“What a lot of people don’t understand is that a person contemplating suicide is in overwhelming emotional pain and they think very differently than people who are rational. Suicide seems like the best way out or the best way to fight for your survival. They think, maybe my afterlife will be better.” John Draper, director of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, as quoted in an article by Kirsten Powers, for USA TODAY and is an analyst for CNN.
Now, I am not a professional psychiatrist, and probably the last thing we need right now is another article about suicide.
But I was struck by something deeper in her article.
She said: "In an interview this year, the comedian and actor Jim Carrey talked about 'getting to the place where you have everything everybody has ever desired and realizing you are still unhappy.' If only we get that big raise, or a new house, or have children … we will finally be happy. But we won’t. In fact, as Carrey points out, in many ways achieving all your goals provides the opposite of fulfillment: It lays bare the truth that there is nothing you can purchase, possess, or achieve that will make you feel fulfilled over the long term."
Pretty amazing insight.
She goes on to say: "We should acknowledge that something is very wrong. We should stop telling people who yearn for a deeper meaning in life that they have an illness or need therapy. Instead, we need to help people craft lives that are more meaningful and built on a firmer foundation than personal success. Yes, there are people who have chemical imbalances who should be supported and treated with medicine. But most Americans are depressed, anxious, or suicidal because something is wrong with our culture, not because something is wrong with them...We exist largely disconnected from our extended families, friends and communities — except in the shallow interactions of social media — because we are too busy trying to “make it” without realizing that once we reach that goal, it won’t be enough."
It sure sounds to me like Ms. Powers has been reading the Bible, doesn't it? Because this is precisely what Jesus says. In Luke 9:25, He said: "For what does it profit a man (or woman) if he gains the whole world and loses himself?"
Instead, Jesus offers us another way to live (Matt 16:25): "Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it."
At first glance, Jesus' words here may seem contradictory--but they're not. Jesus is simply telling us that, in order to be truly fulfilled in life, we must have a transcendent reason for living and getting up in the morning. And that reason is to serve and live for Him, the eternal God of the universe, and not for ourselves.
Now please don't get me wrong. When someone says that they are depressed, it is imperative that we take them seriously. And if it turns out to be more than just a passing "bad day", then we must get them to a qualified physician who can consider treatment options including therapy and/or medicine. And we must understand that our personal friendship and unrelenting support are key factors in helping that person in addition to any medical treatments.
But what I am trying to say is that treatment options and personal support will have their most successful outcomes for people who have an all-consuming commitment to the Living Christ as the foundation, focus, and defining purpose for their lives.
"Whoever loses his life for My sake will find it." I hope you have done this and if not, you can know Jesus in a real and personal way today!