COLORADO SPRINGS — Ken Harrison, CEO of WaterStone and volunteer chairman of Promise Keepers, is joined by Matthew Mattera on the latest podcast of “On the Edge with Ken Harrison.” Together, they discuss the growing suicide rates in youth, how to recognize the signs, and finding strength in God’s plan after a loved one has taken their life. Due to the graphic nature of this episode, the host is issuing a warning for those who may be triggered by the discussion of suicide.
The podcast, available in both audio and video form, can be found on Apple, Spotify, and YouTube. Podcast listeners can also receive a challenging weekly devotional that will inspire them to put their faith into action.
Matthew Mattera joined the Navy in 1998, where he met his wife, Erica, and has over 20 years of experience of continuing military service. His powerful and compelling story is a testimony of overcoming hardships and extreme adversity. When Mattera was only six years old, his dad, Michael, committed suicide; he found him moments after the fatal shot was fired. Since that tragic day, Mattera has endured the death of his little brother from an overdose in 2004, followed by the suicides of four other family members over a span of eight years, including the suicide of his own teenage daughter.
Mattera uses his platform, ChartedLife365, to bring awareness to suicide by sharing his story. As a public speaker, Mattera brings to life how God uses our personal testimonies to preserve, promote, and prosper us through every encounter and action drawn onto the map of our
Highlights of Mattera’s interview in the podcast include:
- Allowing God to turn our tragedies into good
“I told my wife, ‘I don’t know how God is going to use this tragedy, but he’s going to use it in a way. We’re going to make that enemy pay because that adversary killed our little girl by renting space in her head and lying to her. This adversary killed my father, my brother, and now my little girl. It’s personal and I’m coming after you.’ That was the moment that I decided I’m going to steward this. The Bible tells us that all things work together for good, of those that love God and are called according to his purpose.”
“A lot of people say that I can’t carry this burden on my shoulders all the time. I tell them that this isn’t a burden — this is an opportunity to steward something, a golden opportunity to open hearts and minds and to free millions of people while changing their perspective.”
Living a life of regret is not fit for the Kingdom
- “The Bible tells us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. You walk out of the spirit, not after the flesh. Condemnation takes on different colors and sizes and one of those is the ‘should have, would have, could have game.’ It is something the enemy seeks to exploit. Hindsight is used for lessons learned so that I take note and don’t do that action again. But, if you’re any man holding to only this plan and looking back, it’s not fit for the Kingdom. Meaning, if you’re constantly looking through the rearview mirror through an attitude of regret, that is when you become vulnerable to staying up to 2 o’clock in the morning, drinking beers, and drowning your sorrows. That’s where arguing with your wife and having resentful conversations about nickel and dime-sized things begin because you’re wrestling with a sense of bitterness and you’re against yourself instead of pausing, and seeking God so that you can do good with your tragedy.”
Recognizing the signs and intervening
- “My daughter, Elizabeth, started to disappear before my eyes. She started out with little, pink dresses, playing barbies, and as time slowly started to progress she started gravitating and orbiting around themes and messages that glorified and glamorized a dark narrative of death, depression, and destruction. I think for her, like many other children, social media and her smartphone became a fierce multiplier for it. She also started to gravitate toward music that exemplified depression as if it was a good thing and she chose to wear clothes that were all black. Elizabeth was cutting and everything of her outward appearance was an expression of what she was facing in her heart and mind. All the messaging that she was taking in from school, social media, music, and many other outside forces were affecting her because of what she was absorbing and ingesting constantly. At some point, it is our job as parents to step in and say ‘That’s enough’ of the negative messaging they are ingesting in their eyes and ears.”
The components of suicide and holistic healing
- “I think there’s a biological component, there’s certainly a behavioral, mental health component, but I also think there is a component that we are missing and it’s a spiritual component. I think the faith community and the secular health community have divorced themselves from approaching it. From a holistic standpoint, we are three-part beings — mind, body, and spirit. We’re the only species on earth that wrestle with depression, self-esteem, and self-worth. We are the only ones who self-destruct.”
- “I’m not a doctor, but I believe there are biological components. The neural network in your mind is the most complex computer in creation. Then you allow it to not just be the primary computer for your body, but it’s also the housing for your spirit as well. I think we miss the mark when we focus only on pharmaceuticals and secular talk therapy. Then, the faith community comes in and we place a generic, ‘Just believe in Jesus and it’s going to go away.’ That’s not holistic nor comprehensive. I think what needs to happen is that the grown-ups in the room, everybody that’s a leader in our communities, whether it be at the schoolhouse, at the courthouse, at city hall, or in our homes, we need to ask ourselves the uncomfortable questions and be humble enough to face some inconvenient truths about the rise in suicide in our youth today.”
NOTE: this interview not only includes Matthew’s powerful story, it also provides valuable insight for parents on contributing factors like the harm caused by social media and the need for parents to take up their authority and intervene in the lives of their children. In addition, we’ve compiled several resources from friends of Promise Keepers that also provide insights and strategies to prevent suicide and heal from loss:
Dealing with the loss of a loved one to suicide: https://newlife.com/new-life-live-december-15-2020/
Help for those contemplating suicide: https://www.familylife.com/articles/topics/life-issues/challenges/mental-and-emotional-issues/help-for-the-suicidal/
Dealing with the loss of a spouse to suicide: https://newlife.com/new-life-live-april-16-2020/
If you or anyone you know is considering suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, available 24 hours a day, at 1-800-273-8255 for free, professional, and confidential support and resources.
MEDIA NOTE: Please email Press@theKcompany.co to schedule an interview with WaterStone CEO Ken Harrison.
- KEN HARRISON is the host of “On the Edge with Ken Harrison,” a podcast building godly people for a better tomorrow. The podcast, available in both audio and video form, can be found on YouTube and your favorite podcast platform, including Apple and Spotify. The podcast also offers listeners the opportunity to receive a challenging weekly devotional that will inspire them to put their faith into action.Harrison serves as CEO of WaterStone, a Christian Community Foundation whose clients donate over $1 million per week on average to build God’s Kingdom. For nearly 40 years, Waterstone has assisted givers in supporting their favorite charities by crafting customized, innovative giving solutions that empower donors to prioritize income, minimize taxes and optimize giving.Ken started his career as an LAPD street cop in South Central and then spent nearly two decades in commercial real estate nationally and internationally. After successfully building and growing his company, he sold the majority interest to the second-largest commercial real estate company in the world while continuing as CEO of U.S. valuation and chair of international valuation.Ken volunteers his time as the chairman of Promise Keepers. His mission is to provide executive leadership and strategic direction to the ministry while inspiring men to be bold, humble and ambitious about their faith.Ken has been married to his wife, Elliette, for 29 years and they have three children.Harrison’s newest book, The Rise of the Servant Kings: What the Bible Says About Being a Man, is available wherever books are sold.