The realities of suicide have grown infectiously contagious among today’s younger generation. The desire to take one’s own life has been popularized by the media exhibiting a cultural trend that has ricocheted throughout this country. How does someone get to that point? When life grips your heart and you’ve exhausted every option except death. According to statistics, there is one death by suicide every 13 minutes, that’s 105 Americans dying daily and 38,000 yearly. That’s one life too many and we have failed in our Christian duty in addressing this issue. Installing programs and outreach are just a few methods we can incorporate. Theres a greater need to get into the heart and mind of the individual which is crucial to understanding this enslavement of the will. Let’s consider some biblical accounts of suicide recorded in scripture.
I FEEL SO HUMILIATED
Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.” But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it.
1 Samuel 31:4
The death of this protagonist, the first king of Israel finds himself overcome with defeat. He has just lost the battle to the Philistines and they soon approach him to finish the job. Fear of being paraded around for sport as did Samson (Judges. 16:25) and the humiliation he would endure, outweighed his decision to take his own life. One of the many causes of suicide deals with ridiculing and humiliation. This psychological explanation goes far beyond our understanding but we can begin to learn of its behavior. I recall the time when Kate Middleton’s nurse committed suicide because she was found to be the object of a prank that gained media attention.
I’M A COMPLETE FAILURE
When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped.
Here we find this jailer, whose sole responsibility was to watch over the prisoners, has just discovered that Paul and Silas escaped. He would have lost his pension plan and 401k if his bosses found out. About to plunge the sword into his own flesh, he’s quickly stopped by Paul and receives the promise of heaven. It doesn’t always turn out this way, sometimes its too late and the fear of failure creeps in. Recognizing that God is always in control (Ecclesiastes 9:1–2), that his steadfast love remains (Ps.89:28) and his salvation is forever (Isa. 51:6), guides us into right understanding when dealing with failure.
Guilty As Charged
And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.
One of the most historically recognized suicide accounts is Judas. Guilty because of the betrayal of Jesus, Judas attempts to right his wrong by giving back the currency but they refuse to accept it. Stricken with guilt because of his actions Judas gets rid of the money and hangs himself. He doubted the mercy God, the endowment of this precious gift squandered away into the field of blood. Life seemed to have no intrinsic value, no self-worth, a feeling of shame encompasses him to take this road that so many are on today.
“You may break the clods, you may sow your seeds, but what can you do without the rain? As absolutely needful is the divine blessing.”
― Charles Haddon Spurgeon
Instead of sitting ideally around with large print bibles in hand, our spiritual conviction should be to confront those who are facing guilt, fear or humiliation. This is just the tip of the iceberg. The numbers don’t lie and we have at least one friend riding the roller coaster of pain and suffering if not us. Before it gets to the point of taking their life, speak life into a desperate situation. Allow the love of God to illuminate the darkest area, allow the Word to pierce the hardest of hearts and as we plea with God (Job 10:1-22) he is faithful to answer.