Out of respect to the deceased and the family members, and with the view my facts are from our beloved internet media news, I do not wish to make judgement or comment on the details behind this enfolding suicide story.
I however got wind of this story through a close person of ours who had met the deceased. And the story was again mentioned at a recent Mental Health conference Chuck and I attended where suicide was the main topic.
Firstly, I wish to extend my deepest condolences to the deceased family. I am sincerely praying for you even though I do not know you – wife and dependent in particular. And to all who have lost someone by suicide, you have my sincerest sympathy. They are not easy shoes to walk in at all.
It is said for every suicide, there are at least 6 other people affected. Personally, I think with every suicide, a nation is affected. Here am I thousands of miles away deeply saddened by the news of my blog today…
Few weeks ago, a young banker killed himself. It happened in Nigeria. If you Google the story, it won’t take you more than 2 seconds to find it. There is something I want to drive home in this particular story. The deceased banker apparently went to see his priest before the alleged incident. After that, he put a gun to his head and ended his life, some say, right there in the church vicinity!
Depending on what you read, stories state that apparently he had issues with his work. However, the employers have quickly discounted this. We may never know the actual ‘why’ behind what led this young man to take such a violent act against himself. And is that not a common thread with suicide? Sadly, so.
However, there are lots of people affected here. And as we can all imagine, deeply:
- Dependents. I understand the deceased had one child.
- The priest
- Extended family members, friends and acquaintances
- Work colleagues
- Church members
- Others that hear the story
The banker was said to be well-to-do, came from a family with a good name, and he was highly successful.
Was the fear of tainting his family name due to whatever pressures, have led him to take such a deliberate act? Could pressures from work, lead someone to put a gun to their head? What were his thoughts as he took the gun and drove to the church to see his priest? How long had he been feeling depressed, hopeless and suicidal?
And what drives someone to utter hopelessness even after confessing to his priest, or going to see his priest? This banker had to be at a very low point in his life and could not see anyway out. That can be the only explanation. Or by the time one is at the point of suicide, there is a crowd of confused, tangled thoughts.
I wonder, did confessing to his priest, in his eyes, make him feel he had settled with God? Could he therefore die with a clear conscience? Were his thoughts so clouded, that he thought that even ‘God’ could not help him at this point?
Or did He feel, that it was better to leave this life and either start enjoying the after life or face the consequence of his decisions (depending on where he believed he was going)?
No one knows. I think I am right to say no one really knows the full details of what goes on in anyone’s mind that drives them to suicide.
But this is something that is critical, when suicide happens right at the church door, whether literally or not, it shakes everyone. Rick Warren, a preacher that has inspired millions, was himself shaken when his son killed himself. Evelyn Roberts, the wife of world renowned evangelist, Oral Roberts, called suicide a double grief after the death of her own son by suicide.
When suicide strikes the church, it seems to shake the Church (as a body) at it’s foundation. Why? It seems to go against the grain of the teaching of the Church. Because the church is a place of hope. It is a place where many go to as their last bus stop often when everything else has failed.
When someone dies by suicide in the church, it may cause some to question their own beliefs. It may cause some to even backslide! By the way, if you have not read my post on which I spoke on this very subject before, please do so here.
But does that mean the church fails when someone dies by suicide?
I think not. If not, Jesus would have been the first failure.
Judas died by suicide by hanging himself shortly after Jesus was crucified. He focused on the hopelessness of what he had done. Judas could not forgive himself. It was the end for him. His Master, his friend had died, and he had caused it.
Now, I am not, I repeat, not comparing the young banker to Judas. Especially as a traitor. I am merely saying that sometimes people focus on the hopelessness of their situation, and even one who had been directly with Jesus, was one typical example who did precisely that, i.e. Judas.
Peter, another disciple, had denied Jesus three times. He wept like a baby when he realized what he had done. But did not kill himself. Why? He had hope.
Hope. That is what is the first thing that is missing when suicide thoughts come to the victim.
Hope. That is the first thing that is lost when suicide happens in the church.
When suicide strikes the church, it is important to restore hope. Jesus, on His resurrection, told Peter to feed His sheep. In other words, see that there was a new life ahead. The crucifixion may have seemed a conspiracy but there was hope to come.
Hope, is the order for the day when suicide strikes. It is the order for the day when suicide strikes in the Church. Hope is what we need in the immediate days after a suicide incident.
We will talk on when suicide strikes the church again soon. And look at what can the church do to minimize suicide among its members.
If you are feeling suicidal, or knows someone who might be, check our suicide hotline.