A Tragic Suicide Story

Posted: May 5, 2014 in Anxiety & Depression, Christian Living, Christians & Culture, Doubt, Theology

SuicideHere are the opening lines of a recent article at CNN.

“Funny, happy people do not kill themselves. It doesn’t make sense.”

That’s usually what people say. “They were such a bright light … the life of the party.” I know, because I used to say these things about my brother, Evan.

Now I know better.

Four years ago, just a few weeks shy of his 21st birthday, Evan ended his life with the intention of forever ending his pain. And I am left with blood on my hands. My misconceptions about suicide have made me an accomplice.

The story seems to go something like this: a teenage boy who had everything going for him – great personality, funny, athletic – began to battle depression of some sort. This turned into anger, internal darkness, confusion, and the eventual taking of his life. For the full story of Evan, you can read the original article here.

What are we to make of such tragic stories? In recent weeks I have written on the topics of anxiety and emotions and how to understand them in a Christian way. Additionally, since May is mental health awareness month, I thought it would be fitting to share a few thoughts about this story. So let me just make a few general points and then provide you with some helpful links.

  • Sin is the ultimate reason for depression and suicide. As I mentioned in a previous post in great detail, sin is the ultimate reason for mental health problems, including depression. Suicide is perhaps the pinnacle of depression, sin, and darkness. We live in a fallen world, separated from God. We commit sin regularly, we rebel against our creator, and others commit sin against us. Additionally, our bodies are affected by this sinful separation, making us susceptible to both physical and mental illness – either through choice or no direct fault of our own.
  • Jesus and the hope of God is the ultimate answer. The ultimate answer for depression and suicide is the hope and healing offered in Jesus and his Gospel. Healing may not come in this life, but healing will come for the Christian. Jesus offers hope, relief, a light burden, and easy, yoke, eternal joy, and a new body. What a great hope we have! As Revelation 21:4 says, “He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
  • Depression is a real mental health problem. While I concur that depression is ultimately a result of sin, it is nevertheless a problem with physical components that need to be addressed. In similar fashion, a heart disease patient my be sick as a result of the sin of gluttony over many years, and that certainly must be addressed; however, in loving Christian compassion, we treat the effects of the sin, the heart disease, as well. Likewise, we should addressing the physical problems of the individual with depression. People suffering from depression, especially severe depression, should immediately seek the help of a solid Christian counselor and a psychiatrist. Both body and soul need healing.
  • Be loving and compassionate to those who are hurting. The longer I live, the more pain and suffering I see in the world. At times it can become overwhelming. More people than you realize are hurting, especially mentally and emotionally. As is the case with most who are hurting, a quick answer will rarely suffice. People need love, compassion, grace, friendship, prayer, and lots of listening. Follow the advice of James 1:19: “Be quick to listen and slow to speak…”

Here are a couple of articles that may answer further questions you may have.

For those considering suicide.

Do people who commit suicide automatically go to hell?

From the well-wisher of your soul,

Jordan

 

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