I watched 60 Minutes recently and saw the responses to a discussion on euthanasia. One of the responses I was appalled by.
I ask you to forgive me for repeating it but I think it needs to be addressed. It went something like this, “people who commit suicide are going to hell”.
While personally opposed to euthanasia, I will leave speaking about that for the weeks ahead. I really want to address this very unhelpful comment on suicide.
Not all people are touched by suicide, but personally it has touched my life on more than one occasion. A clergyman and friend who loved the Lord Jesus Christ struggled with depression for years until he took his life.
The young man who stood in the bridal party of my son found his father hanged. A member of the church, at which I was the minister, was caring for a brother who his wife found dead.
The tragedy is the tragedy in all suicides – that another human being can think death is a better prospect than life.
I want to say as loudly as I can that suicide is not the unforgivable sin.
There is an unforgivable sin but it is not suicide. What the author of the 60 Minutes comment does not understand is the mental health of a person who considers suicide.
It may be easy to trot out harsh statements for a television program to use but it is far from easy, indeed not easy at all, for someone struggling with suicidal thoughts to think about living.
It is for this reason that I give thanks for moments in our national diary like Mental Health Week and for organisations like Life Line.
I was recently in a meeting of remarkable people who desire to care for the vulnerable when it comes to suicide. The police were represented. The council administrator Ian Tiley chaired the meeting.
Rotary was keen to assist. Representatives of UNE including Extra columnist, Dr John Malouf, along with many other fine members of the community attended.
I am often told many people read “Faith Matters” every week. To those who read this article, I make this plea – be available to people who are struggling, irrespective of their lifestyles.
Stop long enough to show a person a little love because that has to be medicinal for a person’s mental health.
Finally, if you are struggling with life and suicidal thoughts, you are not the first, nor will you be the last to feel this way. Many people have been where you are and sought help and found it.
If you are struggling ring Life Line on 13 11 14. They have people you can talk to.
I may not know you, but I want you to know that personally and in local churches, people are praying to the God who does know you and asking Him to help.
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