A word rarely spoken within the walls of the church, yet it is a topic we cannot afford to be silent about. Today as we recognize World Suicide Prevention Day, we will break that silence.
I don’t know where your mind goes when you hear the word suicide. I don’t know how familiar you are with the topic, how close or far from home this conversation hits. Wherever this conversation finds you, and whether you have personally been affected by suicide or not, it is imperative, as the Body of Christ, that the conversation on suicide and suicide prevention is not only a conversation we have, but something that matters deeply to us.
On average 800,000 people die by suicide each year, that is 1 person every 40 seconds, claiming more lives than war, murder, and natural disasters combined. Whether you are aware of it or not, someone in your life has been affected by suicide.
Suicide is an epidemic in our world today, and conversations just like this one can quite literally save lives. As Christians we recognize that we have a very real enemy, who prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking who he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). Our enemy works best in the face of our silence, therefore we refuse to be silent on this topic any longer. We will give no more ground to the enemy in our silence. I know this is not an easy conversation to have. I know it may be uncomfortable, but we cannot be silent any longer.
Suicide does not discriminate against who it affects, and it’s reach does not stop at the doors of the church.
There is a stigma within the Christian community that you are somehow less of a Christian if you struggle with your mental health. As if to say, if only you would have more faith, or if you would simply pray more, then you wouldn’t be so depressed, anxious, or experience your current affliction. But having a relationship with Jesus does not equate to the absence of hardship, heartache, struggle, and pain in this life. It means that we don’t have to go through the hardship, heartache, struggle, and pain alone.
You are not less of a Christian if you or someone you love have struggled with depression.
You are not less of a Christian if you or someone you love have struggled with anxiety.
You are not less of a Christian if you or someone you love have struggled with your mental health.
You are not less of a Christian if you or someone you love have struggled with suicide.
And God is not disappointed in you.
Here at the CWC we believe in the finished work of Jesus Christ on the Cross, defeating sin and death once and for all. We believe in the eternal hope we have been given because of the victory of Jesus, and this hope does not put us to shame (Romans 5:5). It is because of this great hope that we possess, we can boldly declare that life is worth living, even in the face of heartache and struggle. It is our sincere desire to see people realize that life is worth living, as we further our mission of leading people to become fully devoted, life-long followers of Jesus.
Our hope in Jesus dares us to believe that better days lie ahead, that our grief and sorrow do not get the final say, that darkness does not overcome the Light (John 1:5), and that we are never alone. Our hope in Jesus dares us to believe that our God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).
If you are hurting today, hold on. There is still hope for you. Hope is real, recovery is possible, and God is for you. You will never walk alone in your pain.
There are beautiful days that lie ahead that are worth sticking around for.
We’ll see you there.