At church last night, it was noted that there had been a suicide in a neighboring county, a mother had killed herself. We shared that it seemed that there had been a run of suicides of late. Suicide is unusual around here.
Then when I got home from church, I had received an email from an online buddy who wrote to let me know of a spate of teen suicides by hanging in the UK. There had been 13 suspected suicides in that town in the last year, and 79 since 2007, all by hanging. There were two hangings just this week. This is truly terrible news. It is always crushing to think of anyone, but especially youths, who are so despondent that they feel their only option is to end their life. Apparently People Magazine did a story on the incidents in this town on May 14, 2012 called "A Tragedy in Wales: A Small Town Mystery."
I don't feel it is a coincidence that suicide is rising so quickly at this time. I decided to do some further research. I discovered in an article written a month ago that suicides of Canadian youths between ages 10 and 19 are rising. PRE-teens! Babes! Like this boy in India.
I read in another recent article from a month ago that Asian suicides are skyrocketing, too. "Korea's suicide rate has skyrocketed since the Asian economic crisis and is now 2.3 times higher than the rate of death from traffic accidents. In the 1990s, about 7.3 people for every 100,000 committed suicide, but that has soared especially among women, the elderly, highly educated people, professionals, and divorcees."
I read in an article that Army "suicides among U.S. soldiers rose 80 percent from 2004 to 2008, an Army study found." In a February 2012 article in Medical News today I read this headline about the population in general: Suicide Rates Highest In 15 Years, US.
People, suicides are up. Hanging has a 70% mortality rate and is the preferred method.
Let's take a biblical and a cultural look at suicide by hanging. In the bible, Judas hanged himself. "Then Judas, His betrayer, seeing that He had been condemned, was remorseful and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” And they said, “What is that to us? You see to it!” Then he threw down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed, and went and hanged himself." (Matthew 27:3-5)
In the book Comprehensive Textbook of Suicidology, author Ronald W. Maris et al, we read "Judas's suicide was final proof that he completely rejected God's grace, whereas the robber that was crucified next to Jesus was redeemed and entered Paradise together with the Savior. God's mercy is endless to those who are willing to accept it but those who reject it, commit the terrible sin of Desperatio. Hanging was therefore regarded as the most abominable way out, because this type of death left one unable to call out for mercy, because one was choked and unable to express a last-minute repentance."
Desperatio is a Middle Ages term explained this way (this is a definition that explains their thinking a thousand years ago, not a doctrine I am promoting): "Desperatio (doubt) is a sin against the Holy Spirit. When a sinner recognizes his burden of sin, but it does not draw the right conclusion to repentance, confession and penance, but in despair at the magnitude of his sins, it is called desperatio. The sinner can be saved in spite of his great sins, if he would take the prescribed path of repentance. It remains closed to him so, however, as he thinks, could there be for their sin no more forgiveness. He doubts the grace of God. A prime example of Judas desperatio could be considered: When he realizes what a great sin to be a betrayal of Jesus was, and he hanged himself in despair. If he had done penance instead, he could have been saved."
Here is a rendition of hanging by the early Middle Ages artist Giotto
|Giotto: Desperatio, ca. 1305-1306, "Desperation" or "Despair".|
"The Bible records 3 well-known incidents of suicide - King Saul in the Old Testament (some also regard Samson's death as a suicide, however he was actually a prisoner of war who died in the process of killing 3,000 pagan Philistines), Judas Iscariot in the New Testament, and another that we will get to in a moment. Although the circumstances of Saul and Judas were different, they did have something very much in common. Saul was under the influence of an evil spirit (1 Samuel 16:14), and Judas had been directly entered by Satan (John 13:27). And what is the third incident? When Jesus Christ healed a man of demon possession at Gerasenes, He had the demons go out from the man and into a large herd pigs that were grazing nearby (Mark 5:1-12). And what did the pigs do after the demons had entered them? They ran down the bank, into the lake, and drowned themselves (Mark 5:13). With the demons in them, the pigs committed suicide. This is not in any way to suggest that all suicide is demon inspired - it most certainly isn't. But some clearly are, and of all the rest, Satan and his demons are pleased to see it happen."
Self mutilation/cutting are also demon inspired. "In the New Testament, cutting oneself was associated with someone who was possessed by demons (Mark 5:2-5). It was characteristic of behavior caused by evil spirits. Today, self-mutilation is rarely used for ritualistic practices or actual demon possession, but instead usually by teen-agers and young adults who have misplaced anger and pain that they are attempting to work out in destructive ways." (source)
Here are some common suicide risk indicators. If you or a loved one are demonstrating even two of these, please seek help immediately:
Common Suicide Risk Indicators
--A previous suicide attempt, even if it seemed staged or designed to get attention, or boasts of past or secret suicide attempts.
--Talking about being dead or wishing they were dead, how others would be happier if he/she were dead or how much better off others will be when he/she is gone.
--Repeatedly engaging in very risky or dangerous thrill seeking behavior.
--"Getting the house in order" - making plans for the care of loved siblings, parents, relatives or pets and giving away cherished belongings to close friends.
--Extreme mood swings; very depressed episodes followed by happy episodes with no clear reason for the change. --Regular expressions of worthlessness, helplessness, sadness and/or loneliness.
--Drastic changes in habits, friends, or appearance, ie; new friends, skipping school, dropping out of favorite activities, and no longer caring about appearance or cleanliness.
--Changes in weight, sleeping habits, and physical activity. Withdrawing from friends, family, or activities that once gave the person pleasure or a sense of identity.
Here is a link to a checklist of suicide risk behaviors from Air Force Medicine, and on the list is cutting. Please check either link or other good links on the internet if you or a loved one is despondent and talking of ending it all.Precious brethren, suicide is so heartbreaking, and solves nothing. It throws away the precious life that Jesus gave you and it satisfies satan to be successful in pressuring a Christian from the world. It satisfies him even further to send an unsaved person to hell. Jesus loves you with a white hot fervency, he seeks and saves and brings us to His bosom! Nothing is worse than plunging into the gulf that separates us from Him by our own hand, or ending what could be a fulfilling life in Christ by our own hand.
The End Times are here. With apostasy rising and Christianity's believers moving away from Jesus, and with unbelievers moving further away from offered grace, satan is still and always seeking whom he may devour. (1 Peter 5:8). Let us all be alert for weakening brethren. Though we can never tell with certainty what is going on in another person's mind, if you see or hear them demonstrate any of the indicators, you will know that the prayer battle is on. Fight for each other! Pray to the Spirit for help. Jesus heals, completely!
"The LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor…to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve…to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” (Isaiah 61:1-3).
It seems all too often the spirit if despair is upon us, but the garment of praise is ours to be had, along with the victory- thanks eternally to His sacrifice and His grace.