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Continuing to Think Biblically About Suicide

11 Sep

This is a follow-up from an earlier blog post, “Beginning to Think Biblically About Suicide.” In that post I considered suicide more from the perspective of those who are left behind. In this post, I want to think about this subject with those who may be struggling with deep emotional pain, or who almost unexplainably, has thought about taking their own life.

The subject of suicide continues to be a frequent topic in the New Zealand media as can be seen here, here, here, here, here, here, & here.

Let me say from the start, if you are reading this and at this very moment are considering actions that will cause yourself serious bodily harm or possibly even death, please stop reading this and contact one of following (I am writing this in New Zealand, so these are all New Zealand agencies):

Where to get help

• Youth services: (06) 3555 906

• Youthline: 0800 376 633

• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (4pm to 6pm weekdays)

• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (noon to midnight)

• The Word

• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (24-hour service)

• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155

• CASPER Suicide Prevention

• If it is an emergency and you feel like you or someone else is at risk, call 111.

(To my knowledge none of the above organisations are “Christian”. However, if you are in a serious place where suicide even seems remotely appealing, you need preventative intervention. After this, when you are in a “better” place, then keep reading.)

If you are still reading, but find yourself struggling deeply with questions, doubts, anger, hurt, etc. and you live in the Auckland, New Zealand area, please contact me via Howick Baptist Church or come to a service here to visit and ask your questions.

I want to suggest to you two facts which are unavoidably true, yet most people seem determined to deny. Then I want to offer you a source of hope.

Firstly, we live in a world and experience life which brings with it manifold sources of pain and suffering. You see, the Bible teaches us that all the world has been effected by sin and all people, everywhere are sinners (Genesis 3, Romans 1-3). As a result we can be sure that this life will be full of reasons for pain and sorrow. You will be hurt by others intentionally and unintentionally. Some of those people will be Christians. Some will be very close to you. Some will be those whom you trusted deeply. We will also experience pain which is not “personal” in its origin, but impersonal: cancer, loss of job, earthquake, chronic pain, other diseases, etc. All of this is a result of living in a wold that is damaged by sin.

Yet, this situation becomes even more excruciating as we seek to deny this reality. You might be thinking, “I’m really not denying this, I am experiencing this.” True, but there is still a form of denial going on in you and me at times. One form of denial is the fact that I continually try to convince myself that things aren’t supposed to be this way.  I’m not speaking necessarily about a specific situation but more of a general attitude of expectation. Most of us live expecting to not experience much pain in life, but this isn’t an expectation based on reality. Therefore we set ourselves up for great disappointment.

Secondly, we have allowed ourselves to buy into the idea that there is nothing after death. For generations people have been trying to convince themselves and others that this life is all there is and once we die there is nothing else to come. We live in denial of a reality that cannot be avoided.

On our best days we know this is true. In fact, the only reason some many go through such an effort to convince themselves and others there is nothing after death is because the most natural thought in anyone is that death isn’t the end. They may not be able to explain what it is, or why, but they know there is something more. This life isn’t all there is.

So, we have to suppress this truth. We have to actively deny it (Romans 1).

Yet, in the end it doesn’t work. We cannot ultimately avoid that which is real regardless of our efforts to deny its reality.

Consider this with me…

These two facts which I try to deny, but cannot be avoided point me in the only direction that can provide hope.

You see, if it is true that this world is severely damaged by sin along with everyone in it, including me then the only real hope must come from outside this world. And if there is, in fact, something after death then I must find help from some source which will guarantee that things will go well for me after I die.

My friend, here is the good news…

There is Someone Who existed outside of this world, but willingly entered this world; the Son of God, God in the flesh, Jesus Christ. He came into the world to save His people from their sins. He did this by willingly dying on the cross, and paying the penalty for their sin. He showed his complete victory over sin and death by rising again back to life after three days then ascending back to heaven promising to return for His people taking them to be with Him in heaven forever.

You see there is a way to be sure that I will be with God in heaven when I die and there is a way to be free from my greatest problem, my sin. All I need to do is confess my sins and trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins.

Though I live in this world still with all of its pain and suffering, I no longer live as one in denial and with no final hope. I can fully acknowledges the reality of this world but am not overwhelmed because my hope is in a world to come which will be restored to a place without sin, pain, sorrow, or suffering and into which I will be welcomed because of what Jesus did for me which I could never do for myself.

If you’ve read this far and are at all interested in learning more, could I invite you to listen to this sermon?

Psalm 130: From the Depths We Find Forgiveness and Hope

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