According to Suicide.org, over one million people die by suicide worldwide each year. On average, one person dies by suicide every 40 seconds somewhere in the world.
Global suicide rates have increased 60% in the past 45 years. As for the United States, 38, 518 were reported in 2011 (the most recent year for which data is available) by the American Suicide Prevention Foundation, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans. In that year, someone in the country died by suicide every 13.3 minutes.
What causes a person to come to the point of total despair and take his/her life? As I have pondered this in view of a well-known actor and a college president’s son recently committing suicide, the following thoughts have come to mind.
1. No matter what the situation or circumstance of life may be, you must begin with God. Genesis 1:1 has more to say than just referencing creation. When Scripture says, “In the beginning, God,” we are referred to the starting point and conclusion for all discussions, situations, circumstances, and answers of life. Since God is holy (Exodus 15:11; 1 Samuel 2:2; Isaiah 6:3), omniscient (Psalms 139:1-6; 147:5; Isaiah 40:28; 55:9), omnipresent (Job 34:21; Proverbs 15;3; Jeremiah 23:24) , and eternal (Exodus 3:13-14; Psalm 90:1-4; Revelation 1:8), He is the absolute perfect reference point for all of life. If I start with man or my own humanistic thoughts when trying to draw a conclusion, I will always come up with a faulty assumption because man is sinful, imperfect, limited in his knowledge and ever-learning, ubiquitous, and short-lived (Psalm 90:10; Proverbs 3; Romans 3:23; 5:12; Hebrews 9:27). How grateful to know that God is able to make all grace abound in every situation (2 Corinthians 9:8).
2. Never overestimate the condition of man’s heart. I have heard so many people say, “Just follow your heart” when a life-decision needs to be made. Why would you do that? Look at what God says about our heart:
The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9
Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. – Matthew 12:34
For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man, — Matthew 15:19, 20a
Since a man’s heart is deceitful, if he listens to his heart, then self-murder is a possible “escape” for the immense troubles of life. Our heart has been sinful since the fall of man. The only remedy is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ Who has done everything necessary to fulfill the righteousness of God and to cleanse us from sin (Isaiah 53; Romans 5:1-12).
Tomorrow, I’ll continue these thoughts. For the present, make sure God is always your Reference Point for all of life and do not listen to yourself, your heart. Instead, preach the Word to yourself. The Truth always sets you free (John 8:32).
For additional reading: Psalm 42