I wonder how many of our friends who’ve come to that dark crossroads in their lives and decided upon the path to death would not have chosen it had we been more purposeful or available to them.
I’ve learned of or known several people over the past couple years who have made the decision to prematurely end their lives, based apparently upon utter hopelessness. I learned of one this morning — a teenage girl who last week reached the end of hope and saw nothing good on the other side.
Having been at the edge of this hope myself, only to back away because my hope in Jesus Christ thankfully was stronger than the desire to make the pain stop, I can empathize with others who’ve been there or may be there right now. It’s why during discussions in Sunday school this morning I offered to be a sounding board to anyone someone might suspect is viewing suicide as a viable option to the obvious pain and suffering they’re experiencing. It’s not that I have the answers or the magic words to say: I have a God who gives me hope and can give me the words to say if and when I would ever need to utter them to someone looking to just make the pain stop!
We need to be more purposeful in people’s lives. Not purposeful with the idea that everyone we come in contact with is contemplating suicide and therefore we must stop it; we simply need to be more friendly and put the cell phone down long enough to actually engage in a real conversation, rather than simply invite someone to chat, text, IM, or “friend” us sometime. I think social media has done a great disservice to the concept of friendship and conversation, but that’s another topic for another time.
We’ll likely never know the full impact of being there for someone, or stopping long enough to ask them how their day is going, and instead of responding: “uh huh, have a nice day!” we actually STOP moving, look them in the eyes and become interested in what they’re saying, verbally and non-verbally. I think this could also go a long way towards helping troubled couples choose to remain married instead of elect to sever their one-flesh bond that God created in them.
It means we need to be in tune with those around us and intentionally be curious; this means being friendly.
It might even mean letting our own guard down just a bit and lowering the wall surrounding us enough to become (WARNING: BAD WORD HERE…) vulnerable.
I’m NOT making light of suicide or those with severe depression who need professional help. What I am saying is maybe, just maybe, some of the folks who need a friend and a bit of help to see the hope Christ offers us can be drawn away from the edge of Hell and given a renewed chance to live as Christ calls us to live.
In short, this falls under Christ’s command to love your neighbor as yourselves. Wouldn’t we all want someone to validate the worth that God sees in us, rather than lecture us like Job’s so-called friends (tip: DON’T do as Zophar did in Job chapter 11!). Isn’t it so much more reassuring when someone comes along side of us and offers us even a small glimpse of the hope that Christ offers those of us who seek to obey him, and then simply loves us for the broken vessels that we are?
- When a Loved One Is a Suicide Risk (everydayhealth.com)