The following is another part of a book I am writing, called Effortless Grace. feel free to criticize. God knows I need it!! : )
WHAT CAN WE DO?
One of the best ways to help someone who is considering suicide is to talk about it with them. One popular myth tells us that talking about suicide may give the depressed or traumatized person an idea that may not have occurred to them. This is false. Often, talking about it brings something to light that the person may never have thought of, such as a hope they believed was no longer theirs. Remember, feelings of hopelessness almost always accompany suicide attempts. Feelings of loneliness, of rejection, or of despair are all things people who attempt suicide face.
We can address each one of these areas as the body of Christ. Loneliness is not so much the act of being alone, as much as it is the feeling that one is not accepted anywhere. We have all felt rejected at times, or unaccepted. Have you ever felt unaccepted everywhere you turned? That is the experience of the person who is considering suicide. Maybe they ARE accepted, and just don’t know it. Maybe their feelings are twisted by their rapid loss of hope. Whatever the case may be for the condition, there is only one cure, as mentioned before, grace.
We can administer grace to everyone we meet by being available for them, whoever it may be. We can dispense grace by listening more than we talk. One of the best indicators of a person who is considering suicide are feelings of hopelessness. We won’t hear them say it unless we are listening.
When I was going through the loss of my wife through adultery and divorce, one of things I did to get through it was to call people, and talk with them. Maybe the call was an inconvenience, but I would never know, because I was never told it was. I would spend sometimes hours on the phone talking with brothers and sisters in Christ, who never told me they “had to go quick”, or were “just about to leave”. They gave me their time, and more importantly, their ear. This allowed me to speak what was in my heart, it allowed me to bleed over the phone. And, if my bleeding overflowed, they would offer to come over and mop it up, again, with their ear. Those believers were the hug from God I needed, at a time when I easily could have ended it, so blinded I was by my pain.
How else does listening to someone in pain help them? Just as getting them to talk about it helps them work through it, DISCUSSING their trouble with them lends to them a sound mind that is not blinded by pain. Some of the greatest tragedies have occurred because a sound mind was not at the helm the day the tragedy took place. We do not make wise decisions when we are in pain. Most of the murders in this world are committed by people who didn’t plan it, they just reacted to the situation they were faced with. They made a hasty, uninformed, and unwise decision, because all their mind could see was pain.
We can offer them a heart that, although it is hurting because of compassion, is not completely clouded by pain. We can offer them our wisdom, and in the case of a person contemplating suicide, wisdom is one thing they are desperately lacking.
More on this part of the book soon.