In my third year at the university, a classmate of mine took his own life. He chose to stay back at home on a night where his whole family were at a church vigil. When they returned, they didn’t find life in him. His grades were okay, and his family seemed stable from what we heard. I wondered what the trigger was. I recall being so pained because I didn’t even know who he was. We were not more than a hundred students. Somehow, I felt somebody must have noticed some signs of depression. In those days, I kept wondering, if I has noticed him and said hello once in a while, would he have taken his own life? His family was Christian, so he was most likely the regular church boy.
I remember also the story of a young boy back in my university days who took his own life, and I asked: “Did he know the Lord?” The reply I got was, “Well, he was a Christian”
Yet again, my heart broke.
Another episode happened even closer to home. This young lady, God helped and she was found in time. She was a worker in the Church.
I was going to center this post on young people but then, just after I started this draft, I decided to take a break to eat something, and something changed my mind. I heard of popular CNN Anthony Bourdain, 61 and dream of almost every tourist around taking his life.
I thought, “Again?!”
I wasn’t a big fan (because I don’t watch TV much) neither does he belong to my church or anything like that. But the fact that fame and success doesn’t separate men from this trap, the deceit of the enemy just really dawned on me anew.
So how is the church involved in this you may ask? You see, the first cases I spoke of were all church people. Whether they believed in Jesus and walked in the light or not is a different matter entirely but they belonged to a church. If things are going as God planned in our local churches, maybe these people would not have gotten to this point.
Why should the church be concerned?
- Firstly because we are all humans. Christians tend to live with the belief that we are super humans which is true but we are still humans. Elijah as great a prophet as he was, he had his low days. In fact, right after the feat of calling down fire on the prophets of Baal, depression and fear hit Elijah that he ran away. He asked God to take his life (1 Kings 19:5). And as he cried out to God, help came. People make the mistake of thinking believers are immune to failure. Yes indeed, it is not in God’s plan for us but we do fall short sometimes, we make mistakes. And at those times, we need help. Acknowledging this fact is the first step to getting help.
- Secondly, because we live in a fallen world. Suicide is a form of ESCAPE for some people. Everybody seeks a way to escape the pain that comes in life. But suicide is not the escape route God designed for his children. God himself is our ESCAPE route from the ills of this world.
“The name of the LORD is a strong tower: the righteous runneth into it, and is safe”. (Proverbs 18:10). Note this verse acknowledges the fact that at some point, even the righteous would be running for safety. Bad things happen even to the best of us and that is not God’s fault. He didn’t plan it this way contrary to how some people think.
A little backtrack – God created this world beautiful and perfect. And then, he handed the keys to man. Man in disobedience handed it over to the devil when he sinned. However, we have a hope! Because just “for if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.” Romans 5:17. Jesus came to deliver us from that. However, until time is up, we live in this fallen world with people in a fallen state. Yet, we have succor in God as our escape route.
When bad things happen, people tend to lose sight of this fact and begin to ask the “why God?” question. Many fall into depression. Our role and duty as individuals and as a body of Christ is to help remind such a one of these facts and steady their heart.
If you know someone contemplating suicide or showing signs of depression, don’t judge. Take a cue from Jesus. He associated with the outcast (the lepers that he healed), the sinners (the adulterous woman, the woman by the well) and even those who in the eyes of society were registered criminals (the thief on the cross) He didn’t cast them out. He drew them even nearer to the Father. This should be our disposition too – love and compassion must always come first.
Reach out in love. And pray for your brothers and sisters in Christ. Pray always. Even if you are met with resistance when you try to reach out, you can never go wrong with prayers. I have testimonies of people opening up to me after prayers even though I had always been met with resistance.
If you do not feel alright or you have suicidal thoughts or are often depressed, I’ve got news for you! God says He is close to the broken-hearted and those crushed in Spirit (Psalm 34:18) There is hope and the end of that dark tunnel isn’t more darkness, it’s light.
I know you may not feel like praying or whatever, pray still. You see our liberty in Christ is what it is – Liberty!
God is calling us into a Father-son relationship. This means openness and honesty, not pretence. David is my perfect example in this matter. When I was younger, I couldn’t even repeat some of these psalms. In my mind, I’d be like, “This David has mind o” Yet, God called him a man after His heart. Another example is Job.
Contrary to popular opinion, God wants to hear you out even though he can already see your heart. So just tell him already and His loving arms would set you straight. He is our escape route in life. Run to Him instead.
And please please, reach out! It doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It also doesn’t mean you’ve lost your salvation. Like I said, this is part of God’s design – that the church be a support system. Also, especially when battling with depression, get professional help. Depression just like any other ailment can be corrected. Don’t walk alone. Seek help.
Contrary to popular opinion, God wants to hear you out even though he can already see your heart. So just tell him already and His loving arms would set you straight. He is our escape route in life. Run to Him instead. Click To Tweet My
father daddy always told me when I was a teenager and kids were always sulking, refusing to eat, falling into depression and all those bad behaviour. He says, “The sad truth is life always goes on. Even if you die, worst case scenario – people would cry and weep. And then, they’d move on. It is YOUR life, take responsibility for it”
I grew up with that thought guiding me. I learnt two major lessons from it. The first, do not kill yourself to please people. The people you are trying to please would move on right after you pass. The mere fact that people still eat (proper jollof rice) after funerals prove this point. Secondly, suicide is not an escape route at least not for the believer.
Suicide is not an escape route at least not for the believer. Click To Tweet I hope this blesses you.
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