Around mid-October 2014, I stumbled across this article.
Contrary to what she felt or believed, it was still suicide in my eyes and in the eyes of others. The questions running through my mind were, "why isn't somebody encouraging her to live? Who's speaking life into her? Who is helping her with her depression? Who's praying for her, her husband and her family? Why is the media and society applauding this?"
Of course, over this past weekend, this article emerged stating that she ended her life.
This was a suicide that could have been prevented in my opinion.
This topic was heavy on my spirit this morning, and I pose a twofold question: Did Brittany Maynard have to die? Are suicide victims (to include those who contemplate and attempt) selfish? To the first question, she did not have to die that way. To the second question, I say not totally - and that's what this blogpost will center on.
A few disclaimers:
1. If you are reading this and have thought about suicide, please read this (providing this doesn't trigger you)
2. If you are thinking about suicide now, please call 911 or the Suicide Prevention Hotline
3. If you were called selfish or people chastised you because you talked about ending your life, you're not alone, read this and if you are indeed suicidal, see #2.
4. I will be ranting in a few places within this blog, but I will warn you before my rant begins.
Ok. Are suicide victims selfish? Many are going to shout YES off the top of their lungs. I disagree to a point. I believe suicide victims had help! Yes, I said it. If you do or don't follow the Bible, bear with me as I share an example. In Numbers 20, we always harp on Moses and his disobedience therefore disqualifying himself from the promised land. I believe Moses had help. The children of Israel were to wander in the wilderness back in the 14th chapter of the same book and they weren't going to the promised land. Because they weren't going and they were disobedient, they got under Moses' skin (in my opinion). And he did an act that he wasn't supposed to do.
This example is no different to a suicide victim. Now I need to harp on the faith community in a spirit of love.
When you tell someone to speak the word when they are suicidal and not listen to them, stopping what you're doing to pray, you are in essence telling them that I'm not going to bear your burden and disobey the very Word I'm telling you to speak. The Word tells us to bear another's burdens, love your neighbor as yourself, place other's interests above your own.
I can't stress this enough. How we treat people who are struggling with the will to live, or are currently experiencing a traumatic situation (such as a breakup, a divorce - I'll speak on that in a moment, a death in the family), will determine if they will either attempt, go through with ending their life or not doing either of those two.
#MayneMan Rant: I don't care where you are in your life. If you know someone struggling, a condescending attitude is an easy way for someone to do something rash. You pointing your bony little finger telling them their stupid, will make them feel less than a human and will more & likely end their life. (I will address how we treat each other in the faith world in just a moment - I can't do a blog without addressing that). Accusing them of being in sin, saying their feelings and the actions that caused their predicament is ALL their fault will push a person into fritter isolation (whether they are strong in faith or not).
When it comes to "Women & Suicide," this touches my heart to the core. No woman should ever have to carry a burden that heavy (or any burden period). To tells woman that she has no out in a marriage is going contrary to the Bible. Jesus gave two outs (fornication or adultery). Why do we have the mitigated gall to tell her that's no excuse for divorce (when she has that option). <- sorry for not giving a warning for that rant.
#MayneMan Rant (For Real): continuing from the last paragraph, so many people are burdening women with that God Hates Divorce when she's being abused physically, mentally & spiritually. I don't buy that! In fact, to burden a woman like that will either cause her to murder her spouse or commit suicide.
I can't leave my fellow men out of this. When we are experiencing a breakup (marriage or friendship) and emotions were involved (or something else that's traumatic), we need a hug and just like women, we also need an ear. If we don't get it (but instead, have to hear MAN UP), don't be surprised if we close our world and do something rash.
What troubles me is that we don't consider the other person interpersonal relationships. In many, we have a me, myself & I mentality. When we are going through, we want the world to stop for us, when others are going through, we'll give a two-second prayer (if that), talk down to them or praise God that it's not your problem. What makes this worse is we don't consider a person's heart when we relate to people. Every person is uniquely different, worthy of love & respect and may be fragile (in heart, in mind or in spirit). Suicides occur when people are feeling rejected (among teens and adults, relationship/friendship breakups are worse, especially when one is being used and kicked to the curb).
Another thing that troubles me is we take offense if someone is not having a good day. If you don't have a Joel Osteen smile, then you don't want to be bothered. If one of your children was having a bad day, you would cradle them in your arms. Why can't we do that for our brother, our sister? Jesus cradles everyone in His arms when we are hurting. We should not have to lie to people when they ask how are you!!!
The faith world can be worse. The church is supposed to be for the sick. Jesus came for the sick. Why can't we be a place of refuge for a hurting soul? Yes, we all come to church with our respective issues, but we need to be admonishing each other to greatness and not bring on further affliction to others. This is probably why folks outside don't want a part of church. Our attitudes towards real issues stink. They're hush, hush, or we tell them to deal with the pain themselves. We're real quick to give advice, but SO slow to listen. We'll condemn others who are going through, but we'll call those who we're condemning when we're going through. To the faith world, I don't want this to appear like I'm bashing you. We are all in this together. If we can stand in unity for blessings, we can stand in unity for the things that Jesus cares about. He cares about people, unity to show the world that we are one in mind, faith & spirit.
What suicide victims don't need is added help. Most (if not all) are burden with some level of pain. Their means of coping may be different. One of the easiest ways to help is to listen to them - let them vent. After you listen, you can pray (please do it showing that you care and that Jesus cares). The minute you criticize, talk down to them, not consider their feelings, blame them for their situation or for feeling that way, you are setting the scene up for a victim to isolate, not say a word, put on a plastic smile, and then take their lives. Most victims who take their lives don't advertise it. If you have to invade their space, do it with love, offer an ear. Yes, those who commit suicide make the ultimate decision, but to say they're selfish does not help anybody. Those who lost that loved one will grieve (if they have a heart) and those that died were grieving before they took their last breath.
Suicide victims need a hug and an ear like everyone else. They don't want to die, they really want to live. When pushed to the limit, they will feel unloved.
One final world on selfishness: you see, we innately are selfish, but to project your selfishness onto others is having their blood on your hands. Sadly, our personal selfishness is causing the death of many people (whether physical, mental, financial or spiritual).
I pray that we show more love in a world that's waxing cold and not caring about the beauty of life.
The Mayne Man