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By Dr Bruce Pringle
The University of California Los Angeles Medical staff was shocked by its latest suicide victim.
This 22 year old was no ordinary person. He was one of the world's greatest, but he lay dying,
having shot himself in the head at close range. At 3:30 in the morning, January 28th, Freddie
Prinze, the star of the T.V. comedy "Chico and the Man," placed a gun to his head and pulled the
trigger while his business manager stared in unbelief.
Prinze was well on his way to becoming the greatest T.V. personality of our time. He was noted for his humor and yet the laughter that once had caused millions to laugh, had gone out of his life. Feverishly some of the best doctors in the United States tried to save his life, but to no avail. Why would a young man with so much talent destroy his own life when he was at the top of the ladder in the movie industry?
Ernest Hemingway, the famous writer, was born in 1899 and was the ideal 20th Century man. At the early age of 25 he sipped champagne in Paris, enjoyed well-publicized game hunts in Africa and even hunted grizzly bear in the American Northwest. At the age of 65, having it all: wine, women and song, a distinguished literary career, and bull fights in Spain, he chose to end his life. Like Freddie Prinze, he placed a gun to his head and blew it off. He left a note saying, "Life is one damn thing after another." Why would someone as famous as Ernest Hemingway destroy his own life when it appeared that everything was going well for him?
In reports that I have read, Judy Garland, the famous movie actress, reportedly attempted suicide twenty-one times. Richard Burton, by his own admission, said that he had tried to drink himself to death with alcohol.
We, in the Western World, seem to think that psychiatry is the answer to all our problems. In fact, this profession is acclaimed as the answer to set people free from emotional and mental destruction. Sigmund Freud was one of the greatest known psychiatrists in our modern world. In fact, he is often acclaimed as the founder of modern psychiatry. Yet isn't it ironical that seven out of ten of Freud's closest associates committed suicide? It is obvious that psychiatry does not have the answers to man's basic needs.
In Canada suicide is the leading cause of death among those 15-25 years of age. We seem to think that those on the top of the ladder financially, professionally, academically, etc. have the answers. Yet when you look at the statistics, they suggest that the psychiatrist, policeman and lawyer have the highest suicide rate when compared with the rest of the population. Homosexuals, as well have a very high rate of suicide within their group. We need to ask ourselves the question, "What are the reasons for suicide? Why do people destroy themselves?"
We are often told by the so-called experts that suicide is an alternative to life. Friend, suicide is never an alternative to life. It may be an alternative to death, but not to life.
We know from the newspapers, television, magazines, and radio that there are many ways of destroying oneself. Therefore, I believe it is important to know some of the warning signs that should alert us to someone contemplating suicide. They are:
1. Threats of suicide.
2. A drastic change in behavior (ex. continual depression to extreme joy).
3. Loss of sleep or extreme tiredness.
4. A decline in work productivity.
5. An increase in smoking, drinking or taking drugs.
6. Giving away possessions with statements such as, "I won't need this anymore."
None of these signs should be taken lightly. Any one of them is a call for help and we need to be alert
and ready to respond. Perhaps you or someone you know is thinking about suicide. You need to know
that THERE IS AN ALTERNATIVE to this act. There are steps that you can follow that will not only bring
freedom from destroying yourself, but lasting victory for this life and eternity!
First, you need to realize that you are a very important person! You are a somebody! You are not on
planet Earth just because of a biological union between a man and a woman. Rather, you are a
uniquely designed human being created by a loving God! A famous King by the name of David, said
hundreds of years ago, "You (God) have formed my inward parts; you have covered (woven) me in my
mother's womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made... My frame was not hidden
from You... Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written,
The days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them." (Psalm 139:13-16 - an Old
Testament book of the Bible) God makes this astonishing statement, "Let Us make man in Our image,
according to Our likeness." "So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created
them." God has created every one of us in His image, but we have been marred by sin.
Secondly, you need to realize that this physical life is only the beginning! In the book of Job we
read, "If a man dies, shall he live again?" (Job 14:14) A godly man named Paul said,
"There will be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust." (Acts 24:15) The
writer of Hebrews said, "It is appointed for men to die once, but AFTER this the judgement."
(9:27) Therefore, suicide or death by any means is NOT the end!
Thirdly, you need to realize that you have an enemy which the Bible calls "Satan" or "the devil."
He is described in 1 Peter 5:8 as "a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour." Hebrews 1:14
tells us that the devil "had the power of death" Satan's co-horts are demons or unclean
spirits. In Mark 9 we read about a man's son who was demon-possessed. In verse 22 the father says,
"Often he (the unclean spirit) has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy
him!" Satan may be trying to destroy you by means of suicide!
Finally, you need to know that the Lord Jesus Christ can save you from suicide, and give you freedom
from guilt. Jesus said in John 11:25, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who BELIEVES in Me,
though he may die (physically), he shall live (eternally with God)." In Hebrews 2:14 we find
that through His death on the cross, the Lord Jesus destroyed the power of the devil who had
authority over death. "For God so loved the world (you) that He gave His only begotten Son, that
whoever BELIEVES in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) The Lord Jesus
invites you to receive Him into your heart and life. Revelation 3:20 says, "Behold, I stand at
the door (of your heart) and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to
him and dine with him, and he with Me." "But as many as received Him, to them He gave the
right to become the children of God, even to those who believe in His name." (John 1:12)
Friend, perhaps you have thought about committing suicide. You DON'T HAVE to! Jesus Christ can
transform your life. Admit to God that you are a sinner. "There is none righteous, no, not
one...Their feet are swift to shed blood; destruction and misery are in their ways; and the way of
peace they have not known... for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans
3:10, 15-17, 23). Acknowledge that only God can save you. To invite Him into your heart and life,
talk to God something like this:"Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I am a sinner. I thank You for
creating me in Your image. I ask You, now, to come into my heart and life. Make me a new person on
the inside. Thank You for forgiving my sins, for giving me freedom from guilt. Thank You for filling
me with Your Holy Spirit. Make my life Yours. Amen."
As a new Christian begin reading the New Testament part of the Bible. Talk to your Heavenly Father every day. Find a church that loves the Lord Jesus and the Word of God. Share your experience with someone else.
Perhaps you have never considered suicide, but some of your friends may be thinking about it. By sharing this good news with them, you can truly, eternally help your friend.
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