Kay Warren, the wife of Saddleback Church Pastor Rick Warren, recently did a radio interview with Frank Sontag which was aired on The Christian Outlook about the popular--and controversial--Netflix original series “13 Reasons Why” and the topic of suicide which the show addresses.
Rick and Kay Warren know firsthand the grief that accompanies losing a loved one to suicide. Their own son, Matthew, took his own life when he was 27.
The Christian Outlook host asks Kay Warren in the interview whether she thinks “13 Reasons Why” is a “healthy look at the issue of suicide.”
The show follows the story of a teen girl who took her own life. Each episode looks back over the girl’s life and, from her perspective, highlights one of the 13 reasons she committed suicide.
Warren responds to the question of whether the show is a healthy portrayal of such a serious issue by noting that she is grateful that the creators of the show decided to address such a heavy issue, but she fears the show has “romanticized or glamorized” suicide, which may make it more appealing to teens and young adults.
She makes note of a scene in the show when the dead girl’s locker is seen covered in notes and flowers. “This is a way to be remembered,” she says the show seems to be saying.
“Suicide is a seductive voice,” says Warren. “It’s a permanent solution to a temporary problem. It promises more than it can give.”
She encouraged parents and teachers to educate themselves on this issue so that they can engage young people in an impactful way.
“Suicide is almost always preventable,” stated Warren, noting a number of resources and organizations to help.
The Outlook host also asked Warren about how the Church is addressing this issue. Warren responded that historically the Church has not done very well in helping people work through issues of mental illness and suicidal thoughts, but there is hope when Christians follow the example of Jesus and love people where they are, without requiring them to clean their lives up first.
Warren’s parting words offer encouragement and hope to anyone struggling with suicidal thoughts: “God sees you as His beloved child. You are so deeply and dearly loved by God.”
Photo courtesy: ©Thinkstock/Tharakorn
Publication date: May 17, 2017