There isn’t a week that goes by where I don’t have at least two conversations with a teen about suicide, suicidal ideations, and self-harm. With adults, it’s at least once every two weeks. Even if I didn’t believe the numbers about the increasing rates of suicide , the anecdotal evidence in my life is loud and clear.
I’ve spent a lot of time reading and thinking about why. There are no clear answers. Some people blame social media others blame the economy, and for some, it’s society as a whole. Either way, we are in crisis.
Historically we have not spoken about this issue well. Growing up, I would always hear that this sin is damnable and unforgivable. In other places, people would callously refer to suicide as the coward’s way out. It wouldn’t hurt us to be reasonable and kind to suffering people.
This is my meager attempt at offering a word of encouragement to those who are struggling.
Not Your Own
It is important for us to remember not just who we are but whose we are. In 1 Corinthians 6:19, Paul says “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;”
You are not your own. When we follow Jesus one of the benefits we receive is adoption into the family of God. When we are a part of His family, nothing can take us away from that. Romans 8:38–39 says “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
We sit in the hands of a mighty God who loves us deeply. So deeply that He sent His Son to rescue and restore us. Even with that reality, our hearts and minds can still be plagued by suicidal thoughts. Life is hard. I think of the prophet Jeremiah who asked God to kill him after years of fruitless and frustrating ministry. Jesus is the ultimate comforter but it can be difficult to feel that comfort in torment and anguish.
Thankfully he offers us hope. The resurrection is the reminder of the promise that one day all things will be made new. Our minds and bodies will be restored. There will be no more sin, sickness, or death. The things that hurt us will be gone, and the thoughts that try to overtake us will be wiped away. This is the day we wait for. The day we look toward.
But until that day comes we have to remember whose we are. We are children of God, made in His image. Our hope is found in this truth. The reality is, things may not get immediately better. It could take weeks, months, or even years but we ground our response in what we know to be true. We know that God loves us, we know that he has made us in His image, we know that the Holy Spirit lives inside of us and is with us always, and we know that one day Jesus will bring the ultimate end to pain and suffering.
Beloved, live today in light of what you know to be true about tomorrow. Even if things don’t get better, can you believe God loves you, cares for you, and is with you?
I know that for many who have suicidal ideations, there is a feeling of hopelessness. For those of us who trust in Christ, it is like the old hymn says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.”
Every day is a fight to internalize and believe those words. Every day, we march forward in the hope that eternal peace is ours. Though we may only get a glimpse today, the day will come when we see and experience it in full.