How Suicide Should Affect Christians

April 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

In the wake of a student at Valley Southwoods taking his own life and another’s attempt three days later, there has been much cause for grief. There has been the search for space to grieve. There has been the scramble to prevent the next one. Suicide is a confusing entity. The factors that drive people to consider it vary as much as people do. Whatever the impetus to end one’s own life, for the ender, life has somehow become more unbearable than their perspective of death. We can honor the memory of Carson and others by allowing what happened to change us for the better.

So of course we want to know how to prevent it. Consider that when this happens, we are always shocked by it. What I hear from kids who knew Carson and others whose lives have ended by suicide is that they are shocked. It’s so often unexpected and surprising. Nobody had any idea there was so much hidden pain or depression or despair or anger or loss of hope. Human beings are experts at hiding our pain, as much as we are so often experts at afflicting it. Counseling experts are saying that we really need to “zone in — really think about what our middle school kids are going though.” That’s good advice I think, but it doesn’t tell us how to detect the well hidden pain that can lead to suicidal thoughts and eventually action.

What Christians can do is commit to being a beacon of hope for those that are coming up short on hope. Certainly we need to pay attention and look for signs. But obviously the signs are not always clear. In those cases, a beacon (a candle, a lighthouse) doesn’t need to find dark places to shine; it shines, and those carrying darkness come toward the light. If we are living as Christians, aware of the hope we have in Christ to the point where we live it out in front of others, the hope will be visible and attractive.

Jesus said in John 10:10: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” Jesus offers life eternal to those who would in faith give their lives to Him. But I think the above promise includes a fulfilling life and purpose here and now. Christians, by grace alone and not of their own effort, have this hope. They have this hope to offer others who have none. Know that because suicide always shocks us, that means there are many more within arms reach who are expertly hiding pain. Be a light of hope for them, whoever they are. We want them to “have life“.

If you’re reading this and you are among those hiding deep pain, consider this a beacon and follow it. Talk to me, or someone. The good news of Christ isn’t something to believe in to feel better. It is life “to the full.”

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