Suicide: America’s Epidemic of Despair
Published : June 12, 2018
In less than twenty years, suicide rates in America have increased more than 30 percent in half the country; it’s on the rise in almost every state. Nearly 45,000 Americans died by suicide in 2016, and unlike the rich and famous, you will never know their names.
TV personality Anthony Bourdain and designer Kate Spade took their own lives, and both were famous and wealthy.
Why are we surprised when things of this world fail to satisfy?
Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S. – and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it’s one of only three causes of death (Alzheimer’s, drug overdoses) that are increasing. Worldwide, someone dies by suicide every forty seconds.
A recent CDC study suggests more than half of those who commit suicide did not have a mental health condition. Over half. Some had problems involving relationships, finances, health, or substance abuse while others didn’t have any of these. But the end result was the same.
I don’t mean to over simplify a very serious and complicated issue here, but as important as it is to diagnose and treat mental illness, it’s perhaps even more important to acknowledge the often ignored spiritual aspect.
We’re just passing through this life, and our true citizenship is in Heaven (Philippians 3:20).
C.S. Lewis once stated:
“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”You’ve heard the saying, ‘there’s a God-shaped hole in all of us’ which means we have a void only our Creator can fill. The Bible says God has set eternity in our hearts (Eccl. 3:11), and we were made to be in a relationship with our Maker, to love others and be loved by Him.
Author and blogger, Matt Walsh wrote a though-provoking article saying discussions about suicide need to go much deeper than mental health.
“I think we live in an empty culture. We have fled from God, from meaning, from purpose, and the suicide epidemic is a direct result. People are wallowing in despair, believing there is no transcendent truth or beauty to be found in life.”In a culture that has embraced narcissism and moral relativism in which there are no fixed absolutes, we seek our own happiness and meaning and most of us end up living by a morality of shallow self-fulfillment and temporary pleasure.
Some will insist the suicide rate is climbing due to a mental health crisis, but how do they explain only a fraction of people committed suicide decades ago when family and society was more stable, and mental health was not a known issue?
Whether it is depression, hopelessness, loneliness, or one of the many other reasons people attempt suicide, they all have to do with suffering. And one of man’s solutions to physical pain and suffering is euthanasia, also known as “mercy killing” or even “death with dignity.”
Even the American Medical Association (AMA) has described physician-assisted suicide as a serious risk to society and “fundamentally incompatible with a physician’s role as healer.”
Four states have physician-assisted suicide. Oregon has permitted it since 1997. Even more tragic, 68 percent of Americans now support the idea – including 4 in 10 professing evangelicals – saying it’s okay for doctors to help terminally ill patients end their lives. Unfortunately, opposition to assisted suicide is dying which indicates our civilized society doesn’t trust God and is unwilling to stand for life.
So today, when a person commits suicide themselves, some ignorantly use words such as courageous or inspirational. Is this really the message we want to send those who may be considering ending their lives?
Too many have been duped into thinking this life is all there is, and their only future is a grave. They accept death when they could choose life!
People turn to anything but God when they feel despair and emptiness, failing to realize we all live forever. Following God’s judgment of mankind, our spirits will live on in either one of two destinations, the slums and torments of Hell being one of them.
From the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly to the addict, the jobless, homeless, or hopeless, every human being is worthy of dignity and respect. It’s time we address the problem God’s way.
C.S. Lewis explains:
We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea.
We just can’t imagine the Gospel being true. But it is. Jesus died for our sins, and if we repent and believe, we can have everlasting life. The offer is for everyone, and we each must decide whether to accept or reject it. A permanent, eternal holiday with the Lord sounds pretty good to me.