In this blog, we will be looking at what the Bible says about suicide and how we can pray for those who have been affected by the loss of a loved one. We will also consider how we can help those around us who may be dealing with suicidal thoughts.
Suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States and in 2020, 46,000 people died by suicide; that is one every 11 minutes. Every suicide is a tragedy but suicide is never inevitable.
The right strategies can help
Certain things can bring increased risk, such as having lived with domestic or child abuse, but having a good support network and access to mental health support decreases this risk.
The good news is that suicide is preventable with the right strategies in place. Some of those strategies can be having an action plan in place for when you have suicidal thoughts, having a good support network and accessing professional support.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, call or text 988 across the United States. This takes you to the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline which you can also access online here.
What does the Bible say about suicide?
As Christians, we are assured that we are born with a purpose, that we are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God has a plan for our lives. This is not to say that mental health problems will not affect us, but that we can be assured God has a vision of hope for our lives.
If you feel that you are facing insurmountable problems today, try to remember that you will not always feel this way. There is a way out. Whatever situation you are in, God is a God of second chances.
Remember Moses at the Red Sea in Exodus 14? He thought there was no way out, but God made one, through an impossibility: the sea opening up before him.
Even though the Bible contains examples of people committing suicide, we know it is never in God’s plan. The scriptures invite us to trust God in all circumstances, even in times of despair and hopelessness. King David, who had his own battles with grief and depression, acknowledges in Psalm 31:15, “My times are in your hands”.
Turn to hope
When we are experiencing suicidal thoughts, we can turn to God, who is the God of all comfort, to lift us out of our pit of despair.
“Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me.” Psalm 23:4
“I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14
“I waited patiently for the Lord;
He turned to me and heard my cry.
He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
He set my feet on a rock.” Psalm 40:1-3
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles..for just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-5)
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.” Isaiah 40:28-31
What can you do if you are having suicidal thoughts?
How can we support family and friends who are having suicidal thoughts?
If a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts, it can be hard to know how to support them, but we can listen to their concerns and offer support in practical ways. We can help them to focus on the foundational values of having good mental health: exercise, eating well, sleeping well, spending quality time with loved ones, spending time in nature, learning new skills and being present in the moment.
Bethe1to.com is a really useful website with a guide to how you can help as a friend or family member of someone who is having suicidal thoughts.
How can we support those affected by suicide?
Suicide leaves grief and confusion in its wake. There are many unanswered questions from family and friends who perhaps did not see it coming or who were trying to support as best they could and still lost their loved one.
We can support those affected by being there for them. We can help in practical ways, for example doing the grocery shopping for them and in emotional ways, by being available to listen to their thoughts. Helpguide.org offers a useful guide to coping with a loved one’s suicide.
Struggling with mental health
Finally, if you are struggling with your mental health as a Christian, then remember those wonderful promises from the verses above. Remember that you are a dearly loved child of God and that He has a good plan for your life. And be sure to reach out to qualified professionals for the help that you need.
A prayer for times of distress
Heavenly Father, I lift up my life to You now. Fill me with Your peace that passes all understanding, that I may gain a heavenly perspective of my life. Father, thank You that I am a dearly beloved child of God. May I carry the knowledge of this through each and every day of my life. Father, fill me to overflowing with Your peace, love, and Your joy. I throw all my cares upon You, Lord, and ask that You would carry me through this difficult time.
Be sure to check out Glorify App for more blogs about mental health.