LAKE FOREST, Calif. (BP) — Pastor Rick Warren has shared some of his thoughts via Twitter during the past week as he and his wife Kay grieve the loss of their youngest son, tweeting Thursday (April 11) that he has forgiven the person who sold Matthew the gun used in his suicide.
“Someone on the internet sold Matthew an unregistered gun. I pray he seeks God’s forgiveness. I forgive him. #MATTHEW 6:15,” Warren wrote.
A spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department said law enforcement authorities have the gun they believe Matthew Warren, 27, used to kill himself April 5. The gun’s serial number had been scratched off, meaning it will be nearly impossible to trace, according to CNN.
The Warrens decided to honor their son with a private memorial service.
“Since the Warren family is loved by so many, no building in Orange County is large enough to hold an open memorial service. The family decided it was best to have a small, private service for their son,” a statement by Saddleback Church said April 8.
“Of course, Pastor Rick will speak publicly to our church family about the tragedy when he returns to preaching after a grieving period.”
The statement also said the Warrens have been “deeply touched” by an “outpouring of love” after Matthew’s death.
On Twitter Friday morning, Warren wrote, “When in pain, pray. When you worry, worship. When in grief, share it in your small group.”
He also tweeted Psalm 59:16, “I will sing of your strength in the morning, I sing of your love; for you are my fortress in times of trouble.”
In a third tweet, Warren quoted Proverbs 17:17, “A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity,” and referred to pastor Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, who wrote a blog post titled “Rick Warren, critics, and the hope of God’s Son.”
Following is a recap of Warren’s tweets in the week since his son’s tragic death:
— We pray “Thy WILL be done on earth AS IT IS IN HEAVEN” since in heaven God’s Will is done #always. On earth, it’s done rarely.
— Kay and I are overwhelmed by your love, prayers, and kind words. You are all encouraging our #brokenhearts.
— God will not forget the work you did and the #love you’ve showed for him by helping other Christians. Heb. 6:10
— When the tide is out in your life, true friends rush in. Thank you.
— Grieving is hard. Grieving as public figures, harder. Grieving while haters celebrate your pain, hardest. Your notes sustained us.
— WOW. We love you @BethMooreLPM for your powerful and prophetic #SadnessAndMadness blog.
— You’re most like Jesus when you pray for those who hurt you, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.”
— We’ve known for years God would use us to fight mental illness but were protecting Matthew’s right to share his own story.
— I’ve cried almost as many tears of joy as tears of grief in the last 48 hours, because you’ve loved @KayWarren1 and me.
— After 4 days, I finally got to see my son’s body. He wasn’t in it anymore. “Absent from the body is to be home with the Lord.”
— In dark days, doctrine in your head isn’t enough; You need Jesus by your side. My sustaining #BestFriend for 50 years.
— Kay and I are personally reading every note we get. Your practice of Galatians 6:2 has left us speechless.
— “Carry each other’s burdens. In this way you fulfill the law of Christ” Gal. 6:2 (That law is love your neighbor as yourself.)
— God never allows more on you than he puts in you to bear it.
Saddleback Church suggested two ways people can express their prayers, love and support to Rick and Kay Warren. One way is to write the Warren family an encouraging note on Rick’s Facebook page.
A second option is to honor the Warrens by helping them fight mental illness through an online gift to The Matthew Warren Fund for mental health. Checks may be mailed to The Matthew Warren Fund at Saddleback Church, 1 Saddleback Parkway, Lake Forest, CA 92630.
The Warrens have two older children, Amy and Josh, and five grandchildren. Warren is the author of “The Purpose Driven Life” and “The Purpose Driven Church,” two of the best-selling books in recent publishing history. Kay Warren is author of several books including “Choose Joy” (2012) and “Say Yes to God” (2010).
Saddleback Church, in Southern California, is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention and Warren’s wide range of speaking engagements has included the SBC Pastors’ Conference and other Baptist settings. He is a graduate of two Baptist schools, holding an undergraduate degree from California Baptist University in Riverside and an M.Div. from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas.
Erin Roach is assistant editor of Baptist Press. Get Baptist Press headlines and breaking news on Twitter (@BaptistPress), Facebook (Facebook.com/BaptistPress ) and in your email ( baptistpress.com/SubscribeBP.asp).