the way that personal friends know one another but I always knew in my heart that I’d like them so much. We’re similar ages and in similar seasons with our families. Meanwhile, I have  loved them and esteemed them in Christ as faithful and mighty servants of the living Lord Jesus Christ. And quite possibly, among the mightiest to ever serve this generation.

Within an hour of Melissa walking into the kitchen with those first pieces of news, someone very close to the Warren family confirmed the tragedy on Twitter. We were heartsick and not for media personalities or even public servants. We were heartsick for a family of real people with breakable hearts. And we wept. Many of you undoubtedly did as well.

An odd mix of feelings overtook me with increasing force through the afternoon and into the early evening. The sadder I got, the madder I got. Mad at an astonishing satanic force that stoops viciously and swoops in unscrupulously to attack children and to prey on their weaknesses as they grow up, shooting so relentlessly at one spot that they can barely get to their feet between arrows. I’ve been that child and many of you have, too. Madder still that the devil in all likelihood delights in nothing more than targeting the children and dearest loved ones of true servants of God. Nothing tries our faith like the suffering of our children. At the end of the day, our faith is what the devil is after most. Without it, it’s impossible to please God. This is why Paul could say with relief nearly palpable on the page of his final letter, “I have fought the good fight. I have finished the race. I have kept the faith.

We’ll all finally make it to our finish lines but the cliffhanger along the way will be this: will we keep our faith? That isn’t the same thing as keeping our salvation. I don’t believe my salvation is something I can give back. I received it by grace through faith from Christ Himself and my works don’t secure it no matter how my woes obscure it. His grip never loosens. Nothing can snatch us out of our Father’s hand. What’s at risk is our active belief in who God says He is, what He says He is like, and what He says He can do.

Is He good? Is He faithful?

So the enemy sets out to knock the feet of our faith out from under our walk. And there is nothing more effective toward that end than targeting the ones we love most on this planet.

I don’t say that to scare you. I say it because I believe it is the hair-raising truth. No, we are not abandoned here as victims on this damaged sod. We are not abandoned at all. Our God is with us. The Spirit of His Son is in us. We are more than conquerors through the One who loves us. We are not at the mercy of Satan. We are at the glorious, life-breathing mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, a mercy that leads, as Jude 21 says, to eternal life and will ultimately spill like a river into a sea of reality where no sufferings of our past will compare with the glory of our present. In the meantime, greater is He who is in us than he who is in the world but make no mistake. This is a vicious world we’ve been left to serve. One God still loves or we would not still be here.

And then, in that mixture of emotions Saturday afternoon, I got madder and madder at the bullies in the Body of Christ. I thought how much it turns out that the Warrens have been through personally and, if they are like most leaders, all the while putting out fires and putting up with a bunch of trash-talk from people who would call the same Jesus Lord.

God help us. In the words of James, These things should not be so, my brothers and sisters.

I don’t believe one of us here in this community thinks that leaders should be immune to questions, constructive criticism, and accountability.  That’s not the kind of thing I’m talking about here. I’m talking about bullying. There are Scriptural means for going to a brother or sister to reason with them about matters we genuinely consider to be off base, misleading, or in error. You and I both know that much of what happens out there in public forums is the furthest thing from biblical.

It is slander.

I went on a walk through the woods Saturday late afternoon and did something I don’t often do. I cried angry tears. I got so mad that I could have hit somebody. I kept thinking how believers attack one another and sling stones at each other like the other can’t bruise or break. And all the while that person may be in so much personal pain that it’s nearly unbearable. I’m not transferring this to the Warrens. I do not know them personally. I’m telling you what I know to be true about most people out there. Most of us are in significant pain of some kind. That doesn’t mean defeat necessarily. It just means pain.

Life is hard enough without hatefulness rife in the Body of Christ. We are called to carry one another’s burdens, not pile relentlessly on top of them. We can still hold one another accountable. We can still ask questions. We can still disagree. But we can do it with respect.

I’m sick of the bullying. The mud-slinging and the meanness. I’m sick of careless, idle words thrown out there in the public square and professing believers in Christ standing on the necks of their own brothers and sisters to sound smart and superior. As if it’s not enough that we are surrounded in this culture by Christian haters, we’ve got to have our own hater-Christians. It’s insane.

When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences harden and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it. Snide blogs and tweets and Facebook posts about various leaders can also be effective ways to jump in their spotlight. Bullies aren’t just mean. They’re self-serving. They’re platform-hunting. They have to borrow one to perform.

No, I don’t think that saying all of this will change it much but some things still need to be said. Sometimes we need to speak up and call something wrong. There’s a bigger issue in the Body of Christ than immorality. It’s hatefulness. If the greatest priority Christ assigned to us was love, the gravest offender is hate.

Just about the time cynicism threatens to overwhelm us and turn us into the very people we can’t stand, genuine love – the real thing – erupts right here on this earth like concrete breaking open to a spring. Compassion and tremendous affection are pouring forth from the Body of Christ for the Warrens right now. It is right and it is lovely. We have been served well by them and have learned so much from them. To respond with expressions of love, comfort, and intercession is our honor and privilege. We must and we will.

But even now at the hardest moment of their lives the Warrens can teach something vital if we are willing to learn. Their heartbreak demonstrates what has always been true but has never been more profoundly overlooked: these who serve us publicly also suffer privately. They are not caricatures. They are not just personalities. They are people living on a painful planet with the rest of us.

The Warrens will come forth like gold. The enemy will not win. They will fight the good fight. They will finish the race. They will keep the faith.

I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.





735 Responses to “Sadness and Madness”

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  1. 501
    Donna says:

    Thank you.

  2. 502
    Bev. says:

    Love it & love u keep keeping it real Beth muahz & ((hugs))

  3. 503
    Sam Scaggs says:


    You may not get many men on this blog but one of the key women leaders in my church where I pastor sent me this link. She knew from this past Sunday my heart was broken by the news of the Warren’s and I called our church like many did I’m sure to prayer for them. I found myself weeping as I read your article because I’ve been so sad by this kind of hateful behavior not only towards me from time to time but many other leaders who have a heart for God. Your words just struck a chord in my heart not plucked too often and I just wanted to thank you for this, can I say it, “prophetic word” at such a time as this. You are having such an impact on the women (and men) in our church. Thank you so much for being you! God bless you!

  4. 504
    Karen says:

    Thank you Beth. We’re going through a difficult situation with our daughter and this post has helped me more than I can express. While our circumstance pales by comparison to what the Warrens are going through, we too are heart broken for our daughter. Praying God’s peace and comfort for the Warrens during this difficult time. And praying God’s deliverance for our daughter.

  5. 505
    Lori T says:

    Thank you Beth for the boldness to speak truth in love. Praying this day for the Warren’s and all those in ministry to be protected from Satan’s attacks.

    May the Lord God bless the Warren’s, comfort them, give them strength to finish the race and continue to fight the good fight.

  6. 506
    Ruth says:

    I wish you could get in every pulpit with this honest rebuke. Thank you for your powerful and much needed encouragement to love each other deadly in the body of Christ

  7. 507

    Thank you Beth for putting into words exactly what my heart was struggling to say. Through grieving and angry tears I say “Amen, sister.” I choose only to be angry at Satan in this moment and also make a special effort to spread the love of Jesus in honor of Matthew Warren and his family.

  8. 508
    Vanessa White says:

    Thank you so much for writing this Beth. I did not know the Warrens but have followed their ministry and have Great Admiration for them as Christians. My Heart breaks for this family and I will continue to pray for them and for the people that are being so malicious. I came close to losing my daughter when she was just 17 and I just thank God above that he spared her life. Thanks you for all that you do.

  9. 509
    Roberta walters says:

    Mental illness can strike any family, none of us are amine to this happening! We let God down when we don’t pour the love he has shown us on our hurting brother and sister! We don’t have to know them personally to feel the brokenness satan has caught them in! May they find rest in God’s arms today.

  10. 510
    Sheila Bragg says:

    Very well said, Beth! Thank you!! We all need to pay attention to how we treat others and how we speak about our fellow believers in Christ. Gossip is a wildfire that spreads out of control and even if it’s not true, it’s out there and causes unnecessary hurt and pain to our brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, the internet is just ripe for this kind of behavior. We should be above it. Thank you for the reminder.

  11. 511

    I am so touched by your words above. I feel very sad for Warren family. That is the saddest crushing hurt of all. I went thru it with a close friend’s loss of her 20 year old daughter. I’ve never heard anything more crushing than her groan of sorrow. It’s been years and still can make me tear up instantly.

    Comparatively, my pain is less worthy but I am WALLOWING in my pain and I cannot get out. I need help……

    Last year my mom started suffering from Alzheimer’s and needed her kids to pull in and HELP. Kind of tough love help and “make” her get the help/assistance she needed. My siblings turned it into an attack on me. Long story of she/he said, I said, emails, phone calls…all of us in the wrong and right. All of us in various stages of denial, pain, frightened….but 4 of them younger all at various times turned on me. Then they decided to make it 4 against 1 and have ostracized me for 1 year.

    I am so hurt that is has had a paralyzing effect on me. I work but barely. I socialize but barely. I’m a shadow of my former self. I eat way too much. I am not suicidal but I do wish I were dead…with the Lord…instead of stuck here on this planet.

    If there was 1 lifeline you could throw me…..what would you want me to do first? Don’t say these things: forgive,I pray every minute. Don’t say go to them, I’ve tried and they are not interested. While Mom is more coherent now she is a “hands off” mom. I am frozen and can barely breathe….ok, your turn.

    • 511.1
      Margie says:

      Ah “D”. I felt sad reading about your predicament. You are in my prayers. Family conflict can be so distressing. From the been-there, done-that camp, here are some tips. Find some support – you don’t have to do this on your own. Even 10 minutes of walking outside will help. A plate of vegetable always made me feel better if only because I knew it was “healthy”. Sometimes overeating is to punish ourselves – make sure you’re not eating for that reason – the world is punishing enough. Take it one day at a time. What I can do today would overwhelm if I thought I had to do it for the rest of my life!

      • Debbie Lanier says:

        thank you. I’m in Phoenix. Do you have any connections or know a church leader that I could go to. I’m more desperate to have some one to talk to every every day. It’s so bleak and now mom has asked me to help again. If I tell…she will be made. If I don’t tell they will blame me. Any of it makes me freeze up. I ruly can’t movel

        my mom needs me but if I go they withdraw. fro her. Broken broken broken…

        • Debbie Lanier says:

          Hi….thank you for your kind and empathetic words. I am on facebook and using my real name. You are warmly welcomed to send me a friend request. It is gut wrenching just to make this reach but I know I need to and I am. I have close friends and my kids are very supportive so I am blessed in that regard. But…there is special healing power in being able to talk to folks who have been in this situation. Whether the sharing is stories of success, continuation, complete fiasco, healing, death, life…bitterness…forgiveness.. there is a special healing salve that boosts. To those that make the reach and those that share, God Bless. Please reach. Please share. please look me up. Love, Debbie

    • 511.2
      Christi says:

      You r only responsible for your actions and can control how you let this affect you. In the end you need to know in ur heart you did what was right, apologized for what you did regardless if they accept it n give it to God. Be at peace sister!!!

    • 511.3
      Carolyn says:

      Dear Debbie– I am in a somewhat similar situation to yours– if you would like to be FBook friends– we could private message one another and I would love to be a prayer partner with you. You can also go to my YouTube video–junkfoodjungle, (a sloppy hamburger appears– that’s it!) & my contact info is there. You will be added to my daily prayer list and I have found Eph.6–Armor of God to be extremely effective in buffering the wiles of the enemy. “Greater is He in us, than he that’s in the world”!! God bless, Carolyn Coy

      • Bobbie Puckett says:

        I know the sorrow of immediate family conflict. My only daughter has 4 daughters, 19, 16, 13 & 11. She lives less than 5 miles from me. I helped my daughter when the girls were babies, I would take off work to keep them for her, anything to help her.
        Then in January 2009 she decided I was not a good Mom. She stopped talking to me, I sent e-mails, text, calls but to no avail. For the past 4 years she has blocked all & any kind of communication from her or the girls. She told me “she had moved on in her life and I should too” so much hurt and pain. It could not be worse if she had died. I went to her house uninvited to asked for forgiveness (I don’t know what I did) and she called the police. I know now that only God can change her hard heart. My place is to surrender to God and be thankful and worship Him, no matter what happens in my life. No matter if things are easy or hard, worship the Lord. May God bless my daughter and her family if my prayer now.

    • 511.4
      Jenny says:

      Debbie, it is by no accident that I stumbled my way here and saw your post…your hurt radiates off the page and I relate to it completely. I too am from a large family and at the loss of my parents, horrific bitterness/hatred has grown in some hearts. Also, I have lost both of my in laws, with my dear treasured mother in law in January after a long battle with Alzheimer’s/dementia. My feelings on one lifeline for you……don’t let what has happened regarding your mom define you! If you have accepted The Lord as your personal Savior, you are a child of the Living God and He is at work in you! I am so much more than that hurt person who was overwhelmed with pain and scared of being separated from the people who had always been there for me. During those days of having to make hard hard decisions, we were all surprised at how different each of our ideas were. Some of us could move on and others have let that cancerous bitterness take root. We were not good communicators, could not work through the difference of opinions. So for me, I have tried to make peace with them and wanted to move forward, but with no success. I will continue to pray for our family to be rejoined, but until then, I will seek The Lord and strive to do His will for my life. I know my feelings are real, and so are theirs…….but I also know that I cannot quit living, God has me here for a purpose and to give Him glory…..these two scriptures have brought me hope and courage along the way….it has been 5 yrs since speaking to one go my sisters:( Philippians 4:8 and Ecclesiastes 3:1. We all have different seasons in our lives, so it makes me more acceptable that this is all in the plan and also, when I concentrate on what is true, honorable and just, it takes away from that heavy burden….also, never forget that satan is in the business to steal, kill and destroy and he just waits for those weak times……BUT, he has no power, send him packing….there is power in the name of JESUS….I will pray that you will soon look up and see that your life is still there and that your strength is renewed!! Forgive those that need forgiveness, forgive yourself and find a place to do kingdom work!!!

      • Debbie Lanier says:

        Hi….thank you for your kind and empathetic words. I am on facebook and using my real name. You are warmly welcomed to send me a friend request. It is gut wrenching just to make this reach but I know I need to and I am.

        I will look for kingdom work! I know you are right on that…for sure!

        I have close friends and my kids are very supportive so I am blessed in that regard. But…there is special healing power in being able to talk to folks who have been in this situation. Whether the sharing is stories of success, continuation, complete fiasco, healing, death, life…bitterness…forgiveness.. there is a special healing salve that boosts. To those that make the reach and those that share, God Bless. Please reach. Please share. please look me up. Love, Debbie

  12. 512

    “I love the Body of Christ. I don’t want want to get cynical. I don’t want to sit around and hate the haters or I become one. But this morning I just want to say this. We can love each other better. Let’s do. People have enough hurt. Let’s be careful with one another.”Amen.

    Sometimes people can be so much suffring around us that if we new…

    In my case, as I’m struggling too, I call upon the divine grace of The Lord, according to His word, and He always helps me for a while to stand my situation and stay in life. So I desesperatly worship The Lord, I’m sorry for my neighboors, till I receive a deep Joy like I’m drunk.
    And every new day, my pain is less heavy, and I receive more strengh to live.
    God is always so good, evn when crying, I can’t forget that fact anymore… Job 42:5 Mon oreille avait entendu parler de Toi; mais maintenant, mon oeil T’a vu!

    I’m not afraid to cry or talk or ask for help anymore, WE ARE THE FAMILY OF JESUS. Love, Grace, Peace and Confidence for all of us.

    Bénédictions, et Condoléances, en Christ qui nous unit, amen.

  13. 513
    Nancy says:

    Thank you Beth for speaking this truth. Thank you for standing with the Warren family in their deep grief, rather than attacking them while they are hurting.

  14. 514
    Kristin says:

    Thank you Beth.. living in a small town suurounded by churches and “god fearing” people, I struggle with this issue daily. Mychildren attend a private christian school and sometimes I can get so mad I want to “spit” the children who have learned from their parents, can be so mean and hateful,, and the parents can be so judgemental. We are commanded to love each other first and foremost and I feel your anger when we fail to see that inthe people who should be shinging the brightest for our Jesus,,, our examples of love should be our testimony and instead it makes people RUN the other way.. so IN TRUE CHRISTIAN LOVE ..I say ‘come on Christian Brothers and Sisters,, show God’s Love everyday!!

  15. 515
    Linda Tokar says:

    Dear Beth… I don’t know if you will ever see this but I hope you do because I want you to know how much your post has meant to our Saddleback Church family. Since you posted it, I have seen it shared dozens and dozens of time by various of our church members… even Pastor Rick, himself. You have given voice to the angst that many of us feel… you have validated the pain upon pain that has been created by the horrendous words of our Pastor’s critics… even from many who call us brothers and sisters. It’s not that we’re not used to his being criticized (he’s a big target… we get that)… BUT… at this time of unspeakable agony, your words have been a balm, a catharsis, a validation. As you said of Pastor Rick, I can with confidence say of myself and many of the women in our church… we have been served and loved well by YOU and, though we’ve never met you, we just KNOW we’d like you!!! Thank you for your compassion, for your grace, for the way you listen to our Savior and for using your platform to speak truth so loudly that all the way over here in California, we are touched and comforted. Thank you!

    • 515.1
      cindy says:

      This brought tears to my eyes. I’m sure Beth will see it. I don’t know why, but I never considered that her words would reach those directly affected by this tragedy. How wonderful that they have. I love how God’s love spreads.

    • 515.2
      heather edahl says:

      Dear Saddleback,
      The rest of the Body of Christ is grieving with you at your unspeakable loss in the wake of your pastoral family’s pain. May the love of Christ enfold you and the faithfulness of our God keep you.

      Thank you for using your platform to speak on this matter of bullying and hatefulness in the Body of Christ. Enough of this already. Let’s get on with the business of loving others sacrificially trusting Christ to live through us.
      And like Linda, I haven’t met you either, Beth, though I saw you in Lindale, TX, years ago at a bookstore from a distance; but I know you and I would be coffee prayer buddies. 🙂 Love you. Bless you.

  16. 516
    moongirl says:

    I loved this line: “When we turn people into caricatures, everything’s game. The moment we depersonalize them, our consciences hard and we can mock and slander at will and have a blast doing it.” I have been almost daily spending time in “Praying God’s Word” and one of the prayers you wrote in there says that pride makes the heart hard, but God wants us to be tenderhearted. I pray this one over and over again. I don’t want a pridefully hard heart toward people nor God. I have to be honest. My first thought when I heard the news from Twitter was deep sadness for them. Then a moment late, Satan tempted me with a smug thought about it. I was so disgusted by the thought I mourned over my heart all night and the next day! You are so right Beth! This post is exactly on! As I’ve been memorizing, “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to SPEAK EVIL of NO ONE, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show PERFECT COURTESY to ALL people.” (Titus 2:3-4). All people are made in the image of God, and we must treat them with courtesy and esteem… no matter if our doctrines differ! Thank you! Thank you! God has truly made you a wonder!! I love you!

  17. 517
    Cynthia says:

    Beth, As soon as I heard about the Warren’s tragedy my heart went out to them. I prayed for their family. But the compassion I felt stemmed from an understanding of what they are going through. Thank you for addressing this in your blog and fighting back our enemy. We will stand against him and win this ground in Jesus name.

    • 517.1
      Kim says:

      This is the most powerful thing I have read on the internet other than the Bible itself. It is as if you took the thoughts right out of my own heart. Thank you….

  18. 518
    Teresa Dekker says:

    August 10, 2005 my husband and I awoke to find a note on our kitchen table from our son stating where we would find him. If we found this note then we would know that he would have been successful in taking his life. We had no idea!!! He was 17. According to his letter and subsequent letters that we found, he had been carry a tremendous amount of pain in his heart and could not handle it any longer. Our church family was also stunned by this. I was an elder in consistory at the time and we felt so loved and supported by our church family. Our church was scheduled to do the study of the book A Purpose Driven Life that fall. My husband and I were not sure that we would be able to be a part of a small group that soon, but we did join. The book allowed everyone in our congregation to wrestle with the confusion, anger, and grief. It was a blessing to have those groups and those words from Mr. Warren. I had read the book the year before so that was helpful.

    I heard on Sunday eve about the Warrens and immediately I was brought back in time. I know what it’s like and still like. It will be 8 years this summer. I pray for them continuously . . . that God would surround them with his love and with His earthly arms (their Christian brothers and sisters) and that in time they, too, will see how they have grown in their faith going through this. Even after 8 years hugs are still welcome!!

  19. 519
    r ramirez says:

    Beth thanks so much for this blog. My heart went out to them. I lost my 24 year old son in a car accident one year ago, I know the pain that this parents are going thru. People can’t imagine how that is, so for the people that is talking bad stuff pls keep your mouth shut!!

  20. 520
    Robyn Scott says:

    AMEN! Thank you for your honest heart! And I agree with another’s comment that every pulpit in America should read this or say something similar!

    I have said for MANY years – No wonder our unsaved friends don’t want to hear about our Savior! We can be so unloving!! 🙁 Shame on us! We “shoot” our own! And I know if it makes us angry & breaks our heart – WHAT is it doing to the heart of God!?! To see HIS children behave like this – SO!! un-Godly! If we are so critical of each other no wonder the lost world thinks we are a bunch of hypocrites! Father God, PLEASE have mercy on us!
    All I know is the same grace we want for OURSELVES we should be willing to give to everyone else! Oh, they don’t deserve it, you say? Guess what, neither do we! It is ONLY because of Jesus!
    Father, please comfort the Warrens and all that suffer from mental illness. In JESUS name, Amen!

  21. 521
    Joan says:

    Beth, you are an inspiration to me. I fully get what you are saying. I am very fortunate to be in a loving church family. My son however has had some problems. He was a music minister at three different churches who treated him badly. It was devastating to him. One church leader who we found out later was not a Christian, but worshiped satan. Very scary. Thank you for your ministry.

  22. 522
    Diane says:

    Beth, I wish I could hug you and cry on your shoulder. Usually I do not comment on blogs and I know you get thousands of comments, but I just had to say thank you for saying this. My heart goes out to the Warrens and to you and other public figures who have suffered privately and been criticized publicly in ways I will never know. However, I too am going through my own private pain right now. My husband is a pastor of over 30 years. My daughter has been thrown out by her husband because of a mental health issue, being forced into divorce and to live apart from her three little boys. Of course, the issue is complicated, but I am in terrible pain so that I do not know if I can go on. I would appreciate your prayers for my daughter and all of us. God bless you.

  23. 523
    Diane P says:

    Thank you Beth for expressing so beautifully the ache and hurt so many of us felt for the Warrens and the desire to stand with them in any way we can.

  24. 524
    Cindy M says:

    Thank you Beth, you said what i have been feeling for a long time (my words weren’t quite has kind). I’m so grateful to you! Many have suffered at the hands of a bully, its a sad day that we cannot love . My heart hurts for the many who are so lost, who dont know the greatest love of all.May God bless and keep you in His care 🙂

  25. 525
    Bec Fisher says:

    Amen, sister! Thank you for expressing so clearly and beautifully what many of us feel.

    God bless you as you continue to love and serve Him.

  26. 526
    Sara says:

    Amen. I have been on the end of the rocks hitting in unbearable times…and sadly I’m sure I have slung a few rocks…while I hope it was unintentional…I’m sure I am not without fault.

    Thank you for the reminder that we have to be better…

  27. 527
    Leslie Abu-Zaghibra says:

    Beth, I would just like to let you know that I appreciate your candor and calling a spade a spade. We all need to be real with ourselves and look at ourselves in the mirror so having read your blog, I examine myself. Thank you for your love of Jesus and your teaching.

    In Christ,
    Leslie Abu-Zaghibra

  28. 528
    Laurel says:

    Hi Beth,
    My husband is a Pastor and we have been in ministry over 30 years. Our situation is so much the same as the Warren’s that when this happened my husband said, “pray for them, it could be us.” It is hard enough to walk this road… Then to be shot at is the worst. It is truly sharing the sufferings of Jesus. We must rise up and support. When you get shot at enough you want to leave the army no matter how much you love the Commander. You want to love Him without taking another public hit!

  29. 529
    colin wright says:

    My deepest prayers go out to the warren family.In my prayers i will pray for strength,courage and love to find its way to there heart. I will also say that if you need me pray in anyother way to please let me know.

  30. 530
    Regina says:

    Thank you for your boldness Beth! As a pastor’s wife for 25 years, my husband and I have experienced our share of harsh words and actions of those who have called themselves brothers and sisters in Christ – but God has been faithful to provide comfort and reassurance during the difficult times! Deepest thoughts and prayers are going up for the Warren family.

  31. 531
    Debbie Eaton says:

    Dear Beth,
    Thank you so much for your eloquent words of comfort and honesty. You have said what so many of us have grasped for in words but did not know how to articulate.. I am the Women’s Director at Saddleback Church and you have ministered to so many of us through this heartbreaking time. Kay is a dear friend and her son Josh sent me an e-mail this morning to make sure I told you how much your post had an impact their entire family. Thank you..
    I also want you to know the impact you have had on thousands of women at Saddleback. You have been a partner in growing women to be more like Christ. We are forever grateful!

  32. 532
    Barbara Menefee says:

    Well said. I will continue to pray for you and others in public ministry. God bless.

  33. 533
    Heidi Viars says:

    Thanks so much for this, Mrs. Beth… We, the Body of Christ, are His Bride. We too often start flinging mud at the Bride’s dress (the righteous acts of other saints), not realizing we are wearing that beautiful dress along with our brothers and sisters. Oh that we would not give into the enemy to call unclean what God has deemed clean and beautiful.

  34. 534
    Ande s says:

    Amen and amen!!

  35. 535
    Mary Beth Ferrara says:

    Amen and Amen.

  36. 536
    Christine says:

    Not sure what this is about but I agree with what you say. I am so deep in the trenches of ministry with the truly needy of this earthly soil that I miss a lot of things going on in the media. Warm and loving prayers of healing for this family and the child they have lost here on earthly soil. We all need to remember to Love the Lord our God with all our heart and our neighbors as our self. We also need to be careful not to strike that rock out of anger against Gods children…our example through Moses. Love to all a simple servant here daily strive and serving this great I AM that pulled me out of the pit of this world.

  37. 537
    Laurel says:

    It concerns me that believers are quick to spiritualize mental illness when some of it has a physiological root. We wouldn’t condemn a family whose child had a physical illness. God bless and comfort the Warrens.

  38. 538
    M. Bonar says:

    Well, I love Rick Warren and was especially touched /saddened by their son passing away due to mental illness. i won’t og into it now, but i can see the Lord using this incident to bring healing to others with mental problems and helping their families. What i would like to know, is , WHAT BULLING? I haven’t heard anything??!! thank you so much for shedding some light. I haven’t received bulling either from someone in the church ( and I’ve worked at a church before, attended several for 55 years). Just don’t understand what you are talking about.

  39. 539
    Sam Carleton says:


    Wonderful post, right on the mark, except… It is completely A OK to hate. Isn’t that what we see when Jesus is over turning tables in the temple? Be cautious, though, Jesus was not hating the money changers, he was hating the Enemy. He was hating the fact that the Enemy had corrupting the child of God to such a degree that we would defile the temple in such a way.

    Hate is very good, very power, and very necessary, when it is directed in the right direction: Towards the Enemy for taking advantage of the blind.

    Keep up the great work, and God bless!

  40. 540
    Kathleen DiGregorio says:

    No truer words were ever spoken about our Pastor and his wife.

  41. 541
    In His Love. says:

    Thank you Beth and the New Life Ministry! I just heard in the radio while listening to the program about the Warrens son, how devastating! Any death, especially of a child is terrible. Suicide is a subject and a reality that hits me very hard every time I hear about it. I live in AK and up here the level of suicide is unbelievable! Even the children of pastors and ministers of The Lord. I would say, satan is not a respecter of person, nobody is exempt of these attacks from the enemy and from this tragic death. I have been there in the past where is not up to us when the moment comes, there is suddenly an empty/blind spot and life is gone… God in His Sovereign grace spared my life and I’m forever thankful to Him! We don’t know why some don’t make it, some might deal with clinical (physical) problems, but much of this also, I believe, is attributed to the spiritual realm, and the curses of those against these victims affect them very badly because of their emotional and spiritual weakness, and some are harassed more than others. We have to wrap them in the love of Christ constantly! Regardless of the source of the problem, we can not judge!!! We are nobody’s judge, and we are command to love one another! (John 13:34,35 – Romans 12:10,13:8- 2 Corinthians 13:11, Galatians 5:13, Ephesians 4:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:9, Hebrews 10:24, 1 Peter 1:22, 1 Peter 3:8, 1 John 3:11, 23, 4:7, 11-12)…plenty of Scripture to love one another! If anyone in the Church assume this role (judge), I will say they don’t know The Word of God and therefore they don’t know God! (1 John 4:7) And as you say, Beth, many don’t know through the pain these people is going through (the victims) “He didn’t send His Son to condemn us but to save us through Him. John 3:17” It is very sad and devastating what is happening in the Churches, The Word says: “Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold,.. Matthew 24:12” I agree with Beth about the bullies in the Church, unfortunately, we have this problem in the Churches today, I call it “cannibalism”, and it is seen in many levels, and it comes from those who walk in self righteousness, jealousy, envy, bitterness and they move under a religious spirit, they lack totally of grace, mercy and off course of the love of God and unfortunately they contaminate many. I believe we are in the times where we will see what The Word says: “This is how we know who the children of God are and who the children of the devil are: Anyone who does not do what is right is not God’s child, nor is anyone who does not love their brother and sister. 1 John 3:10” I can’t believe that someone who calls he/she to be a child of God, a Christian, will be so cruel to lift up any type judgment against someone who is going through such tragedy as if they own life itself and express it publicly. God is Sovereign above everything and only those in the right heart and in the right spirit can comprehend this. I believe leaders in the Churches have to do something about this and address it seriously because is causing a great damage in The Body of Christ and also affecting people that they don’t know The Lord. Beyond their wrong heart, I believe we still have to love them and pray for them to snatch them from the hands of the enemy so they will not be lost.
    Thank you New Life, Beth more and Rick Warren for your ministries, your love and your work for The Kingdom of God, that I know is not easy. My prayers and my heart for the Warrens through this painful time, know that many around the world are standing more for you than against you, you are not alone! I pray God will hold you and lift you up and embrace you as only He can do it! My Blessings to you all!

  42. 542
    rhonda says:

    My daughter’s husband heeded the call to church ministry and hence her call as well. My desire is full for them to be following and living their lives in God’s will. But my single reservation as a mother who is also a long time Christian and life-time church attender is they will have to work with Christian people…..Such a very sad reservation to have.
    We expect that everyone (particularly church leaders) will forgive and tolerate our personal foibles but have little tolerance for the differences that God wove into them (and us) making them (and us) the lovely individuals He created us to be. I’m so thankful that ultimately God is control of His church and that His love is enough.

  43. 543
    Cathy says:

    Beth, today as so many times in the past you have said just what my heart needs to hear. I have been very affected by the news of the Warrens’ son. My own son, who is nearly 20, was hospitalized for 4 days for his own safety in another city away at college less than 2 months ago. He has wandered from his walk with Jesus, partly as a result of the attacks of Satan and bullies, and Rick Warren’s series on raising children without raising your blood pressure has helped us a lot. So when I read that even this great man of God lost his own son to suicide, it really shook me up. I hope that this tragedy will help others in some way to see that every one has pain, even Christians although we have become the object of so much “intolerance” in today’s world. Bless you, beloved disciple.

  44. 544
    Nancy Sayers says:

    Beth, I have loved you since I participated in your study Believing God years ago, but if possible I love you more after reading your recent post!!! I am a pastor’s wife and have been the subject of “caring Christians” as have my children.

    My husband and I are in the process of moving to join Saddleback Church, and on behalf of my new pastor and his family I say bless you! Thank you!

  45. 545
    Jenni says:


  46. 546
    Melissa says:

    Oh, Beth. I love this post. Beautifully written. I get so sad/mad everyday looking on facebook. So many holier-than-though people who claim to do it all in “love” or “for God” but who are so hateful in their delivery!

    I didn’t know about the Warren’s. Praying for them. 🙁

  47. 547
    Sue Morrow says:

    Beth, you are my favorite teacher and I have learned so much from you. But today, you are my hero, because you brought comfort to my dear Pastor Rick and Kay. Thank you. You are so appreciated and loved!!!

  48. 548
    cgajdo says:

    Dear Beth: I can only say “thank you”. I, like many others, love you like a sister. You’ve made me laugh and then cry within 2 minutes! I too, love the Warrens, although I’ve never met them! I watched Pastor Rick interviewed on tv, and was cheering aloud at his candor, the ease with which he shared his life and love. For everyone. I too, had a very poor night’s sleep Saturday night after hearing the sad sad news about Matthew. I must be naive, but I just cannot fathom how anyone would have anything negative to say about Pastor Rick Warren, his family, or his ministry. What a shame. I continue in prayer for the Warren family. And I continue to stand for Jesus Christ. Amen.

  49. 549
    Pat says:

    Thank you, Beth, for saying this for all of us.

  50. 550
    Sandy says:

    I’ve been reading this blog for several years. This one of the most profound and touching posts that I’ve read from you Beth. Words that needed to be thrust into our very souls to jar us into reality of what goes on around us every day. Satan and his little demons are slithering through our world, bringing hell fast and furious into our lives. And many times that slithering is done by fellow Christians.
    My heart goes out to the Warren family. This stigma of mental illness can cripple a family for years unending. As Ann Voskamp (who at one time contemplated suicide) says — “Depression is like a room engulfed in flames and you can’t breathe for the sooty smoke smothering you limp — and suicide is deciding there is no way but to jump straight out of the burning building.”
    As you wrote– “This is a vicious world we’ve been left to serve. One God still loves or we would not still be here.”
    In the end, only kindness matters.

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