The Answer to Life's Problems?
We hear about this subject almost every day in our lives. We may know of people who tried to commit suicide and failed; we know of some who tried and were successful. We may know of some in our family who has tried to take his life. We may even hear some of our friends or family talk about committing suicide.
Since 1960, the suicide rate is up 200% in our country. Suicide is the second greatest killer among teen-agers. TeenAge Magazine surveyed 1,022 13-19-year-olds to find out the reasons behind teenage depression that leads to suicide. School and environment ranked first with 76%; followed by girlfriend/boyfriend relations with 54%; family conflicts with 44%; friendships with 43%; and appearance with 40% responding that this caused their depression (the percentages do not add up to 100% because most all cited more than one reason for their depression). It seems that for many young people depression originates in the home, with 70% of teenage suicides coming from broken homes. Dr. Jeff Ezell says that "what these kids almost always suffer from is alack of self-esteem" (C. Titus Edwards, Guardian of Truth, February 7, 1985, 77).
Even adults commit suicide. Most of the problems are a result of depression that led them to take their life. They may be depressed be-cause of family problems at home, job or lack of one, feeling of unimportance to people, frustration ... etc. All of these can lead one to contemplate this action and executing it on themselves.
The media play a powerful role in planting the seed. A good many singers today believe that the cure for depression is suicide. Their lyrics are full of words that center around that theme. Anyone listening intensively may begin to think about this and eventually commit suicide. John McCollum, a 19 year old, committed suicide in 1985 after listening to Ozzy Osbourn's song, "Suicide Solution." Two teenage girls in 1987 committed suicide after listening to Metallica's "Fade To Black." An estimated 600,000 teenagers attempt suicide annually and 5,000 succeed. Approximately 14 teenagers kill themselves every day.
We've seen the terrible statistics and we've heard about this problem every day, but we need to focus on what the Bible says about this subject.
The word suicide is never used in the Bible, but there are things revealed from God that show that suicide is wrong. Suicide is self-murder (Rom. 13:9).
In the beginning of creation, God made a special creation man. He made man after his image (Gen. 1:27). The Scripture says, "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul" (Gen. 2:7). God was displeased when Cain took his brother Abel's life (Gen. 4:8-12). It was God who said in Genesis 9:6, "Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." That principle still applies today, whether the murderer is an enemy, friend, or self. God hates murder, God hates the taking of a life that he created. Brethren, doesn't God have the right to instruct us how to live Suicide .. . our life and to take care of it and not kill it? He certainly does.
Suicide stems from a lack of self control, which we are to maintain. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 9:27, "But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection (i.e. in control, emphasis mine REN): lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway." There are many who lack self-control today. I am not naive to think that there are not Christians who have tried to commit suicide. We are to be temperate and we are to add that to knowledge (2 Pet. 1:6). We are to grow in the grace of Jesus Christ (2 Pet. 3:18).
What a terrible day it was when the Philistines defeated Israel. Saul was king and was defeated that day. His three sons were killed in battle and he was wounded, he re-quested that his armour bearer thrust the sword into him lest he be killed by the uncircumcised Philistines. His armour bearer would not, so Saul fell upon his own sword and his armour bearer did the same thing (1 Sam. 31:1-6). Saul thought the answer to his defeat was suicide, but it only created problems for him in eternity.
In the New Testament, when Paul and Silas were in prison for preaching the truth, a great earthquake shook the jail while they were singing and the doors were opened. The jailor, thinking that all the prisoners had escaped, drew out his word and would have killed himself, but Paul kept him from doing that by teaching him of Jesus (Acts 16:25-33). He turned this man's despair into joy. He gave him a reason for living and meaning to his life.
Brethren and friends, Jesus Christ is the answer to life's problems. First, you are somebody; you are important to God. God loves you! Don't feel depressed, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me" (Phil. 4:13). Second, don't try to run away from life's problems by committing suicide; rather, take responsibility and face the problem. Everybody faces problems, it is how we handle them that is important. Paul said, "Every man shall bear his own burden" (Gal. 6:5). Look for positive things when there are problems, find good in everything. Third, don't worry about things beyond our control (Matt. 6:31-34). Worrying doesn't do any good. Learn to live with things the way they are everyone has to. Love yourself and who you are. Fourth, be cheerful and enjoy life (Eccl. 9:7-10; 1 Pet. 3:10-11). God wants us to. Fifth, never lose hope (Ps. 16:9).
God is on our side and will help anyone. Paul said in Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose." God wants you to live your life for him, to do him service. The things of this life are not as important as going to heaven to live with God for eternity. As William J. Gaither said in his song, "Because I know he holds the future, And life is worth the living, just because He lives." Suicide is not the answer, but Jesus Christ is!
Guardian of Truth XXXVIII: 4, p. 1