The 5 Things We Need to Understand
1. The Scriptures
First, we must ground our learning process in the Word of God. Believe it or not, suicide is nothing new to our current culture. Did you know that there are over six accounts of suicide mentioned in Scripture between the Old and New Testament? The most well-known passage, found in Matthew 27:3-5, is the account of Judas Iscariot's death after betraying Christ.
Why is this significant? Because it validates the history of hopelessness experienced since the beginning of time.
Just look at David's psalms, Hannah’s prayer, Jeremiah’s Laments, and the Apostle Paul’s account of persecution, which led to him say he despaired of life itself (2 Corinthians 1:8). These men and women of God spoke honesty and vulnerably of the pain that gripped their hearts. Scripture invites us to recognize pain, suffering, and emotional distress as consequences of our broken state and Satan’s attacks.
We are indeed all in need of a hope that does not minimize nor stigmatizes our suffering. The message of the gospel is just that. Although often misused as a sugar-coated solution, Christ's hope does not negate pain but repurposes it for our gain. The gospel Christ preached recognizes shame, sin, pain, brokenness, and lovingly welcomes us into the healing process of Salvation.
In light of Scripture, we can begin to cultivate a new understanding of suicide, by way of suffering, and seek to hold fast to the unfading hope found in God’s eternal promise (1 Peter 1:2-7, Revelation 21:4-5).
2. The Stats
For many, suicide is a personal battle or a deep wound of loss, yet others would say they know little about suicide or its prevalence in our current culture. Why is it important to understand the statistics surround suicide and suicidality? Because our awareness of a problem prompts our responsibility to address it.
Do you know where suicide ranks on the leading cause of death report?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in 2018, suicide ranked as the tenth leading cause of death in the United States, claiming the lives of over 48,000 people.
Within this significant number, suicide was the second leading cause of death among the ages of 10 and 34 and the fourth leading cause of death among individuals between the ages of 35 and 54 (CDC, 2018).
Even more astounding, research states that 1.2 million people attempted suicide in 2018; that is one attempt every 26 seconds (American Association of Suicidology, 2020).
By knowing this reality, our response is likely to change when a friend stops reaching out or when a family member begins to isolate themselves. Our awareness of the likelihood of suicide is what will prompt deep conversations and support our efforts in loving those around us.
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