...suicide...thoughts???

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...suicide...thoughts???

Postby kaholo4Him » Mon Nov 28, 2005 6:24 pm

(work has been nuts... food industry-thanksgiving/holidays - 'nuff said)

a recent episode of the japanese drama "heaven's coins III" showed a scene where a woman was going to jump off the roof of the hospital building the same time they were going to pull the plug on life support of the guy she loved... her thinking was that they would be together in the next world since they both would be dead. two friends tried to talk her out of it & one said that they wouldn't see each other since she would not go to heaven (because she committed suicide)... i thought it was pretty profoundly put (& interesting because it's a JAPANESE show - and more than 99% of the japanese population could be regarded as buddhist)...

last week was a great loss for us too. one of the girls who used to come out to college group during the summer committed suicide over thanksgiving weekend. it was a total shock to me, because i would never have thought she had problems with depression or suicidal tendencies - i thought she was one of the cooler, more 'together' girls in the group (i'm not involved with the college group, so i didn't have that much of a chance to interact with her). her brother is an amazing worship leader and apparently her family is also active in church - i don't really know what kind, if any, of support or intervention she had, but it really seems like she somehow slipped through the cracks & didn't get the help she needed. i guess i have a lot of questions ( feel free to pick up on any thread & comment).
what role should a church (pastoral staff, etc.) play, if any, should they come across a person with suicidal tendencies? i know as part of youth staff, if we had a kid who even mentioned the word & was contemplating it, we were required to disclose the info. to the youth director (& they would contact the necessary authorities) . how best to minister to those with depression (how do you discern one who would be classified as 'clinically depressed' from one who is just having a major PMS mood thing? liability issues - who, ultimately, is responsible? could a church be sued?
how can something like this be prevented?
how do we support those that were left behind (her family & friends)?
what DOES happen to a christian that chooses to end his/her life (banned from heaven?)?
why does God let some suicide attempts fail (like mine) and others succeed? reader's digest once published an article about failed suicide attempts and the aftermath. it was a rather amusing read - definitely made you think twice about trying...
how do you explain something like this to the non-christian? (who uses this as one of his excuses to not believe in Jesus)
*romans 15:13*
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Postby partyofsix » Tue Nov 29, 2005 9:31 pm

I have been hesitant in responding to your post, neither knowing you or the people involved in this tragedy, except to say that my prayers are with you and the family and friends of this young woman. There are so many issues (death and dying, guilt, anger, suffering, even grace and mercy) surrounding suicide that they just don’t translate well in this medium. So it is with fear and trembling that I continue, and I apologize in advance, for any misunderstanding on my part.

You mentioned having a lot of questions—What kind of support did she have? Was their any intervention? You describe the woman as being “cooler” and “more together”—she seems to be from a strong, Christian family. Perhaps I’m wrong, but your questions and your characterization of this woman and her family seem to underscore a bigger question—How could this have happened? How could this woman, who seemed to have it all together, surrounded by a community of faith and a caring family, how could she have executed her own demise? Or the bigger question—How could God let this happen?

I’ve been asked these questions and questions like these, and there are no good answers, and I’ve stopped trying to answer them. The questions, “Why did this happen,” or, “How could God let this happen,” always appear at the unexpected, untimely death of a loved one. I try not to answer these questions not just because I don’t have a good answer, because even if I did have an answer it usually doesn’t matter. So often these questions are meant to hold back the emotional flood that threatens to overwhelm us when we encounter death. They mask our feelings of grief and sorrow, our guilt, and our anger toward the deceased, and even toward God. I believe these are the real struggles we face in death—not the questions of why this happened or how could God let this happen, but our own grief and sorrow, our anger, and so often the guilt that envelops us, especially when someone we know takes their own life.

As for what role a church should play regarding those with suicidal tendencies, my own policy is pretty clear—do whatever I can to prevent such tragedy. As far as liability issues are concerned, they vary from state to state. I’d be more worried about the liability I could incur if I do nothing when someone tells me they are going to kill themselves and end up doing it, than any liability resulting from a breach of privacy and confidentiality.

What happens to a Christian who chooses to end his/her life? The same thing that happens to everyone when they die. I believe that our fate lies in the hands of a loving, merciful, and gracious God, and there is no better place for us to be.

Peace to you.
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