Suicide, what does it have to do with me?
by Carolyn Boyce
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Unbelievable! News that left you speechless! The shock, the grief, the frustration and the helplessness all rolled into one. That dark space of finality – a place devoid of hope. An irreversible end with countless questions and “what if’s.” Suicide may very well be the worst form of crisis to live through. It doesn’t matter how close or distant you were to the victim, the feelings evoked are the same, the only difference being the intensity of the pain.
How could you grieve for what was out of your control that you should have seen coming? Were there signs? Why were they missed? If only you had known, you would have done what exactly? Suicide like other taboo subjects is only spoken of when we are forced to do so.
Suicide is spoken of in the Scriptures. Saul and Judas Iscariot were two examples of Biblical characters which chose to terminate their own lives. The circumstances though different contained similar characteristics. In both instances mistakes were made and it was impossible to go backward. This therefore made going forward difficult. Each victim felt trapped, they could not go back nor could they face the future. The longer they were trapped between the past and the future, the more they lost hope in their circumstances being favorably resolved. The mental anguish was incredible and led to physical and emotional exhaustion. This inner turmoil isolated them from available help.
Both Saul and Judas triggered a chain of events which soon became uncontrollable and impossible to predict. Someone ought to be blamed, so they blamed themselves and turned their actions inward. Warped thinking and twisted emotions deprived them of a clear perspective. So they thought the inevitable and chose to end it all. Yes I believe where they were headed was inevitable though they would not have originally set out to terminate their lives. The clues to where they were headed had little to do with negative circumstances and much to do with what was in their hearts and minds.
Having survived the suicide of a loved one we may be tempted to ask what does this issue have to do with me? The experience of knowing someone who committed suicide should arm us with a set of indicators which inform personal decisions and provide insights into the challenges faced by others. Once an avalanche has been set in motion, it becomes difficult to halt its progress. It is therefore wise to recognize critical turning points since how we respond at these turning points remains within the remit of our control. Each is responsible for the downward slide of his or her thoughts and emotions. Each is responsible for recognizing when a situation is more than can be borne. Each is responsible for seeking help when personal attempts to cope have failed. Each is responsible for embracing or rejecting sound advice when it has been given.
Christians believe that Christ is in control of the details of their lives and can work seemingly negative situations to their benefit. Whenever Bible study and life experiences confirm this belief faith and hope in the Lord grows. However, when we lose sight of GOD’s control over the events of our lives and make decisions without His approval we begin a process that could be self-destructive.
Christians should find their identity, worth and purpose in a healthy relationship with the living Christ since we believe that abundant life is linked to knowing Christ. Should the Christian choose instead to define himself or herself outside of a relationship with Christ, self destruction is inevitable. Surrendering our lives and decision making to the teachings and instruction of Christ is essential to enjoying an abundant life. Learning how to guard our hearts and cultivate sound thinking is critical to a full and wholesome Christian experience. Failure to take stock of the condition of our souls and allow Christ to restore our souls from the damage of the past will curb our enjoyment of the Christian life. Using the teachings of the Bible to store up strength within us, and learning how to overcome adversity and harshness in our environment is critical to living a successful Christian life. Saul and Judas both employed a passive approach to the management of their souls. This resulted in warped thinking and emotions being nurtured to maturity. Both failed to challenge their mindsets and emotions with the Word of God and this eventually led to their untimely demise. What caused their early deaths? It was not the series of unfortunate events that befell them, but rather a failure to assume responsibility for their negative thoughts and emotions which led them to view suicide as their only escape.
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