When Death is Enticing… Choose Life
By Crystal Renaud
I have but a few words add to the already very long dialogue taking place right now after the death of actor Robin Williams. I know not all will agree with me, but this is my truth based on my own experiences. Thanks for stopping by.
When a tragedy like this happens many cry “mental illness!” and “depression!” as a way to try and understand. It is normal for people to scramble for answers to a senseless act. And because no one chooses the path of mental illness and it is a long-suffering battle, it makes sense and gives an excuse to the plaguing questions.
Less than 2 years ago now, my grandpa took his own life in the back bedroom while my grandma and uncle were on the couch watching a baseball game. No warning. No cries for help. Nothing but the sound of a single gunshot firing off on an October evening in Texas.
While I know mental illness plays a part in suicide, this world is very, very broken. With very, very broken people in it in need of a very, very real Savior. Can depression influence suicide? Absolutely. No sane and rational person, thinking sane and rationally, does that kind of thing. But suicide is absolutely a choice — with a very spiritual influence. And those who suffer from mental illness are ripe for the picking.
Just like the choice to sin, the enemy can make anything seem quite enticing.
“Do this and you won’t hurt anymore.”
“Do this and won’t be a burden to others.”
“Do this and you’ll be free.”
No one but the devil himself could pull the trigger and bring the end to a life. And when the act is done I believe the devil sits back and watches as loved ones are left behind with more questions than answers:
“Why didn’t he tell us he was so depressed?”
“What could I have done to prevent this?”
“Why did God let this happen?”
The enemy of our souls is not cunning or clever. But he is a master deceiver. Seeking whom he may devour. And he doesn’t care how famous you are, how many lives you have influenced, or if you have ever battled with mental illness. But he will absolutely entice those who hurt with a way out from the pain — by whatever means necessary — sex, drugs, yes — even death. It is the voice you choose to listen to that makes the greatest difference.
Because God’s voice speaks life.
I’ve suffered from depression since my very young teens. I have been on at least 3 different types of anti-depressants (that I can remember). I have more than once looked at a razor blade or a bottle pills like an appealing way out. Even as recently as just a few months ago a thought like that crept its way in. Again, mental illness is a long-suffering battle.
But… I choose to live.
I choose to honor the life God has given me to live.
I choose to listen to HIS voice and to HIS truth.
So as we mourn a well loved actor, let us not speak about things for which we know nothing about. Let us not glamorize or belittle what suicide really is. Suicide is a permanent solution to temporary problems. Suicide is influenced by mental illness, but it is absolutely a choice. It is choice to say goodbye. And it is absolutely a spiritual one.
Peace be with you.
“My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20
Crystal, I have the highest respect for you and am blessed by you willingness to share your personal journey. I am also grateful that you would approach the subject and apply a scriptural filter. I even appreciate you “calling out” a cowardly choice – because there are times when people view suicide as the “easy” way out (though I doubt it really is). I’m totally tracking with you when it comes to the devil with enticement & temptation.
I do think, however, that when you stated, “No sane and rational person, thinking sane and rationally, does that kind of thing,” you moved on too quickly. We don’t often acknowledge that mental illness even exists in the Church, and we fail to understand the degrees of severity. The scientific community is only beginning to understand the way the brain functions through neuroscience and I think we must be very careful in painting death by suicide as a choice with too broad of strokes.
If we’re to read Genesis with any type of literal interpretation, it wasn’t God’s original plan for us to be marred & scarred. Some of it comes our way because of other peoples choice, some because of our own. Isn’t it prudent to reserve judgment for what may or may not have been in a person’s heart & mind for the One who actually knows?
My hope is that we can create an atmosphere of grace & truth in the Church so that we’re all safe to share the real pains that can make death seem like valid choice. You are obviously familiar with that concept! I see you do that in your life & ministry and I’m grateful for your courage to talk about the tough things in life! Blessings!
Thank you, Kiersten. You KNOW that I respect you and blessed by you. As far as your remarks… I firmly believe the Church has to play a more active role in understanding mental illness and making it a safe place to seek help, hope, and healing. Currently, it is not. There is still far too much stigma. I also believe there can be circumstances where suicide is NOT a choice (for example, an individual who is prescribed the wrong cocktail of medications; or a person who suffers from a more extreme form of mental illness such a schizophrenia). I just fear that we blame suicide on mental illness more than we admit it is an act of free will. And when it is only perceived as a result of mental illness, perhaps it gives those who suffer a license or permission to call it quits because they “didn’t have a choice.” Especially when they can see how much a celebrity is celebrated in death.
Excellent, sensitive and insightful. Thank you, Crystal. I couldn’t agree more.
Thank you for your kind words.
Thank you for saying this. I hate that when suicide is glamorized it encourages others to consider itas an option. There needs to be love and mercy given in a situation but there also needs to be a voice standing up and discouraging this as an option.
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