This morning I come to you with sadness on my heart. Last Wednesday night, a coworker apparently became excessively despondent, drowning himself in alcohol and prescription drugs, and taking he and his rifle into the woods by his home.
I don’t think I need to tell you what happened next as most of you know how I feel about this subject and what a sore spot it is to me.
Again, I don’t really like to talk about this but, after some coaxing from Pamela and a few other friends, it became all too obvious that it may be something I need to say… something God wants you to hear as this kind of tragedy happens far too often in this world.
- Approximately 130 suicides each day.
- 47,173 in 2019 alone.
- 90% had diagnosable mental health conditions.
- 10th leading cause of death in the
(2nd leading cause ages 15-34
4th leading cause ages 35-54)
The suicide rates are getting progressively higher as each year passes… and it’s equally spread-out among all sexes and ages!
A Place so Dark
I cannot even imagine how badly someone must feel to be in a place so dark; so empty; and so full of hopelessness that they would choose to end their own lives.
As Paul tells us in Ephesians 5:11 – “Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.”
Unfortunately, they didn’t have what we have. We shouldn’t have this, but we should know this “darkness!”
John 1:4-5 – “The Word (Bible) gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.”
I will talk more about the “light” in a moment but, for now, lets continue with some lessons from “The Word.”
Suicide in The Bible
(This Isn’t Something New)
King Saul, first King of Israel, threw himself on his sword, and his armor bearer followed him in death, after his sons died and he lost a battle against the Philistines. After being wounded by an arrow, Saul asked his armor-bearer to kill him so the enemy could not capture him. His armor-bearer then fell on his sword as well. This account is in 1 Samuel 31.
Moses cried out to God because of the complaints of the Israelites in the wilderness: “…I am not able to carry all this people alone; the burden is too heavy for me.
If you will treat me like this, kill me at once, if I find favor in your sight, that I may not see my wretchedness” (Numbers 11:14-15). God responded with mercy, taking some of the burden off Moses by having him appoint elders.
Job was tested severely after God allowed Satan to take his wealth and family from him. He exclaimed, “Why did I not die at birth, come out from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11). God rebuked Job for his self-loathing, and Job learned to rest in God’s compassion and promises, and God restored wealth and family to Job.
The Bible never clearly states that depression “is the devil,” but as we all know that it is caused by the ways of this world and the ways of this world, are of the devil!
1 Peter 5:8 – “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
Maybe it isn’t the devil, but it is most obviously a tool he will use to “devour” us!
I think it’s safe to say that anyone considering such an end to their lives is “lost!” Wouldn’t you say the same?
How many times did Jesus talk about the “lost” and how He was here, on this earth, to find them? Even back in the Old Testament, the Prophet Isaiah said…
Our nature Isaiah 53:6 – “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”
God knows we get lost! Jesus knew we were lost! But, just because we may feel lost, do we lose our value?
The Parable of the Lost Sheep
Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”
Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it?
And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent.”
The Parable of the Lost Coin
“Or suppose a woman has ten silver coins and loses one. Doesn’t she light a lamp, sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it?
And when she finds it, she calls her friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost coin.’ In the same way, I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.”
The Parable of the Lost Son
Jesus continued: “There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, ‘Father, give me my share of the estate.’ So he divided his property between them.
“Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need.
So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything.
When he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired servants have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired servants.’ So he got up and went to his father.
But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.
“The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’
“But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”
“Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’
“The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’
“‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’”
What are these three parables Christ spoke of teaching us? He’s telling us that, even though we are lost, we have not lost our value! (toothpick example) And we, most assuredly, will NEVER lose our value to God!
Who are They?
It is never easy to identify those that are lost, or is it?
- Are they the ones that always threaten themselves?
- Are they always sad, seeming deeply depressed?
- Always alone?
- What about the ones you call loud or obnoxious)?
Has anyone heard the song by Kelsea Ballerini, Homecoming Queen? In her song, she talks specifically about the “Homecoming Queen” and how she is always “playing the role.”
Some of the lyrics go like this, offering some very good advise…
But what if I told you the world
If you started showing what’s under your skin
What if you let ’em all in on the lie?
Even the homecoming queen cries
Simple, right? But extremely true! It’s okay to show your emotions! It’s okay to say “I’ve had enough!” Reach out… there is always somebody who’ll listen (Sunrise Chapel).
- Excessive sadness or moodiness: Long-lasting sadness and mood swings can be symptoms of depression, a major risk factor for suicide.
- Sudden calmness: Suddenly becoming calm after a period of depression or moodiness can be a sign that the person has made a decision to end his or her life.
- Withdrawal: Choosing to be alone and avoiding friends or social activities also are possible symptoms of depression. This includes the loss of interest or pleasure in activities the person previously enjoyed.
- Changes in personality and/or appearance: A person who is considering suicide might exhibit a change in attitude or behavior, such as speaking or moving with unusual speed or slowness. In addition, the person might suddenly become less concerned about his or her personal appearance.
- Dangerous or self-harmful behavior: Potentially dangerous behavior, such as reckless driving, engaging in unsafe sex, and increased use of drugs and/or alcohol might indicate that the person no longer values his or her life.
- Recent trauma or life crisis: A major life crisis might trigger a suicide attempt. Crises include the death of a loved one or pet, divorce or break-up of a relationship, diagnosis of a major illness, loss of a job, or serious financial problems.
- Making preparations: Often, a person considering suicide will begin to put his or her personal business in order. This might include visiting friends and family members, giving away personal possessions, making a will, and cleaning up his or her room or home. Some people will write a note before committing suicide.
- Threatening suicide: Not everyone who is considering suicide will say so, and not everyone who threatens suicide will follow through with it. However, every threat of suicide should be taken seriously.
Give Them Purpose
(Our Jobs as Christians)
These people that have fallen into the deep depths of darkness are lacking a shepherd. You are that shepherd!
Matthew 5:14-16 – “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Make Them Feel Wanted (Give them Purpose)
- Listen, when nobody else will.
- Understand, when nobody else does. Just because it doesn’t matter much to you, it does to them!
- Keep your eyes fixed on them (sincerity).
- Recognize the “signs!” Don’t be afraid to act!
- BE THE LIGHT! (You may just save a life)
These are lost souls. They need encouragement, support and understanding. They lack direction… you have yours! Remind them of their purpose and what God has in store for them!
Remind them as Paul reminded the members of the Corinthian Church in Corinth!
1 Corinthians 2:9 – “‘What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived’ the things God has prepared for those who love him.”
This is Our Job!
Jesus assigned His Disciples (and us), in the last chapter in Matthew… this very task
Matthew 28:19-20 – “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- When someone has lost all hope… share your faith!
- When someone has lost their smile… teach them to laugh!
- When someone has lost their way… be their shepherd!
- When someone is walking in the dark… BE THE LIGHT!
There are a lot of lost, lonely and sad people out there. Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ, children of God! They are no different than you or me other than they have lost their way in the darkness.
Don’t do as the rest of this world does and cast them aside. Use your understanding of God’s Word and share it with them. Help them to understand how Loved and Cherished they truly are, as you are… and to hold on to what is real (GOD).
Go with God; be good to one another; always stay humble; always be kind… God Bless (Amen)