Suicide prevention, and beyond, through God’s love

Today’s contributor shares how a friend was freed from recurring impulses to kill herself as she grew conscious of her innate value as a child of God.

Christian Science Perspective audio edition
Loading the player...

Today is World Suicide Prevention Day, and this year’s theme is “Working Together to Prevent Suicide.”

That’s a vital goal. Having lost a family member to suicide some years back, I feel deep compassion for anyone struggling with such aggressive urges – and gratitude for those involved in preventing them from being acted on.

Yet prevention is just one part of what’s needed. Everyone deserves freedom from the darkened mental states that can sometimes spill over into the urge for self-destruction. Each of these, in its own way, would seem to turn on its head the sense of our inherent worth that can be found within all of us, even if it feels as if it has been drowned out.

But the drone of depression and doubt that contradicts this better sense of ourselves can’t continue to do so when we begin to realize we have a choice of what thoughts we listen to. We can listen for that sense of worth because it comes to us from a source that, although often unknown or unacknowledged, is constantly communicating to us. It’s the voice of God, divine Love, our creator, described in the Bible.

For instance, if we listen for Love’s voice today, we can hear, in some form appropriate for us, what the prophet Zephaniah heard and conveyed to the people of Jerusalem: “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17).

At every moment the radiant love of God is still ever present and valuing us, His offspring. Even when it doesn’t feel that way, this is our real being. In contrast, the material details that seem to be our lot in life are ultimately not a true depiction of either our life or our worth. But to feel that confidence and freedom we need to better understand the Life and Love that is God, as a friend learned after living with recurring suicidal urges for some years.

The pivotal point was when she learned of her relation to God through Christian Science. But she had a glorious glimpse of this along the way when she intuitively discerned there was more to her than her troubled life, and then felt the presence of an unfailing and infallible love supporting her.

A little later she found out that an acquaintance was a Christian Scientist. That impelled her to read and reread the Christian Science textbook, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” The spiritual, healing ideas in Mary Baker Eddy’s book, based on the life and teachings of Christ Jesus, had a profound effect. She once told me, “As I read, the room seemed to be filled with pure light. I was held in that ‘secret place of the most High’ that the Bible talks about (Psalms 91:1) and felt as if I was being spoken to directly in my heart of hearts.”

Up till then she’d still had repetitive impulses to kill herself. But she lost all faith in self-destruction as a means of change as she grew conscious of her purely spiritual identity and relation to the Divine.

That led to her full freedom from further suicidal desires and brought to light an enduring joy that enables her to touch and uplift the lives of others. From this vantage point she recently shared her story on Facebook, concluding, “There is a way to give up what appears to be our challenged life along with all the regrets and fears and bad choices we associate with it. But it’s not through death. It’s by finding the true sense of Life as God.”

We’re never left alone to work out of darkened thinking. God’s love is with us, lifting us out of the mental states that would veil the true view of how loved, worthy, and capable we are.

Every moment can be a moment of yielding to this true view of ourselves, and as this happens, we can sing, along with the Psalmist, “I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord” (Psalms 118:17).

Adapted from an editorial published in the Sept. 10, 2018, issue of the Christian Science Sentinel.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.