Once Thanksgiving dinner is over with, the cleaning up is complete, perhaps a little resting, the Black Friday abuse is over with and recovered from…it truly is a feeling of “’tis the season” moment! As believers in the Most High God, His loving Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit we should always be “in” that mood of “’tis the season” mindset. We are to be in the ever forgiving mood of our enemies, the ever loving of our neighbors, the always willing to give the shirt off our backs for those in need, etc. Jesus taught these things to all mankind…every person he came in contact with; whether high or low position in their lives. I, myself, have not been shopping on a Black Friday in many years, because it is like suicide by customer shopping. It is truly not the Christmas seasons and shopping experiences that I had when I was a kid; though I am certain that it was a little more festive shopping 40 years ago. People have lost the true Spirit of Christmas over the years. It is truly sad!
On a more positive note, we can each make that little bit of difference in the lives of everyone else simply by carrying on that little bit of Spirit in your lives while out shopping. Say “Merry Christmas” with a bit of a warm smile. Kindness truly can be spread easily and without personal pain. Just in that simple little act. Put the needs of another ahead of yourself; your wife, your husband, your son, your daughter, or a complete stranger. Just help them in some small way. Maybe they are having a meltdown and need a break; perhaps having a tough time and need to get something off their chest; the list can truly be endless. And I will not even get into the corporatizing of the Christmas holiday, THAT would be a completely different blog posting!
You may ask why would that be during the holiday season? The holiday season it the greatest time of pressure; whether it be personally imposed, work imposed, relative imposed, etc. The Christmas season is the highest known time where people think about, contemplate, and commit suicide.
- Suicide is the 10 th leading cause of death in the US
- Each year 42,773 Americans die by suicide
- For every suicide 25 attempt, and
- Suicide costs the US $ 44 Billion annually. (AFFSP, 2016)
- The annual age-adjusted suicide rate is 12.93 per 100,000 individuals.
- Men die by suicide 3.5x more often than women.
- On average, there are 117 suicides per day.
- White males accounted for 7 of 10 suicides in 2014.
- Firearms account for almost 50% of all suicides.
- The rate of suicide is highest in middle age — white men in particular. (AFFSP, 2016)
Overall, the statistics show that between the years 1999-2014 that suicide has risen 24%. Which is both a travesty on a human level, but also understandable as the population has grown so do the potentiality of such travesties increase. While I cannot understand the reasoning to take one’s own life, it must be understood that the person thinking that to take their life is the best possible solution is very real to them at that time…if not for a period of time! It is truly sad and very devastating to the surviving family members. There are those in your daily walk where you have the potential of crossing the path of someone who has chosen or is planning to choose to take their life. You may even be the catalyst of their decision (without meaning to be so).
- They’re depressed
- They’re psychotic
- They’re impulsive
- They’re crying out for help
- They have a philosophical desire to die
- They’ve made a mistake
God’s word can guide each of us to help those in need, this season, by remembering the reason for the season! Many teens struggle with such thoughts. A multitude of veterans returning from hot zones & those undiagnosed from Vietnam and other conflicts still struggle. Be aware of those who are out there that seek their own demise as an answer.
“For this commandment which I command you today is not too mysterious for you, nor is it far off. It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend into heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ Nor is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ But the word is very near you, in your mouth and in your heart, that you may do it. “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil, in that I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in His ways, and to keep His commandments, His statutes, and His judgments, that you may live and multiply; and the Lord your God will bless you in the land which you go to possess. But if your heart turns away so that you do not hear, and are drawn away, and worship other gods and serve them, I announce to you today that you shall surely perish; you shall not prolong your days in the land which you cross over the Jordan to go in and possess. I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” ~Deuteronomy 30:11-20 NKJV
We know the reason for the season is Jesus, because we celebrate His birth. We also remember His death on the cross where He suffered for our sins…the sins of the world! (John 1:29) Here are some other verses that indicate the wrongfulness of suicide in the Bible: 70 Bible Verses on Suicide.
While there is no proof that being kind to, or even loving our neighbor, or putting them first in your life will prevent even a single potential suicide; isn’t it worth a try? After all, as one person you can do so very little to effect change in the world…but you are ONE person and you can do SOMETHING! Even if that something is just being nice to those you come in contact with.
May God Richly Bless You, My Beloved!
MK Murphy, PhD, DD