Suicide. Just writing that word down gives me chills and makes me wonder why such an evil and cruel idea exists. It seems like so many people see or hear that word and someone may come into their head that has done the dreadful act. Those words have probably gone through the thoughts of a friend or family member who has contemplated life. This isn’t what I hope, but it may be something that has flown through your thoughts, as well.
Before I go any further, I feel the need to make you aware of the 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you are thinking about hurting yourself or believe that someone you know is dealing with this, please call the Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
I’ll start off by saying that I am not really qualified to give you the best opinion on the matter. I have not dealt with depression to an extent that has given me the thoughts of ending my life. I know a few people around me that have committed such actions, but I can’t say that I was close to them to experience a tremendous grief from the aftermath. I simply wanted to get some concrete thoughts and share them with you. I hope that we can, together, find hope and be able to share hope with those around us.
Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow
Unless you live under a rock or simply stay away from any online news outlet, you may not be able to recall the name, “Logan Paul”. But if you do, you might have known of a recent event where he was recently targeted for posting a vlog of his adventure in Japan. While taking a stroll at the base of Mt. Fuji (a dense forest that is also known as “suicide forest”), Logan Paul and his friends stumble across a body of someone who recently decided to take their own life. They did not have any common sense to stop filming or realize the seriousness behind the act of the young gentleman who decided to take his own life. If you want to know more about that, you can google Logan Paul’s name and see the multiple sites that talked about the event. Many of the news outlets were also not afraid to show judgment towards this person’s poor decisions. Paul decided to take a short hiatus from posting any content after the backlash until earlier last week.
He posted a video titled, “Suicide: Be Here Tomorrow“, where he claimed that he aims to “further understand the complexities surrounding suicide.” He says that he has made a big mistake having such ignorance over the matter. The comment section of this new video is also filled with so many hateful comments. Personally, I don’t have the right to show any bitterness towards him like others (not saying that they should do it, either), because I am not sure if I understand the seriousness of this issue. The matter, like him, has not affected me. He is also a human being like all of us that is disposed of making mistakes. Of course, with his online presence and influence, he will fall back even harder because the whole world can see him commit mistakes.
Who does this effect? (Facts)
These conversations on the topic need to be had. Suicide is not something we can detect from friends and family. Some of the top causes may be depression or a mental illness (i.e. bipolar disorder and schizophrenia). There isn’t really a formula to automatically point the finger at someone who we think could be processing these thoughts and ideas. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. For every successful (that’s a really stupid term to use) suicide, there are 25 attempts. Their website states that, on average, 123 people die of suicide each day, equalling to approx. 44,965 deaths per year. And since I live in New Mexico, I learned that we are the fourth leading state in suicides. My heart breaks as I read these stats. It breaks to know that such a valuable person has or will decide to take their life because they can’t handle their circumstances anymore.
Everyone can contemplate with these thoughts. We have already realized that money and fame don’t bring enough joy to a person to prevent this. To name a few, actor and comedian, Robin Williams, took his own life in 2014. Last year, we saw the death of two famous rockstars; Chris Cornell of Soundgarden and Audioslave and Chester Bennington of Linkin Park. Two weeks ago, Dolores O’Riordan, singer of The Cranberries (known for their 90’s hit, “Linger”) also ended her life to suicide. It is a harder issue to try and heal with money or possessions of any kind. Whether you’re rich or poor, white or black, male or female, it can affect those around us.
It simply affects those who lose hope.
And yes, even those who hold the Christian faith can contemplate with suicide.
While writing this post, I have tried to wonder where does someone suffering from depression or a mental illness go to try to find help? Again, I am not an expert to finding the right formula to get someone out of this hole, but I have seen a pattern where the victims of these emotions need somewhere to pour out their pain and hurt. They need to know that they are not alone and that people care for them. I landed on another blog written by Lacey Sturm (former vocalist of Flyleaf) where she expressed her sadness from the aftermath of Chester Bennington’s suicide. We have to realize that suicide also affects Christians. Satan strategizes to deceive and confuse us of what is good. She talks about her testimony where she struggled with suicidal thoughts and found herself at the midst of taking her own life. She says, “I pray each one impacted by this death will not be seduced into believing the lie that suicide will be a poetic end, or that it will finally make people face truth, or that it will guarantee an end to their suffering.” She gives her readers hope in Christ Jesus. She continues, saying, “I pray they will know and believe in the value of another day. And they will choose to be alive, especially because the odds say they should die.” Sturm has felt the pressures to become another stat on a website but knew that she couldn’t handle the pain by herself. She realized that God was there to pick up her mess and make it beautiful again, knowing that Jesus Christ died for everyone thinking of suicide because they are valuable enough to die for. I recommend you read the entirety of her blog because it shows the intensity of her pain for those that feel what she has once felt.
I want to end with what we need to remember as Christians and what suicide is to God, who sent Jesus to die for us. I will simply include this excerpt from an article by Brian Leicht that, theologically, explains it better than I can.
“Suicide is a sin, one that causes unspeakable grief to loved ones left behind. But we must also be honest about what suicide is not.
Suicide is not more powerful than the saving grace of Jesus. Suicide cannot snatch anyone from the Father’s hand (John 10:27–30). Salvation has nothing to do with what we do—we cannot earn it through righteous acts, and we cannot lose it through sinful acts. It comes through faith. (Ephesians 2:8–9). Therefore, even if the final act of a believer is the sin of suicide, the redeeming, regenerating work of God in that person’s life cannot be undone. God will not reject anyone who has placed his or her faith in Jesus Christ. That would be completely inconsistent with the nature of salvation…”
Suicide is not an end. I pray that if someone is on the verge of suicide, Christian or not, that they will realize the value in themselves and how much they are worth in those they least expect to see them as treasure.
I know that in the darkest of times, we begin to believe according to what we feel. Satan, the murderer from the beginning (John 8:44), will try to deceive us. I have suffered from stress and anxiety in my past. I have had various types of pain, both physical and emotional. I haven’t necessarily been through what many of these people have been through, but I know that in the torturous moment of pain and hurt, we don’t believe in what God says He can do.
In Logan Paul’s recent video, he interviews Kevin Hines, a man who survived a suicide attempt. Hines says, “If you don’t see beauty in the next person you meet, you’re not looking hard enough.” That hit me hard. As much as many don’t want to admit, this is something we need to do with Logan Paul even though he did a ridiculously stupid thing. I hope that he really learned from it and that he sees how much of an influence he has on everything that he does. I challenge you and myself to do as Hines says. You don’t have to be a Christian to ignore the evil or brokenness in someone.
P.S. If you lost someone to suicide and need help processing grief, there are support groups across the United States that will comfort you through this process and help you learn to rely on God. To find out more, go to www.griefshare.org or call 1-800-395-5755. Please, don’t let your voice go unheard.