“IN HIS HAND is the life of every creature and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:10 NIV).
It is no secret that our community is in a state of crisis when it comes to individuals contemplating suicide.
With that being said, if one believes that this issue is simply a matter for the health department they are sorely mistaken.
To drive by the bridges, the Elwha or Eighth Street bridges, to read our newspaper, or hear the stories of friends and family suffering in the wake of a suicide, and not see this as an issue of faith is tantamount to putting our heads in the sand and ignoring our calling as Christians.
Let me explain …
In my experience, individuals who contemplate suicide are not giving up on God, they are giving up on their situation; they are not abandoning their faith, they have lost hope; they are not choosing an answer, they are lost for solutions.
This should not surprise us.
In a culture that argues that all ideas and opinions are equally true and valid, the voices that cry out that death is a solution and that life is meaningless are all given credibility and weight.
If all opinions are valid, then the lies and accusations of our enemy, Satan, can be seen as valid, which we know is false.
After all, we must never lose sight of the truth, that Satan has been a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44, Ephesians 6:10-13).
Suicide is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to this issue of faith.
The unveiled root of this issue is seen every time a voice leads God’s children toward holding the belief that life is a commodity and not a precious gift; that it can be discarded, used, abused, neglected and thrown away.
This monumental falsehood is not just taught through curriculums forcing our children to believe that they are alive because of chance instead of direct divine intervention and will (Ps 139:13-16, Jer 19:11, Matt 10:28-31), but in many other ways.
For example, look at how our culture views sexuality: It is perfectly acceptable to have sex with an individual without any intent of caring for them; a mindset that is joked about in our workplaces and in sitcoms that fill our evening entertainment.
Couples live with each other to “try things out,” but how dare our culture reduce our daughters’ and sons’ life to be as valueless as a test-drive or an option on a menu.
What message are we teaching them, when inwardly, they know their time and life is much too precious to allow someone to use them and see if they satisfy their partner’s transient passions?
Sex is to be cherished just as husbands and wives must learn to cherish one another.
We, as God’s ambassadors, need to be proclaiming loudly, “Your body is precious, valuable, a miracle, and something to be cherished; let no one teach you otherwise. Remember Christ redeemed your body and soul, you will one day be raised body and soul” (1 Cor 15:20-28).
This disregard for the preciousness of life finds its way into the way we treat one another on social media and around the dinner table.
We ridicule, embarrass, and throw others away at a moment’s notice and forget they, too, are those for whom Christ died (John 3:16, 2 Cor 5:15).
It is no wonder why so many question the value of their lives.
They have been inadvertently taught the lesson that to disregard of life is a suitable solution to a problem instead of toward their Lord and Savior (Is 40:30-31, Ps 68:19, Ps 121, Matt 11:28, 1 Peter 5:6-7).
This is seen in women with unplanned pregnancies given false hope and a future of regret, or when a man struggling with a chronic illness embraces the idea of death on his terms, or someone giving up on their situation having lost hope and a solution that has been presented to them by a world eager to speak.
Professing the value and sanctity of life is not a slogan, it is a lifestyle.
It speaks loudly that life is too precious to be gambled with, used, neglected, attacked, marginalized or thrown away.
Not all ideas are equal.
Those who minimize life lie.
They preach a falsehood spun by Satan, who masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor 11:14), who is full of deceit, and looks only to devour life (1 Peter 5:8).
But not you, you have heard the truth.
God has created you out of his love for you.
He has called his very own, bled and died for you, and has a place waiting for you.
Even though you may feel so small at times, he sees you and your pain and comes to you.
He knows your pain, your needs, and your struggles (Heb 4:15), and still promises to never leave your side (Is 43:1-3).
In fact he promises to equip, strengthen and encourage you (2 Cor 12, Rom 5:1-6).
This whole issue is an issue in faith, may we stand united in this time and world to defend the value intrinsic to all life; value placed on it by the author and source of life, God himself.
To him be the glory.
Issues of Faith is a rotating column by five religious leaders on the North Olympic Peninsula. The Rev. Patrick Lovejoy is minister of St. Matthew Lutheran Church in Port Angeles. He can be contacted at 360-457-4122 or [email protected]