When One Loses Hope, Part I
‘Time in the Word’ By Clayton Adams According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America today. For every person who kills himself or herself, another twenty-five attempts are made. White males are victims more than any other demographic.
When one loses hope, the impact is cruel, devastating and eternal.
I know a man who made bad decisions. He stole money and when the law finally caught up with his actions, he spent years in prison. After “paying his debt to society” he was released and tried many times, unsuccessfully to find a job in the field of technology.
Who would hire a thief?
Who would trust a thief with valuable resources?
Was he desperate, depressed, angry? “Why did he do that” is the question I asked. When the man pulled his gun, the officer did what he was trained to do, what he should have done, what he had to do, there was no other choice. The officer shot the man. The officer did not know what the man knew. The man pulled a plastic toy gun and aimed it at the officer. The man was a classic example of “suicide by cop” and unfortunately the officer pays a price for the man’s decision to end his life. Suicide always affects others, always. The man was my brother. My family, especially my parents continue to pay a high price of regret, loneliness and unanswered questions. I pray you never experience the pain of suicide in your family, the questions are never answered.
Suicide is at times the result of months of planning, at other times it is a split-second decision. It could be circumstances, choices, decisions, stress, a chemical imbalance, anger, unfulfilled expectations, abuse by others or simply the hardships of life, all of these can bring a person to the precipice of suicide. Perhaps one can be saved by a kind word or a reversal of circumstances, sometimes one cannot be saved from the act of suicide. People make eternal choices in the blink of an eye and having a few seconds more, perhaps another choice would be made.
When one loses hope, suicide enters the mind so easily. Suicide is a lie, it is a trap set by the enemy of your soul, who makes it look so appealing, it is the perfect wrong answer.
In the Bible, there are a handful of people who lost hope and dealt with the issue of suicide. Judas, one of the original, handpicked disciples, walked with Jesus, was so overcome with guilt, shame and sorrow for his betrayal of Jesus that he hung himself. (Matthew 27:3-5) King Saul, the first king of ancient Israel was so insecure, prideful and unable to live up to the false expectations of others, believed he was a failure, took his sword and “… fell on it.” (1 Samuel 31:4).
Samson, a judge of ancient Israel, was misled by his selfish desires, prideful and dancing with danger, fell to his passionate desires. Samson died by his own hands in an act of revenge against his enemies (Judges 15:25-30).
Elijah, the great prophet of God, after performing one of the greatest miracles recorded in the Bible was verbally threatened and being physically, emotionally and spiritually tired, he ran away from his trouble. Elijah running from the threat, hid in a cave and asked God to take his life. God did not grant Elijah’s request, instead, God spoke to Elijah firmly but with gentleness and directed him back to what he had run away from with a new mission (1 Kings 19).
The Bible is not silent about suicide. The Bible speaks of life, and life more abundantly! The Ten Commandments instructs us on how to live life, have joy, selfworth and good family relationships. Jesus, in His Sermon on the Mount speaks to life, purpose, consequences, goals, rewards and more.
The Proverbs and other Scriptures contain true principles useful to form our thoughts, attitudes and beliefs for the critical issues of life and for the subject of suicide.
God’s Word is the basis for all life, truth, knowledge and wisdom. We can learn how to deal with one who loses hope.
When one contemplates suicide, we can help, if we are tender and resolute to listen for their cry of desperation.
What is your belief about suicide? Will the person who takes his or her life go to heaven or hell? What Scripture can you recite to support your belief? If you have no Scripture to base your belief, why do you believe what you believe? Could your belief be wrong?
Finally, if someone asks you for answers based in Scripture, could you answer their questions with Scripture? Could you walk with them down the long, winding and often bewildering road without judging or condemning that one?
I believe God’s Word has the answers, encouragement and wisdom we need to help the one who has lost hope. God and His Word are about life, forgiveness, mercy, grace and acceptance and with these we should share with others who have lost hope.
God’s Word gives us the hope and grace to live beyond suicide and to live with the unanswered questions. Please join me for the next two weeks as we examine suicide and The Bible.
Clayton Adams has a message of faith he would like to share with the community. He would also like to hear from you. E-mail him at [email protected] com.