For almost 30 years, I struggled with clinical depression and suicidal thoughts. For 26 of those years, I was a born-again, Bible-believing Christian.
Which means, off and on, for 26 years, I was what many would consider a spiritual oxymoron – a suicidal Christian.
Are you a Christian who thinks about suicide? Can you remember what it’s like not to be depressed? Do you wish you could tell your pastor or your friend sitting next to you in church, but the shame of your “lack of faith” keeps you from opening up? (Did you know that depression is often a result of trauma and/or chemical imbalances in the brain?)
I’m blessed to have had people who never gave up on me. People who – with huge amounts of loving endurance – counseled and prayed with me throughout my dark season. People who reminded me that God would never give up on me either. That He still had a purpose for me, as Psalm 138:8 (ESV) says:
The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me; your steadfast love, O Lord, endures forever.
Sadly, many don’t have people like this to walk with them through their dark season.
The church has a long way to go in dealing with this issue. Perhaps those of us in the body of Christ need to ask ourselves:
- Why is it so hard for church-going, Bible-believing Christians to tell their pastor or church friends that they’re suicidal?
- How can we make it easier for them to do so?
That would be a discussion worth having, wouldn’t it? Especially if that discussion included those of you who continue to struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide.
As we (the church) continue to work on this, dear reader, refuse to believe the lie that you are hopeless – or worse, that no one cares. More and more people are coming to understand the reality of your struggles. So, please, don’t give up on your church community.
If you’ve been plagued with suicidal thoughts or depression, you may need to seek professional help. (I’ve found Christian counseling to be helpful.) If you’re currently experiencing suicidal thoughts, please call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right away, 1-800-273-8255. Compassionate listeners are available 24/7.
What about you?
You can use a pseudonym (fake name) when commenting.
- As a member of the Body of Christ, what steps can we take to be more effective for our brothers and sisters who struggle with depression and/or suicidal thoughts?
- If you (or someone you know) are struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, would you be willing to join in the discussion on how the church can be more supportive?
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