We’ve all have heard of someone killing themselves or trying to, some succeed, some don’t I don’t know which is worse. This morning I woke up to sad news of a young girl who decided to end her life by jumping of a brigde.How sad is that, suicide occurs among Christians at essentially the same rate as non-Christians. What is suicide?
The term “suicide” is traced in the Oxford English Dictionary to 1651; its first occurrence is apparently in Sir Thomas Browne’s Religion Medici, written in 1635 and published in 1642. Before it became a common term, expressions such as “self-murder” and “selfkilling”were used to describe the act of taking one’s own life. Growing up I have heard of grown pus whispering about so and so killing themselves and how they will not enter heaven because of that. When I heard the news this morning, a lot of questions inundated my mind (Jesus I worry too much sometimes, about things that don’t even concern me, what is wrong with me?)
One must be at the lowest, darkest point to consider suicide – putting an end to it all.
The Bible and suicide
God’s word does not use the word “suicide,” but it has much to say on our subject. The Old Testament records five clear suicides (there could be more, these are the closest I found):
- When Abimelech was mortally wounded by a woman who dropped a millstone on his head, he cried to his armor-bearer to kill him so his death would not be credited to the woman (Judges 9:54).
- The mortally wounded King Saul fell upon his own sword lest the Philistines abuse him further (1 Samuel 31:4).
- Saul’s armor-bearer then took his own life as well (1 Samuel 31:5).
- Ahithophel hanged himself after his advice was no longer followed by King David’s son Absalom (2 Samuel 17:23).
- Zimri set himself afire after his rebellion failed (1 Kings 16:18).
None of the people above seemed perfectly well when they decided enough was enough, all of them were at the deaths door. Additionally, some consider Jonah to have attempted suicide (Jonah 1:11-15). And Samson destroyed the Philistine temple, killing himself and all those with him (Judges16:29-30). But many do not see this as a suicide as much an act of military bravery.
The death of Judas is the only clear example of suicide in the New Testament (Matthew7:3-10). Paul later prevented the suicide of the Philippian jailer and won him to Christ (Acts 16:27-28).
But why would a perfectly well, impeccably normal person decide to commit suicide
How lonely is a price of Pride?
I had a Skype conversation with an old girlfriend of mine who attempted to end her life about 7 years ago. She never succeeded. The story goes like
“I had recently gotten married (traditionally) to a guy I had been dating from when I was 20 years old. Ours was a normal boy dating girl type of a relationship. When I turned 21 I had the biggest party ever, what made it even bigger was the presence of a ‘Mr Party’ (You have no idea how big having a Mr. Party at your party is).Fast forward a month into our marriage things started changing.Mr Party was still living at home with his parents and sibling when we got married (nothing wrong with that right?) I would come back from work cook, like a good wife should and no one will touch my food. I would walk inside the house while people are giggle and all of a sudden the house will be dead quiet at my entrance.”
But surely you can’t kill yourself over that, that’s nothing…”It’s easy for you to say that” she protested
“You don’t understand I lived for this person, who had now turned into a stranger I could not recognize. I was never going to go back home after only a month of marriage who does that? What would people say? I was now a misses I was never not prepared to going back to being a Miss”
But to kill yourself for that I’m sorry but it seems a bit trivial for me to drink 10 litres of paraffin for, I said. “Not when your mom tells you that ikhaya lentombazana lesemzini (the home of a girl’s child is where she gets wedded to) you are not going to embarrass us, you are going to stay there and make it work, and my mom would tell me “she added.
You must have been in a Place so dark
So I asked her “But wait why did you drink paraffin? I mean there are high chances of survival there, did you really want to kill yourself or was it an attention seeking quest?”
I felt really stupid after asking that question. What does it matter? My friend’s circumstances where different, she is not me, how dare I question her for not being strong enough. Is it not sufficient that she is alive?” I did not love myself enough so how can I expect him to love me more than me? No self-love. I learned that I should listen to people lend an ear when you in that place you need someone who listens and who will give it to you like it is.You know what? I had to go through that period in my life in order for me to be whom I am and what I am today. I guess I did not know then that I was strong enough to live life for me and be happy with my decisions whether they are wrong or right but they have been made by me. So all I can say is the lesson learnt from that experience is self- love, more self-love and never doubt that I am unique. “Thank God she did not succeed, I mean I am learning so much from her.
The truth of the matter is, we all battle with things in life. Some of us are stronger than others — Mental Illness though I don’t know. Even though I have never been severely mentally ill, I know I have suffered on a few occasions the symptoms of real depression. Although all deaths are tragic, suicide affects us differently than when someone dies in car accident or from a terminal illness. Counselors call death by suicide a “complicated grief” or “complicated bereavement,
Suffering isn’t suffering if it isn’t, well, suffering?
Sometimes things happen that contradict logic, defy expectations, and shake us to our roots. My mind can conceive how one would just decide to up and jump off a bridge living a kid behind, how is that even possible? (But wait, you don’t know what was going through her mind no one does) We might wish to cry out loud, “What is this for!? How can this be providential?!” I doubt God cares much for whether or not we are always cheerful or in the right mind about our experiences. I am sure he doesn’t want us to be compulsively complaining and always seeing ourselves as a martyr. Surely many of our sufferings are self-generated through delusional thinking. But the fact is, sometimes really awful things happen and they don’t make sense and the more sense we try to make of such things, the bigger the mess we sometimes make of them. This is true mostly because we end up finding someone or something to blame disproportionately. In such moments, I suppose God understands and expects some venting, some exasperation.
Suicide is a choice that can be hard to understand and approach without judgment, and discussing the risk of suicide may feel uncomfortable. Since we leave in an era where we are all supposed to be perfect, leading perfect lives have perfect jobs and so on. People tend to bottle up their feelings and avoid expressive conversations. I was curious enough to google the young girl and I saw a few pictures of her on Facebook, none of them indicated that she could one day decide to end her life. There are no clear-cut tell-tale signs.
A troubled soul, God only knows what went wrong and why you would leave the stage In the middle of a song…