MrsMcMommy brings up an issue that is close to my heart, suicide prevention and the words we Christians say. Our words really matter, they have power we don’t always recognize, and sometimes just being willing to stand in the truth can be like throwing someone who is drowning, a life line.
I’ve had some dark nights of the soul and one thing I can say for certain, depression is a liar. Your brain, emotions, heart are all lying to you. When we get in that state it is so important to have people around who will speak the truth to you. Speak life over you.
We people tend to want to pour comfort on others and to “fix” things. When someone kills themselves it’s hard not to say things like, “at least she’s at peace now.” Those are meaningless platitudes and while our intentions might be to comfort those left behind, the message we are actually sending is, suicide is the path to peace. That is exactly the lie we don’t want to promote.
When we think about it rationally, we really don’t know what happens to people when they kill themselves. It is actually far more rational and logical to confront the fact that those who were really unhappy and tormented in life, might just be really unhappy and tormented in the afterlife. We take ourselves with us, right?
One problem with the secular world is that while it tends to deny the truth of an after life, it also creates this irrational, limbo like space where he’s just off, “exploring the stars” or “flying high.” It would be far more helpful if secularists would be consistent. He murdered something beautiful and rendered himself non-existent. He is now worm food. Dust. Don’t wrap suicide in hopeful platitudes you don’t even believe in. The guy just went and rendered his meaningless existence even more meaningless and he hurt a lot of other people in the process, people who didn’t deserve that.
I had pastor back when I was a teen ager who told me, “if you’re saved you’re going to heaven, but some people are going as cobblestones. Everyday we’re going to get to walk on their face.” That is kind of a silly, irrational idea, but here I am decades later still holding onto those words. They have got me through some tough times. When despair has hit me, I remember the cobblestones. It’s an emotional concept, but in the midst of a storm, it’s just the kind of idea you need to hang onto, to ponder. I don’t want to go to heaven as cobblestone and rather than peace, I might just encounter something even worse.
I knew a woman who lost her husband after 40 years and she was very depressed and suicidal. She’d often say, “I’d kill myself but I’m afraid God would just send me back as a fire hydrant for all the dogs to pee on.” That’s a silly idea, but she was absolutely right to imagine that suicide just might make her present pain so much worse.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Some people believe you just get sent right back into your present circumstances, only worse, and you’re forced to re-live them over and over again until you get it right. I’m not talking theology here, simply imagination and perception, the tools people need to hang onto when despair is coming at them fast and hard. Despair is a liar.
So if you are a Christian, stand in the truth. You never know who might be listening to your words. We ourselves need to be listening to our own words too, because saying things like “she’s in a better place” or “she was so brave,” creates this FALSE mindset that suicide can have some positive benefits. We are called to be speaking life, and life abundant.
In another thread, someone has reminded me about the Apostle Peter, one of my favorites because I tend to make the same kind of mistakes he did. In Matthew 16:21-23 Jesus has just told the Disciples exactly what is going to happen to Him. And Peter, no doubt motivated by compassion and fear responds, “Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee.” And then Jesus answers him, “But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”
That is a tough passage, but it is a fabulous reminder that our empathy and compassion are not always moral, that sometimes our desire to pour comfort over others is rooted more in our own feelings, than in what is truly best for them.
I’ve lost some people close to me. As hard as it is, I have to accept the fact that no, they may not be “in a good place” at all. All I can do is hang onto the idea that God loves the people I care about even more than I do, and that He knows what He is doing.