A cry for help? An expression of anger toward someone? A physiological illness? A symptom of depression? Suicide can be one or any combination of these and the statistics on the increase of suicide attempts, especially among the younger demographic, is alarming.
Last week in the morning message, I touched on the subject of suicide for a few moments. It was far too quick… and much too superficial a treatment of this important topic. Several responded to it afterward.
Many in our midst have been touched by the effects of suicide; a relative, a friend, a neighbor, or even at times… the thought may have occurred to us to take our own lives. It’s time that we stopped treating suicide as something that happens to people “out there;” who are not a part of our Christian communities.
It has come home to some of us. You, or perhaps your child or parent or sibling is showing signs of depression and despair that may be frightening to you.
Sadly, the church has sometimes made this a topic that is “anathema,” untouchable. But it’s not untouchable. It has touched some among us, and may be doing so even today.
“So Pastor,” you may ask. “You’re saying that CHRISTIANS could attempt suicide?” And my answer is this: If a Christian can get cancer, or diabetes, or need an appendectomy, then OF COURSE a Christian could have thoughts of taking their own life. The Psalmist said, “My heart and my flesh fail me.” It can happen to any of us.
In this brief article, I’m not going to pretend to cover all the bases on this tender subject or build my rationale for why I believe that this is an alarming and urgent matter for the church to deal with.
Today, the CDC released statistics showing the dramatic increase of attempted suicides… and successful attempts… among high school students. It is time for the people of God to step off the sidelines and into the firefight that is threatening the youngest among us.
What can we do about this? I’ll mention a few things.
1). Make it OK to talk about this in your home. Don’t lose control if your child raises the issue. They need to know it’s safe to talk about.
2). Share the hope of Jesus in every way you can. Live that hope in your conversations and in every way possible. Depression, simply put, is the loss of hope. We have what the world needs through the hope available in Jesus.
3). If you know someone who is considering harming themselves let someone know. After they attempt to hurt themselves is too late. It is not safe to assume that what you may hear is an idle threat is truly idle. It may be a very real cry for help.
4). And as you read this, if you are considering or have considered taking the recourse of self-destruction please… PLEASE… reach out for help. Call me. I’ll listen. I’ll pray. I care. Call your student pastor. Or call the number for the National Suicide Prevention Hotline that is available 24/7.
Don’t go through this alone! God hears our deepest cries and groans. He loves you. He will never forsake you.
NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION HOTLINE: 800-273-8255