Today we are talking about a difficult topic. What do you do when a friend takes his own life? A few weeks ago, Shawn learned that a close friend of his had taken his own life, leaving behind a wife and 4 children. CJ was a veteran of both the Army and the Navy and outspoken Christ follower, but under the surface, he was struggling.
How can a man that loved the Lord passionately and that was by all appearances happy, decide to end his life? Sadly, a few minutes of past trauma can rule a person’s life. They can be deceived into believing that the world and their family are better off without them. Whether caused by PTSD or something else, as many as 22 veterans take their lives every day. Shawn shares how CJ’s widow is becoming involved with an organization that helps fight veteran suicide.
We also discuss suicide in general. Suicide has become the 2nd leading cause of teen death after accidents. Our culture glamorizes death in some ways. One example is the recent Netflix series “13 Reasons”. Young people faced with bullying and mounting responsibilities don’t know where to turn for help. As parents and church leaders, we need to be looking for signs of trouble and making ourselves available to counsel and encourage those who are struggling.
At CJ’s memorial service, the pastor preached a strong gospel message. Shawn shares the most memorable part of the message. “Was it selfish?…Yes…Was it sinful?… Yes…Was it wrong?…Yes…BUT Was it forgivable?…YES!” We believe that suicide is sinful and selfish, but it is forgivable because we serve a God that paid the penalty for ALL of the sins of believers.
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts, we urge you to talk to someone. Get help. And if you know people that are struggling, keep pursuing them. Push them to get help and be available to talk. Church leaders, be aware that there are most likely people in your congregation that struggle with thoughts of self-harm, even those that have a strong relationship with the Lord. Be on the lookout for ways to help and encourage each other!
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Links and Recommendations:
Mission 22 – United in the War Against Veteran Suicide
Operation Heal Our Patriots – a ministry of Samaritan’s Purse, helping to heal wounded veterans
The Hopeless World of “13 Reasons” – with Jon Stonestreet
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