Disclaimer: This is a very sensitive issue, but something I felt compelled to talk about in light of the recent events of a California pastor who committed suicide last month. (I am not going to highlight the article simply because I do not want to give the enemy any glory for what was shared.)
A few years ago, I wrote about getting in the ring with the enemy. Although, I am not a fighter at all (I typically try to avoid confrontation), lately, I feel like a fighter spirit has risen up in me as it relates to exposing the works of the enemy. Not only am I exposing him and his lies today, but my hope is to encourage others in the Christian community to pray, pray and pray some more. There is so much we can be doing even while we are waiting.
Don’t participate in the fruitless works of darkness, but instead expose them.Ephesians 5:11, HCSB
When my friend shared the heartbreaking news about the pastor with me about a month ago, I went through a myriad of emotions, from shock, sadness, confusion, frustration, and eventually anger. My heart breaks for this family and community who is now mourning the loss of a pastor, husband, father of two children, mental health advocate, loved one and friend. He ended his life at the beginning of what is known in the U.S. as National Suicide Prevention week, which is not coincidental. The enemy is trying to make a mockery of God’s people and frankly, I am sick of and disgusted by it.
Let me first define what suicide, suicide attempt and suicidal ideation are, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH):
- Suicide: death caused by self-directed injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior.
- Suicide attempt: a non-fatal, self-directed, potentially injurious behavior with intent to die as a result of the behavior. A suicide attempt might not result in injury.
- Suicidal ideation: thinking about, considering, or planning suicide.
I was alarmed and disheartened by the stats of this epidemic in the U.S. According to NIMH, it is the second leading cause of death among those who are between the ages of 10-34. Lest we dismiss this as just a problem in the U.S., the World Health Organization (WHO), also reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death across the world among those ages 15-29. Not surprisingly, he fell right in with that first age group, at just 30 years old.
There were so many lies interwoven in posts and messages circulating on social media after the news broke– lies originating from the enemy since he is the father of lies (John 8:44). Below are 3 that I want to expose here.
1. Those who commit suicide are complete and finally free.
I happened to be sitting in a webinar at work about suicide in adolescents when I came across the above quote, not coincidentally the same week I learned about the pastor’s suicide.
Truth: Only Jesus makes us complete and finally free, when we have accepted Him as our Lord and Savior, not suicide.
Only God knows what happens in those final moments before he, or anyone who takes their own life and is taking their last breath on earth, i.e. whether they have repented or not. Therefore, only God knows if that person is truly in the arms of the Jesus.
Colossians 2:10 says we are only made complete through our union with Christ. Ephesians 1:23 tells us that the church, which is Christ’s body, is made full and complete by Him, when we are filled with Him.
2. Knowing the truth of Jesus automatically means you will be with Him in eternity.
Truth: There are many who know the truth of Jesus, but that doesn’t mean that they have a place in eternity with Him.
We often like to quote the scripture in John 8:32, that knowing the truth will make one free. Yet, we tend to forget or ignore what Jesus said prior to this verse, speaking specifically to believers.
Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.John 8:31, NKJV
We are called to abide in God’s Word once we have believed in Him. There is an if…then statement here that we can’t ignore. We won’t know the truth, which is Jesus Himself (John 14:6), and thus, we won’t be free, until we have first believed in Him, and thus begin to abide in His Word. Christ identifies those who believe and abide in His Word as His disciples, i.e. those who follow Him. It is for this reason that Paul said in Colossians 2:6, “And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him.“
3. Loving Jesus does not always cure suicidal thoughts, anxiety, depression, anxiety and PTSD.
Truth: Loving Jesus and thus, doing what He says (John 14:15), i.e. taking those thoughts captive and pulling down strongholds, arguments and every lofty opinion that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:3-5) does.
Every thought that is against the Word of God should be rejected as a lie. However, we won’t know if these thoughts are lies unless we are in His Word, the only absolute source of Truth and the tool for which we measure everything against. Every time we reject the truth, we open up an area for the enemy to take us captive to do his will, including taking our own life.
Gently instruct those who oppose the truth. Perhaps God will change those people’s hearts, and they will learn the truth. Then they will come to their senses and escape from the devil’s trap. For they have been held captive by him to do whatever he wants.2 timothy 2:25-26, nlt
I am huge proponent of therapy and resources to aid in addressing mental health struggles, provided it is grounded in Biblical truth and sound doctrine. At the end of the day, Jesus and the Word of God are the only things that can bring transformative healing. And yet, God is very clear that He does not want us to do life alone, but in community, with others. Some of the traumas that people have experienced need the help of a licensed professional in order to help them unpack and walk through it, and speak truth into their lives. Yet, we do others a disservice when we merely address the thoughts and behaviors alone, without also dealing with the issues of one’s soul (heart), where things originate (Proverbs 4:23, Matthew 15:19). Only Jesus Christ can transform hearts and address things at the root. Therefore, we cannot leave Him out of the process.
I have been very transparent about my struggle with depression in the past and in my recent book. It is important in our daily lives to share with others both our victories and our struggles. We must be careful, however, to always filter it through what the Word of God says, so that we are not deceived and we are not deceiving others. Jesus is our only Hope. If we have gotten to a place where we feel as if taking our own life is the only solution or relief, even in our darkest moments, rather than Christ, His death is in vain. Taking one’s life is NEVER the answer.
Today is a day known to many as Halloween, which originated from the Celtics, and was a festival where people would light fires and dress up in costumes to ward off ghosts. It was believed that during this transition, since the Celts celebrated their new year on November 1, that on that night before the new year, the boundary between the physical world and the spirit world became blurred and oftentimes the souls of the dead came back to earth. I mention Halloween because this is also a day where hell is relentless in claiming others as its new home.
May we be on guard, prayerful, watchful, sober and alert to the kingdom of darkness. Pray for our children, this world, for the body of Christ and those who are hurting, feeling hopeless and have been held captive by the enemy. May our prayers rise to the God of heaven who desires to claim those who are still lost as His own. Expose the enemy today and let’s bombard heaven with our prayers.
If you or someone you know has had thoughts of suicide, is considering it, feels hopeless, or believes that suicide is the answer, I am here to tell you that it is NOT. Your life is purposeful and was worth the life and precious blood of Jesus who died so that you could live both now abundantly and eternally with Him. Reach out to someone, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can pray for you and/or call this number below. Choose to live one more day. I promise it will get better.
1-800-273-8255 (TALK) or click this link.
Scripture references: The Holy Bible (NLT, The Message, HCSB, NKJV)
References: National Institute of Mental Health, World Health Organization
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