One of my favorite films is the Christmas classic, “A Christmas Story.” I love to watch Ralphie and his seemingly-impossible journey of trying to acquire a Red Ryder BB gun. However, one scene sticks out in my mind as I write this article.
As Ralphie and his family are driving home, they have a blowout and Dad gets out to change the tire. Ralphie tries to help by holding the lug nuts, which, after an accident, spill out on the road. Ralphie lets out an expletive (and it wasn’t “fudge”). And both parents are shocked at their young son. “Where did he learn this word?”
The truth is, Ralphie had heard his father use that type of profanity many times. Yet, the blame is skirted to a friend. As we watch, we can’t help but ask the question, “Why are these parents so oblivious?” Don’t they understand that kids are sponges? Learning is not something that simply takes place in a classroom, but through every word we say and action we do in front of our children.
Over the last few weeks the topic of suicide has come to the forefront once again as we have received news of more celebrities taking their own lives. Let me make this very clear, suicide is always a tragedy and should never be taken lightly. It should break our hearts when this discussion comes up. At the same time, I can’t help but see the connection between our modern, cultural ideas of life and death and the rate at which suicide seems to be becoming more and more common, and not just among the rich and famous.
You see, our culture as a whole, has been teaching for many years now that life is not something that is sacred; rather life is cheap and expendable. How so? No one is teaching that outright. That is irrelevant. How did Ralphie learning to cuss? We’ve been teaching the desacralization of life through many means, including: 1) The killing of babies in the womb for purposes of convenience. 2) The legalization of so-called “Physician Assisted Suicide” 3) The romanticizing of suicide. (We will look at 2 and 3 in the coming weeks.)
Firstly, and I recognize this is a very contentious topic, the issue of abortion has done so much to cheapen the sanctity of life. Many studies have been done throughout the years to ascertain why abortions are sought (I’ll let you do your own googling) and the overwhelming response is for purposes of convenience. Either the parents feel they cannot afford a child, the pregnancy was an “accident”, or they are trying to hide their sexual exploits. In other words, millions of parents have been willing to sacrifice their own children on the altar of convenience. Usually, when you hear this topic in the political area it goes something like this: “What about when the mother’s life is in danger or in instances of rape?” The problem is, these reasons are less than a half of a percent. Meaning, the one who makes this type of argument is going for an emotional response not a thought-out position. We can answer those types of questions, but first we must agree that most people who desire to have their babies killed do so because they don’t want to be bothered by their children. Tell me, what kind of message do you think our young people are getting when this is being argued all the time in the public sphere? (How did Ralphie learn to cuss?)
You see, we’ve tried to make this topic of abortion not about a baby’s life or death but rather a topic about choice. So those who support abortion have garnered such banners as “Pro-choice” or “Pro-women’s health”. When the reality is, abortion is about the choice to take another human being’s life. “It’s our CHOICE.” So why should we act surprised or be sad when someone takes their own life? They simply made a choice. We’ve blasted out the message that life and death is only a choice that we get to make. Naturally, then, it follows that if we are fed up with life, we can choose death. If we can make this choice when someone is a baby, why not when we are older? Let’s be consistent. Right?
Obviously, when we turn on the news and hear of a celebrity who has taken their own life or we have a friend or family member who has commited suicide, we weep. As we should. We call suicide tragic and wish that the person would have reached out for help. Why do we respond in this way? Because whether or not you want to acknowledge it, you know that life is a precious gift from God. Life is to be cherished and fought for and loved and lived. Life is sacred and we must come to remember that as a culture. We must celebrate life and not try to find more and more ways to end it.
Life can be hard and can come with many struggles. I am not trying to belittle your experiences. However, there is true hope available. Ending your own life is not the answer. Hope and healing can and do come from Christ alone. If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide, please reach out for help. Talk with someone. Don’t listen to the “culture of death.” Reach out to a friend or local pastor. Open up the Bible and see what God has done for us so that you may have LIFE. Listen to the words of Jesus, “I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” (John 10:10) (www.TheExitMovie.com)
By Pastor Nick Jones
Maranatha Baptist Church
1320 E. Saguaro Dr. Globe, AZ