“Creating hope through action”
The World Health Organization reports that an estimated 703,000 people die each year by suicide. “For every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt and many more have serious thoughts of suicide. Millions of people suffer intense grief or are otherwise profoundly impacted by suicidal behaviours.”
No doubt we have all been impacted by the reality of suicide in some way.
We were reminded in a flyer we received last week in our weekly mailing that Saturday September 10 is World Suicide Prevention Day 2022. The triennial theme for 2021-2023 is, “Creating Hope Through Action”
So what action can we take as we face the truth about suicide? That is an important question for each of us to ponder.
Maybe you know a friend or family member who is struggling with thoughts of suicide. Perhaps you can act by reaching out to them as a listening and present friend.
Do you have a story to tell of our own struggle and pain around suicide? Could you act by sharing your story?
Could you act by becoming more informed about suicide and strategies of prevention?
Would you be willing to open up conversation about suicide and in so doing offer the reminder that it is something important to talk about? Talking, and listening, can be important actions!
You could pray for individuals and families affected by suicide, and pray against the forces of darkness that take away hope and light. Prayer is an important action!
Suicide can bring feelings of shame for those who have entertained thoughts of suicide, or have attempted to end their own life. And shame is often carried by family members struggling with the impacts of suicide. It is my hope that we, by God’s grace, can let go of shame and receive instead the compassion, grace and healing that is so needed in our world. That will not be an easy exchange but it may be an important action to commit too.
The story of the Bible is the story of God who acts by reaching out to a world in pain and in need of compassion, grace and healing. God searches out all who need hope, salvation, life and freedom from the bondage of shame, and guilt. God enters the world in Jesus Christ, carries the world’s sin, shame and death to the cross and overcomes it all through his death, and resurrection to new life. God acted in Jesus and saved us. God acted in Jesus and filled the world with hope, light and life.
Life is still hard some days, suicide still happens, suffering and pain still linger but they have ultimately been overcome. A new world is coming! The kingdom of God is near, and among us!
Will we act by sharing the good news of Jesus and God’s kingdom of life and peace, and help fill the world with light? The Spirit of the God is here ready to empower our action!
Will we hear God’s words through the prophet Isaiah spoken to the nation of Israel, and spoken to Jesus God’s servant, as words that can also speak to us as followers of Jesus?
I will give you as a light to the nations,
that my salvation may reach to the end of the earth.” (Isaiah 49.6)