It happened again yesterday. I heard of a friend’s loved one who took his own life. With that, I knew I just couldn’t NOT say something. In the last year I have known eight people who have attempted/considered/acted out suicide. It is an issue that is groaning to be heard and seen. This isn’t contained to one gender, age group, ethnicity, social class or spiritual belief. There are many reasons that people are considering or actually taking their lives. I won’t get into that here other than to say that while the reason matters in order to understand and to find the right help it doesn’t matter for us to care and to take action. Someone’s reason may seem trite to us or on the flip side insurmountable. That isn’t for us to judge.
Instead, when we see hurting souls we can pause and take the time to ask what is going on and then to be 100% invested in listening. I’m not saying we are to fix it or take on their burdens or be their counselor. Seeing their hurt and listening is sometimes the most powerful medicine needed in the moment. Christ listened to so many people who came to him in person during His earthly life. Yes, He healed many of them then and there but I also believe that in many instances He just listened, giving them permission and the freedom to be authentically themselves in their pain, hurt and confusion. I heard once said that being listened to is so close to being loved that we many times don’t know the difference.
In 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 we are given hope that we’re not alone in this and that there is an ultimate pain reliever available to us. “May the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ be blessed! He is the compassionate Father and God of all comfort. He’s the one who comforts us in all our trouble so that we can comfort other people who are in every kind of trouble. We offer the same comfort that we ourselves received from God. That is because we receive so much comfort through Christ in the same way that we share so many of Christ’s sufferings. So if we have trouble, it is to bring you comfort and salvation. If we are comforted, it is to bring you comfort from the experience of endurance while you go through the same sufferings that we also suffer. Our hope for you is certain, because we know that as you are partners in suffering, so also you are partners in comfort.” Did you catch that “extra strength” ingredient in the pain reliever Christ? It’s you and me! We’ve been or are going through our own trials. When we share with others the comfort and relief we get from Christ we are giving His pain relief an extra activating ingredient.
Let me share some of my experience. I pray that it brings you comfort. I’ve been in that dark place of wanting to have the pain end. It was in my teens. I kept it a secret and never let anyone know I was hurting. I was mad at God too and thought He didn’t care. There isn’t anything I can say that friends and family should have seen or done. I was a very good actor and liar. My fear was someone would find out and put me in a mental institution. I didn’t want to be called crazy. Thankfully Jesus and Jesus alone saved me. Sometimes we can’t see the hurt. When our loved one is gone or tries to hurt themselves we might blame ourselves and have regret. Please don’t carry that guilt around any more. I want to encourage you to lay that burden at the feet of Jesus. Take your experience and let Christ use it to help someone else. Be that “extra strength” in His pain relief. Together we can help the immense hurt in the lives around us.