Being a Christian does not make you immune to depression, hopelessness, and suicide. At 21 years of age, I was so depressed and desperate for a way out that I found myself crouched on the couch, my white-knuckled hand holding a gun to my head. By God’s grace, my roommate happened to come early from work that day, and I put down my weapon when I heard his car pull up. Several weeks would go by before I finally talked to my roommate about my depression, and what his early arrival that day circumvented.
Depression, Hopelessness, and Suicide Are Not an Uncommon Story
Friends, my story is not an uncommon one. But when I relay these events to my Christian friends, they often react as if it is. As I share about how mentally unstable I was during that time of life, they reason that I must have not known the Lord, and they rejoice that I do now.
I, too, rejoice that I have God in my life; without Him, I literally wouldn’t be here. However, even after I met Christ, there was a season when I drifted far away from God where I was again plagued with thoughts of suicide. Even though I did not make another attempt, I did battle with thoughts of escapism and self-violence. Although it is unthinkable to many Christians, being a disciple of Jesus does not make you immune from depression, hopelessness and yes, even suicide.
In today’s world, the church has normalized most “struggles” humans go through. If someone has a porn or lust addiction, we are quick to extend our compassionate prayers, help them get connected in a support group and offer computer software that will block seducing images. For those who are ready to quit their marriage or walk on out a family, there are workshops and counseling services. Temptation, gluttony, debt, gossiping, pride — the “acceptable” list of problems the Church is willing to address goes on and on. Personal issues like these are met with a warm and extended hand; they are the types of downfalls people feel comfortable going to the pastor, support group or even the altar for.