Monday, September 9, 2013

Suicidal Thoughts - Newest Question

Is it a sin to have suicidal thoughts even though you can't help it?

Anyone who has ever spent any amount of time with me will testify that I am not one who gets very emotional.  This, of course, is not necessarily true, I just keep my emotion responses strongly disciplined.  But when it comes to suicide, my heart breaks.  This is a great question and I thank you, the questioner, for having the bravery to ask.


First we will discuss the suicidal thoughts, then we will discuss whether or not there is help.

There is no sin in being tempted.  Temptation itself is never sin.  It's the response to the temptation that determines the difference between a righteous response and a sinful one.

1Co 10:12  Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall. 13  No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it. 

Jas 1:13  Let no one say when he is tempted, "I am tempted by God"; for God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt anyone. 14  But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. 

The same is for emotions ... emotions are simply a hormonal response to external stimuli.  It's always the response to feeling an emotion that determines whether a thought is sinful or not.

Therefore it is vitally important that we all understand how to reign in on our thoughts and to put away the harmful ones ... the ones that are not of God

2Co 10:3  For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4  For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5  casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ... 

We must recognize the importance of remaining diligent in Christ ... not for Him, but in Him.  All around us is a world that draws on us ... and the drawing itself is not sin.  But once we begin to react to that drawing, we find ourselves at a fork.  Mistakes will be made.  Many times what we feel ourselves compelled to do we hate ... but it still for some reason magnetizes us.  It is only by remaining in Jesus that we can rise above "the sin that so easily ensnares us." (Hebrews 12:1)

Rom 7:22  For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23  But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 

For a person to commit suicide,that person must first convince him or herself the lie that the people that love him (or her) would be better off without that person.  The motivations for a person committing suicide vary greatly.  But for the person who struggles with no reason, that person can find extreme difficulty defeating this enemy because there is no itch to scratch.  So what does one do?

Well, first, seek God.  Lay this all before Him.  Consistently give it to Him (though it may be many times a day for what seems like every day).  He does not tire of us.

1Pe 5:6  Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, 7  casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you. 8  Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. 9  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. 

Second, get people involved.  Suicide is a diseased thought that attacks in secret.  The idea that by keeping our battle against suicidal thoughts a secret we will somehow defeat them is gravely flawed.  I have mentioned this before in previous posts but should a man battling a gambling addiction go to a casino, or a person battling lust go to a strip club?  We would call that person foolish.  But it's the same thing as battling suicide in secret ... that's where it grows.  By exposing suicidal thoughts and bringing light into our most protected rooms, we actually align ourselves into position to receive Godly deliverance!

1Pe 5:5  Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another, and be clothed with humility, for "GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE." 

Jas 5:13  Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing psalms. 14  Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. 15  And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. 16  Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The effective, fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much. 

It is important here to bring to mind that we should only expose our weaknesses, failures, and strongholds to believers that can actually help us.  I always recommend against sharing any of that type of information with a peer.  People in the same boat have no idea what is coming up stream.  The same for people who are struggling with the same weaknesses.  While I am an avid supporter of support groups, the group should always be led by someone who is walking in victory.  The blind can't lead the blind, nor should the bleeding mend the wounded.

There is also the risk of being publicly exposed.  This is true.  The person who leaks that confidentiality will have to answer for it.  But we will be free ... no more blackmail from the enemy.  And if we think about it, if we were to actually commit suicide, it would be publicly exposed ... usually always is for regular people.

Finally, once we have found victory (through Christ) in an area which once kept us in bondage, we need to stay strong in our efforts to walk in that victory.  We should also be looking for opportunities to minister to others who are battling the things we now have victory over.

2Co 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4  who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 5  For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also abounds through Christ. 

So to answer the question, it is not a sin to be tempted with suicide but you CAN help it.  If you are dealing with suicide I strongly encourage you to get public...find a church that has a suicide prevention ministry.  Find a person or small group that you can be open and honest with.  They are all around.  Strengthen yourself in Christ.  If He is for you, nothing can prevail against you (Rom 8:31) ... no weapon, even suicide that comes against you can prosper (Is 54:17).  Remember, our most dangerous battles, the things that hurt us the most, are not against the things we can touch (Eph 6:12).

Please don't continue in silence after reading all of this. I promise you that there is healing and even if it may take awhile, the grace of God is strong enough to counter, cleanse, and carry our greatest weaknesses (2 Cor 12:7-9

We hosted a live episode some time back concerning suicide.  Here's the link:
http://patrickhazard.com/cath/CATH-episode12-schooldayblues.mp3

Below are some additional resources for suicide prevention and counteraction.  Please don't fight this alone. Please think of the life-long pain you will inflict on those who find you.  Please remember that moments pass. Please remember that you are discounting the love of so many because of an issue with one.  Please think of the people in your future that will love you for you that you have yet to meet.  Please realize that the people that cause you pain in your life today, even if they are you family and have drug you through the worst of atrocities, will not be there in your future.  Your life is worth preserving!

That's my take anyways!

QUESTIONS??
Don't be confused.  LEARN STUFF!!!
Email your questions to askthehaz@gmail.com
Ask your question, go to http://www.patrickhazard.com/ask-the-haz.html and fill in the question box!!!
Live episodes coming soon!!! Send in your question and we will answer it!!

Here is a list of resources concerning help with suicide:

Links for information:
www.family.org – Focus on the Family – a resource I absolutely respect


www.apa.org – American Psychological Association


www.psych.org – American Psychiatrist Association


www.cdc.gov – Center for Disease Control


www.aacc.net – American Association of Christian Counselors


www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org – National Suicide Prevention Lifeline - With Help Comes Hope


1-800-273-TALK (8255): Suicide hotline, 24/ 7 free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers.



www.suicidehotlines.com – A complete listing of suicide hotlines



15 comments:

  1. I agree with everything said in this post.

    I spent several years dealing with postpartum depression. Finally, a year after my 4th child was born, it was brought to my attention that I probably had clinical depression instead of PPD.

    The year before I went on medication was SO HARD. I heard and believed the voices in my head that said my husband and kids didn't need me. I believed that my kids didn't love me, and that my husband would recover if I killed myself. Daily...hourly, I was plagued with thoughts of worthlessness. I remember one day...I sat in a chair for 30 minutes trying to work up the energy to put socks on. Josh came in the room, knelt in front of me, looked in my face and asked me what was up and told me he loved me. The tears poured as I spilled my guts emptying myself of the lies I was believing.

    I had been talking to my friends, so they knew what was up. Josh mostly knew what was going on, but I guess I had never verbalized the anguish in my heart. I desperately wanted to stop suffering. Fear of facing God was the one thing that kept me from pursuing death. Boy, am I thankful my hurt never overcame my fear of facing God.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Me too Rebekah. Thank you for sharing your testimony. No matter what plans the enemy has to destroy us, I am grateful that we serve the Living God who doesn't forsake us ... who's with us even when we feel abandoned and lunch accusations against Him.

    If I recall, and I do, we did a post sometime back about depression, I shall find the link and put it on here. Seems it would connect very well.

    Thank you for your transparency in your comment!

    ReplyDelete
  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This time I'll link it, forgot to on the last one (so I deleted it!).

    As promised...

    http://chrisasksthehaz.blogspot.com/2012/03/suicide-and-court-of-public-opinion_31.html

    Well ..it seems I have no option to link it ... just copy and paste in the browser/search bar and it should take you there!

    ReplyDelete
  5. It is crucial that we, as a society, do not dismiss ANY signs of suicidal thoughts displayed through another person. During a previous school year a student of mine (upper elem) casually walked up to me during class and handed me a small piece of paper. He said, "Read this." and then walked back to his seat. The paper was titled, "Reasons that I am sad". The list was somewhat lengthy on this condensed piece of paper. It also included painful words that were said to him in previous years. Needless to say, he was hospitalized by that evening due to the quick response to his call for help. This child had devised a plan and had intentions of carrying out the plan, which would have led to an entirely different response to this post. It is literally vital to take every call out for help seriously because it can make the difference between life and death.

    ReplyDelete
  6. It's not just crucial, it's the law for any type of caregiver, educator, medical provider etc. The person may beg you not to tell but the nature of the illness is to remain in secret. I had a friend commit suicide in high school. I knew she was not thinking well .. I asked her if she was thinking of doing anything stupid... she told me no, that she would never do that. She went home and shot herself. I never told her parents ... don't know that it would have been received well ... but at least there would be no regret or questions unanswered.

    I'm very glad you did the right thing ... I can see you are too?

    I am curious though, did you have any negative consequences at first from peers, associates, or their family?

    ReplyDelete
  7. No, there wasn't any negative reaction from anyone connected, just gratitude. However it did open up a time for deep reflection on the entire situation. For a while, until he was released from the hospital, there were many flashbacks in my mind. I would think of instances where, knowing what I know now, I should have understood the 'signs'. But it's difficult to distingush between depression and a student just trying to get out of class work. It has made me become more aware of the people that surround me, especially children and teens. I now find myself asking my own children more times than before, questions if they appear the least bit anxious or upset.

    Overall I am thankful each day that immediate action was taken for this student. I am pleased to report that he is a very happy camper these days and has realized his self worth and how meaningful he really is to others.

    ReplyDelete
  8. The perks of a job well done ... love for people will always at some point demand intrusion ... it's neither easy or comfortable for all involved, but the rewards are immeasurable.

    Thank you again for your comments, Anonymous.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is such a needed topic. I don't have one on my site yet, need to - but I think every blogger should touch on this and offer up links such as you did for help.

    so many feel alone - worthless - and these feelings that will change with the seasons, cause them to do something that is horribly permanent.

    I'm thankful rebekah shared her story - so that she will help others who are struggling.

    I also wanted to remind others of the great prophet Elijah -

    we know how he stood ALONE facing 800 false prophet, called down fire from heaven, prayed and the rain stopped, prayed again and it started back. and i could go on and on... but this mighty man of God suffered from depression and had thoughts of dying. (see 1 kings 19:4)

    This is such an isolating issue - shame and guilt eat at our hearts and we (especially Christians) think that how could we even "think" of ending things...and figure we must be worse off than we feared.

    Remember - God loves you right where you are, and KNOWs right where you are when those thoughts are running through your heart.

    Get help - see professional help.

    After my father died, I spent 2 years in a deep depression. finally throwing my heart into helping others with literally anything AND some prescribed medicine - AND covering my heart daily with God's promises...i began to come out of it. i hardly remember those 2 years at all.

    don't feel alone, don't feel bad - remember Elijah - He never actually died :) God is sooo good like that.

    thanks for this post!! I wanted to make sure to share it with my followers on twitter - but also so that i would remember to come back and comment.

    not sure how you feel about links to others sites, - but recently i published a quick "go to" list of 52 Promises from Gods Word. not at all inclusive, but a quick list.

    http://www.spreading-joy.org/site/godpromised/

    Thanks for all you do!

    @spreadingJOY

    ReplyDelete
  10. First, I have to tell you, as far as using my site to post a link to your material ... that's exactly what my vision for both of the websites I operate is! I desire to provide as many resources as I can to anyone who stops in from as many sources as possible.

    I don't allow advertising for profit on my site bc I don't want to distract the readers from getting quickly what they need ... not that those that do are wrong, but for me, it is part of what I envisioned when I started into resource ministries years ago. I leave that room for other ministers out there to let people be aware of what is available to them...so thank you for that.

    I also wish to thank you for your comments, I encourage them as well. Along with offering resources available, I also desire to offer the reader with as many view points as possible , even those that may disagree, in order to allow the reader a appropriate amount of information in order to be able to make a balanced decision. Offering different opinions also helps in maturing the believers to disassociate respect with agreement ... that we can respect and honor the different perspectives and experiences that cause us to see things differently. Thank you again for your comments.

    As a pastor, suicide has been a very real problem throughout my tenure. Most people see it as a teen issue so it is left to the youth pastors. But in reality, it is an issue that needs to be addressed along the spectrum, but obviously at mid life and in old age.

    As a teacher, we are expected to attend workshops and training every year in order to stay on top of the warning signs. Truth is .. most teens consider it at some point. We must address it. As a math teacher it can be difficult to understand how that can fit into my curriculum. I don't force it .. it falls under teaching across the curriculum. I bring it up every couple of months.

    I look forward to future comments!

    ReplyDelete
  11. I wish to address your comments concerning the shame and guilt associated with depression and suicide (depression is almost always linked to suicide). In Christendom we have cast off depression as a weak man's disease ... that one should just rise up, speak against it, and get over themselves. It is a mainstream thought in most of the church. Until recently, to be a Christian psychologist was 3 steps worse that being a Christian evolutionist.

    It is a lack of education in the study of the human mind that has opened this mess and solidified its existence. The truth is that, even though most people will deal with mild depression (and for certain stages and events it is actually healthy), only a small percentage of the population will ever experience moderate to severe depression.

    Mild depression is usually 'willed' out of by the person choosing to focus thoughts else where through distraction or socialization. Mild depression is not detectable in blood tests or any other method ... it is very subjective.

    Moderate to sever depression however are often ... usually ... almost always linked to physiological symptoms... blood pressure, hormonal imbalance(s), chemistry levels, eye issues, RIM sleep deprivation, etc ...

    "The body cries the tears the eyes refuse to shed." Dr. Nick Eno

    It is a shame that the association designed to be the safest place on earth for the poor, sick, naked, and wretched has become one of the most hostile, unforgiving, impatient, unloving places a person suffering with an illness unseen can go ... the church in large part has earned its current reputation.

    But even as in the days of Elijah when he felt there was none left but him, God reassured him saying that He had reserved 7000 others who had not bent their knee to Bail (1 King 19:18). There are many church bodies today who are reaching out to those whose afflictions cannot be treated with splints and band-aids by opening counseling ministries and staffing them with trained and credentialed counselors and therapists. Still others, who cannot afford to open the counseling centers, have opened their hearts to those afflicted and not just written them off as being selfish or demonically oppressed.

    You said it well when you encouraged those suffering with depression to seek professional help. The brain is a very complicated organ ... the most complicated of the body. You wouldn't seek out a prayer partner to determine the issues of your heart ... why do we do it with the brain. There are plenty of Christian psychologists, counselors, and therapists out there, I am one of them. We are every where. Call local churches and ask ... keep calling until you find a counseling ministry staffed with certified or licensed staff.

    We are loved by a perfect Father, redeemed by a perfect Savior, and comforted by a perfect Counselor ... don't disqualify yourself from the only source of strength and joy and healing that longs to finish His work in you.

    ReplyDelete
  12. REM sleep, not RIM sleep ... dork! (Rapid Eye Movement)

    ReplyDelete
  13. At the moment you feel all alone & the world seems too dark to go on, ask yourself is it worth living in Hell forever? Share your emotions with someone that can rebuild your self esteem. God created each person for a purpose which means that you have a purpose & you have to search for what God wants in your life.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's right, bc when it's done, it's done. There is a lot of debate, and good debate that shall forever continue on whether suicide is a guaranteed ticket to hell, but one thing for certain is that whatever the decision made concerning Christ, it is forever final at that point.

      "Share your emotions with someone that can rebuild your self esteem"

      Sometimes we turn to the worst of sources in the worst of times, bc they will have pity on us feeding the disease ... instead we should turn to those who can help us find renewal ... ultimately always leading us back to Christ.

      Doctors interventions are usually always painful at first, bc the wounds must be cut open and the foreign objects removed or the damage repaired .. then the wounds must heal ... then we have to learn how to use the repaired member properly. All of this is usually uncomfortable and sometimes painful.

      But the end product ... is a a beautiful thing. In the most beautiful of your dreams and imaginations, you are always alive...

      Delete
  14. FYI, this is from KNG's Youtube ministry ... it's a song sung acapella and hits the nail on the head ... I strongly recommend it!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX6EdcgbCqU

    ReplyDelete