On Monday evening, Jarrid Wilson, pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, committed suicide at the age of 30. He is survived by his wife, Julianne, and two young sons, Finch and Denham. Wilson was very open about his own battles with mental illness and would often post about his struggles on social media.
Wilson was one of the co-founders of Anthem of Hope, “a faith-centered organization dedicated to amplifying hope for those battling brokenness, depression, anxiety, self-harm, addiction, and suicide.” The organization focused on creating awareness, community, and support for those struggling with depression and mental illness.
In 2017, Wilson also published a book called Love Is Oxygen: How God Can Give You Life and Change Your World, in which he spoke about his own challenges with mental health. Earlier this summer, he posted a blog post saying he had “severe depression throughout most of my life and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions.”
Wilson was very passionate about depression and suicide. There has been this incorrect assumption within Christianity that suicide is somehow the “unpardonable sin” and that anyone who takes their own life will be condemned to hell. Wilson wholeheartedly disagreed.
“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.”
He continued, “Christians wouldn’t tell someone with a physical illness like cancer they are going to hell because of their diagnosis, he noted. Neither should they assume it of people with mental illnesses, which can “lead many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they didn’t struggle.”
One of the first things his wife, Julianne, did was post a heartwarming tribute to her husband on Instagram. “My loving, giving, kind-hearted, encouraging, handsome, hilarious, give the shirt off his back husband went to be with Jesus late last night.”
She added, “Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word.'”
Senior Pastor of Harvest Christian Fellowship, Greg Laurie, sang Wilson’s praises as well. “Jarrid loved the Lord and had a servant’s heart. He was vibrant, positive, and was always serving and helping others. He wanted to especially help those who were dealing with suicidal thoughts.”
September 8 marked the beginning of Suicide Prevention Week. Its purpose is to bring awareness to mental illness and depression by informing people how to recognize the warning signs of suicide. If you or someone you know struggles with feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts, reach out to someone you trust or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.