Let's Talk About Suicide and The Cross

By Rev. Joel S. Eden, Associate Pastor

What does the cross of Jesus Christ have to do with suicide and those who suffer from deep depression, anxiety, and dis-ease on a daily basis? Simply put it has everything to do with it. This was the focus of a conversation recently held at Christ Our Savior for youth and adults titled “Let’s Talk about Suicide and the Cross”.

Statistics and personal stories alike demonstrate both the prominence and tragedy of suicide in the United States, but few people talk about it freely and openly because of the pain and loss associated with it. We wanted to break through the fear of talking about it and were pleased with the number of adults and youth who wanted to be part of the conversation, too. Our Sr. High youth were actually the ones who picked this topic for our first “Let’s Talk about…” conversation. Many of the youth and adults in our congregation have been directly impacted by the suicide of a loved one in their life.

We need not fear talking about suicide, though. In fact, one myth that is often promoted is that if you talk about suicide with people who are depressed (or with anyone at all), this will get them to consider it themselves when they would have never considered it otherwise. On the contrary, not talking about suicide with those who are at risk leaves them isolated from voices of compassion and love—voices of concern and truth that they desperately need to hear.

The cross of Jesus Christ brings hope in the midst of “dis-ease”. Dis-ease of the body, mind, and even spirit can be debilitating and crushing to experience, but the cross of Jesus reminds us that there is hope beyond the dis-ease of this life. As we discussed in my family’s morning devotions today, if Jesus had left the cross like he was demanded to do by his haters, he would have proved one thing (that he really was God) but he would not have had the opportunity to overcome death and the grave like he did when he rose again from the dead! By staying on the cross, Jesus paid for all our sinfulness and won eternal life for us that will be free from the dis-eases of this life.

"By staying on the cross, Jesus paid for all our sinfulness and won eternal life for us that will be free from the dis-eases of this life."

Suicide is never God’s will. Suicide is never the answer. Suicide is never reversible. But suicide can be prevented.

A few important short-term strategies include: 
  • always sharing someone’s plans to kill themselves with someone else—never keep it a secret 
  • removing access to lethal tools of suicide such as guns, drugs, etc. 
  • always acknowledging that a person’s dis-ease is legitimate
  • simply talking and praying with the person who is contemplating suicide.

Long-term strategies for helping prevent suicide include: 
  • maintaining healthy social connections and relationships, particularly with those who will guide you to Jesus in your daily walk 
  • prioritizing healthy family time
  • finding or becoming a mentor 
  • becoming anchored in the Word of God and a community of believers that you regularly meet with.

"Suicide is never God’s will. Suicide is never the answer. Suicide is never reversible. But suicide can be prevented."

In the midst of dis-ease of any kind, we need hope—hope that changes our perspective and brings life and light in the midst of darkness. Ask any youth or parent of an adolescent or teen and you will hear about how many kids are simply lacking hope these days. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins that brings with it hope to last for all eternity.

"Through faith in Jesus Christ, we have the forgiveness of sins that brings with it hope to last for all eternity. "

When you know the outcome of the war, you fight each daily battle against dis-ease differently. The war against dis-ease has been won; it will not last forever. With the Spirit of God alive in us, we are reminded daily of this victory that is ours through faith and we wield the weapons of faith against the powers of darkness around us!

When our sin weighs us down and seeks to lead us to despair, we say, “Look at the cross where my Savior died and my sins were forgiven!” When the big tragedies of life ambush us or the daily stresses gradually build a prison cell around us, we say, “I was set free in the waters of baptism by the same God who watched His Son die on the cross!”

We continuously remind each other that the cross of Jesus Christ absolutely has everything to do with suicide.
A recent NPR news story on mental health in construction of course does not talk about Jesus and the cross. It does however, highlight the benefit of talking openly about feelings and stresses and mental health with co-workers and in the workplace. Jesus has put us in relationships. He wants a personal relationship with us.  He never intended us to walk this life in seclusion and He wants us to support and point each other to Him in our joys and struggles.

Related Posts