Suicide, and the threat of suicide, is one of the greatest tragedies that many have experienced among loved ones today.
Its finality brings tremendous grief.
Its loss can usher in feelings of huge guilt shadowing over those left behind.
The sudden awareness that life is too quickly gone, can cause deep turmoil and struggle under the weight of the “what if’s” and “why’s.”
But often, we find ourselves talking most about suicide after it happens. And for some, it’s a conversation much too late. Maybe it’s time that we as believers, who know Truth and the power of Christ that sets us free, started more discussions. That we begin to open doors, setting aside our own fears and judgments, to help peel back layers, get conversations going, and take the shame out of mental illness, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.
10 hard, fast facts about the reality of suicide from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education):
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (Homicide ranks 17th.) It is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 - 24 year olds, and the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 18-65.
There is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes.
There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts, and one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly.
Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year.
Though depression is known to be a leading cause of suicide, only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression ever receive treatment.
The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicidal planning and suicide attempts is significantly higher among adults aged 18-29 than among adults aged 30+.
Suicide among men is 4x’s higher than among women, and represent 79% of all US suicides.
Women are more likely than men to have had suicidal thoughts, and attempt suicide 3x’s as often as men.
The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaskan Natives.
Worldwide, over 800,000 people die by suicide every year.
Statistics tell us that before you get to the end of this article, possibly 4 or more people in our nation will have at least attempted suicide, and 1 may have succeeded.
This world can be a dark place. For any of us, life can get hard, and some seasons feel particularly trying and difficult. One thing we can be certain of, the enemy wants nothing more than to absolutely destroy our lives. The Bible
is clear in John 10:10
, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…”
Yet the other part of that verse is where we can find hope and strength that is bigger than ourselves. “…I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly.”
Christ came to give us life – full, free, abundant life. He came to bring hope and healing. The devil has no authority over our lives, except what we allow him to have. Let’s be aware of how he works to deceive and trip us up, so we’re better equipped to step over his traps, and cast aside his lies.
7 Lies of Suicide, and the Truth that Sets Us Free:
1. “They’re all better off without me.” – The lie says we’re doing everyone a favor to exit. As if everyone will get over the tragedy quickly and life will move on happier without us there. But no matter what we might think, suicide leaves a crushing impact on all involved. As one leaves this world, their loved ones are left to pick up pieces and deal with great loss and despair. It’s never the solution, not for anyone. Truth says we are loved beyond measure, our lives have great purpose and meaning. We may not see it in the season we’re in. We may feel dark clouds of gloom that seem to follow us everywhere we go. But God, in His power, can break through all that mess. He is the mountain-mover, the hope-instiller, the light-bringer. Hold on to Him, even when life looks dark and blurred. And be assured that He is holding you, and won’t ever let go.
“The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…” Deut. 33:27
2. “No one really cares about me anyway. I’m all alone in this.” – The lie says we’re all alone, we’re the odd one out. The enemy will make us feel every bit of despair and defeat in the pit we’ve sunk down into. But Truth says we are never alone. In the midst of our loneliness and despair, God reminds us, He is there. He sees our pain and knows our way, and promises to be with us always.
“…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Matt. 28:20
3. “I just can’t face this pain anymore. The trial is too hard.” – The lie says we can’t go on, that life is too hard to face anymore. Yet Truth says that the power of the Spirit within us gives us the strength to face each day. God reminds us in story after story in His word that He will never waste the pain we struggle through in this life, but He will turn it around for good somehow and use it to strengthen us and to help others.
“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10
4. “I’ve lost all hope. I can’t go on.” – The lie says all hope is gone. Life is seemingly over. But Truth says there is always hope. And though life, as we once knew it, may be changed, it is not over. For if we’re still living and breathing in this place, we can know God has a plan. Hope is never meant to be based on us, how good we are, or our circumstances. Hope is only based on God, His character, for He is the One who never fails. As we lift our eyes to look to Him, He will renew our hope and strength.
“Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.” Ps. 43:5
5. “I’m going to show them how much they hurt me. They’ll miss me more after I’m gone.” – This is a lie that gets twisted with painful reality. For though it’s true that one gone too soon from our lives and world will be greatly missed, the lie says that we’re somehow not loved enough while we’re still here. So we have to do something to “show everyone” how much they’re going to hurt when we leave, like “you’ll be sorry when I’m gone.” Don’t let revenge or anger cause you to make a lasting decision that will end your life. It’s never worth it. Truth reminds us that though people will always fail us in this life, God never will. We all struggle with weaknesses, we’ve all missed the mark at times. Yet Christ came to heal, forgive, redeem. He makes all things new.
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3
6. “I’ve messed everything up. My life is over anyway.” – The lie says we’ve blown it so badly, we might as well end it all. That we don’t deserve to live any longer and our mistakes have been too great to ever be forgiven. But Truth says nothing is too difficult for God. His reach is big, and even in our most desperate times, when we’ve fallen deep into a pit, we’re still not too far for His love, forgiveness, and grace to rescue us.
“He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm.” Ps. 40:2
7. “I’ll be remembered more in my death than in my life.” – This lie is warped thinking by somehow imagining that one can “make a name for themselves,” by actually ending their life instead of choosing to live it. Many times, this can also lead to a strong desire and sense of urgency to “take others out along with them,” trying to make their name newsworthy and to create a “legacy,” no matter how cruel and evil that legacy might be. Yet the Truth says that light is always greater than darkness. Evil will not win. The choice to live for what is right and godly is what will last forever.
“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4
It is a choice to walk in truth. It’s never dictated by how we feel or circumstances that surround, but by a decision we make every day. May God give us the power to choose wisely, to live strong, with renewed purpose and great courage, by the grace of Christ who sets us free.
“And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." John 8:32
Note - If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, please get help. Don’t try to face this on your own. There is hope and healing, and there are many who will journey through this trial with you. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time day or night 24/7, to talk to someone who understands. Or go online at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
for more information and help.