Two months before I graduated high school in 1994, music fans including myself were stunned to hear that Kurt Cobain, lead singer of the grunge band Nirvana, had committed suicide. A wildly successful celebrity who took his life at age 27 just didn’t seem to make any sense. He had all he ever wanted, so why would he cut his life so short?
Up to that point in my life, I had never personally known any suicide victims. Music being what it is, though, the artists have a way of weaving themselves into your life, so this one impacted me. It was tragic. Unnecessary. Surely this was uncommon.
Here I am, twenty-five years later, living in an age when the suicide rate is double the homicide rate. I have now known of more people than I can count who have died this way: loved ones of friends and family, celebrities whose performances shaped my memories, and then there are those whom I have only read or heard about.
Especially in America, it is becoming an epidemic. I must be honest and say I wonder if the tide can be turned. After all, we don’t even value the unborn so why get worked up over the hopeless and jaded who obviously can’t handle life? That, friends, is the issue. We can’t handle life…without God, that is.
A collision of circumstances is what’s being used as a weapon by the Liar himself. He uses all the overwhelming issues of life to fabricate the hallucination that no solution is better than death. Things like emotional turmoil due to relationship problems, financial issues, substance abuse, mental illness, or deteriorated physical conditions are just the tip of the iceberg. I believe it is a combination of things in most cases; how could it not be?
Surely one thing couldn’t cause a person to make such a permanent decision. We all fall victim to our emotions from time to time; the tragedy lies in the fact that some do not understand how deceiving emotions can really be. They can be extremely misleading and are usually not a trustworthy guide to wise decision making.
Without the perspective of Christianity, we could easily fall into despair and see no need for going on with life. Suicide and assisted suicide would be acceptable choices for those unable to see hope for the future. Even though there are Christians who commit suicide, I believe it would be even more prevalent if we didn’t have the love of God pervading our lives in the form of encouraging men and women, uplifting music, spiritually grounded counseling, etc.
By being grounded in the Word of God, we should know how to separate truth from a fleeting emotion. Think about what that might mean for the reclusive coworker who has contemplated ending her life because she feels isolated and useless. The Christian worldview tells us that every life has value and that Jesus would have died for one just as willingly as He died for all.
My heart aches for their despair! We have watched suicide become the leading cause of death among our young people, and we are only recently attempting to take a unified stance toward mental health. Christian people should be the best on the planet at showing love, especially to those who are downtrodden and weary of life. The Holy Spirit will always reveal those who need it the most.
Spiritual health is also an enormous part of who we are, and if those needs are not met, the tragedy that has become our reality is the result. Given the fact that we have booted Christ from our schools and ushered in relativism on every level, what do we expect? Society and cultural influences subconsciously creep into our lifestyles and affect our decisions; sadly, those decisions include whether or not we are fit to continue living.
As you’ve read this piece, how many more have given up? This month? This year? They were military veterans, sons, daughters, friends, and co-workers. They were businessmen, athletes, firefighters, and dentists. Devastation does not discriminate; it affects the upper crust of society as much as it does the poverty-stricken.
It is not enough to simply be kind anymore; we have a much greater call. People need the love of a perfect God delivered by imperfect human beings. It’s messy and confusing at times, but it’s worth all the risk. You might truly save a life in the process.
Featured Image by Jon Tyson