Rev. Mark H. Creech: What Would You Say to Someone About to Commit Suicide?

Suicide has certainly been in the headlines lately. First was the death of American fashion designer and businesswoman, Kate Spade. Quickly on the heels of her death came that of Anthony Bourdain, the celebrity chef, author and travel documentarian, who took his own life.

Last Sunday, I pulled into the parking lot of a church where I was scheduled to speak. As I got out of the car, I noticed two men relaxing on the tailgate of a pick-up truck. I went over to greet them and realized when I got closer that one of them had tears in his eyes. The other fellow was trying to comfort him. The man crying had just learned in his Sunday School class that a good friend had committed suicide. The heartbreak was especially intense for him because his brother had also committed suicide two years earlier.

I was in shock to learn this week that suicide rates in London, England, are up by 107% — more than 4 times the national rate.

Suicide rates are up in America too – way up!

Writing for the North Carolina Policy Council, Julie Tisdale noted on June 8th the Center for Disease Control (CDC) reported that in 2016 45,000 Americans took their own lives. Suicide has risen by 30% from 1999 to 2016. In at least 25 states the increase was more than 30%, and in every state there was a rise, except for Nevada, which was already high.

Tisdale speculated that loneliness could be a driving factor in the rise of suicide. She cited a Cigna and Ipsos study published in May, which surveyed 20,000 American adults concerning loneliness. She writes, “They found that: 27 percent rarely or never feel that there are people who understand them; 24 percent rarely or never feel they can find companionship when they want it, and 19 percent don’t feel there are people they can turn to.”

Mother Teresa, who emptied her life in helping the poorest of the world’s poor in Calcutta, India, once said, “Loneliness and the feeling of being unwanted is the most terrible poverty.”

She said something on another occasion, I think, that speaks to the upsurge of suicide in America and other Western nations. She claimed, “The spiritual poverty of the Western world is much greater than the physical poverty of our people. You in the West have millions of people who suffer such terrible loneliness and emptiness.”

I once read a news story about a young secretary in London who climbed onto a window ledge of a high rise building. Fear was written across her face as she threatened to jump to her death. A man was able to lean from the window and carry on a conversation with her. She sobbed about her life as she shared her feelings of hopelessness. The man spoke gently as he tried to convince her that life was worthwhile and she should come away from the ledge. He pleaded with her for at least an hour, but to no avail. She leaped from the building anyway.

Suppose you were in the same situation as that man. For one hour you would have the opportunity to share from your heart and out of your own experience the reason life is worth living and should never be aborted by suicide. What would you say?

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Source: Christian Post