Before you finish reading this article, someone will have ended their own life by suicide. The World Health Organization estimates that a whopping 800,000 people take their own lives each year. That’s over 2,000 people a day. Hopelessness, despair, and depression have become an epidemic in our modern culture and it must be addressed.
The question is, “How should we address suicide?” I think the first thing we must do is recognize the short-comings of the answers that are so prevalent in the secular culture. Don’t get me wrong; many people can be and have been helped by secular counselors. However, the Bible teaches that true, life-long change only comes from God. When an individual recognizes that his worth and value doesn’t come from what the world says, but from the God who created him, only then will one find hope.
Popular culture tells someone struggling with depression and despair to focus on the inside and learn to love oneself. The problem is, when one truthfully looks inward we don’t see that which is lovable; we see brokenness, selfishness, hate, and lust – we see sin. Rather, we need to look to Christ. He is the One who is holy and righteous and good; He is the One who takes broken people and gives them hope. Focusing solely on inward reflection and self-love ultimately leads to more despair, but focusing on Christ and what He has done for us in spite of who we are, ultimately leads to a “joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.” (1 Peter 1:8)
If you are reading this and you are struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts, let me encourage you to reach out for help. You don’t have to deal with those feelings alone. One of the reasons God gave us the church is because He knows we cannot do life by ourselves. The Bible says we receive comfort from God so that we “may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction.” (2 Corinthians 1:4) Secondly, recognize that you do have worth and value. Your worth does not come from what other people say about you. Your worth does not come from how well you do or how you look. Your worth comes from the fact that you are made in the image of magnificent Creator.
Finally, there is hope in this life and in the life to come. We all are broken sinful people and deserve the wrath of God. Yet God is merciful and has made a way for sinful people to be forgiven. 2,000 years ago God became a man in the person of Jesus Christ. He lived a perfect life and died a sacrificial death so those who repent of their sin and trust in Him can be forgiven and redeemed. If you don’t have this hope, I encourage you to repent and to turn to Christ. He will set you free and give you eternal life.
If you would like to learn more or discuss these matters, please join us at Maranatha any Sunday. Feel free to contact me or another Bible-believing pastor in the area. Help and hope are available for those who seek it. Also, check out www.theEXITmovie.com to watch the new documentary and find other resources about the cultural appeal to suicide and the hope we have in Christ.
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ