A few weeks ago, an old friend posted the following on social media: “For parents, realizing that you are not the loudest influence in your children’s’ lives is very hard.” That afternoon her teenage daughter took her own life. My heart grieves every time I see photos on social media as the family mourns, and I’m thrown back in time to when I sought to end the internal struggle that I myself battled.
As regular church-goers, it’s easy to feel immune to the stigma of suicide. Believing that Jesus is the source of all hope, it can be hard to understand how one who knows Jesus can feel hopeless. And when it happens, we are left confused and speechless.
In John 16, Christ reminds His followers that in this world we will have troubles. Life is guaranteed to have struggles: illness, mistakes made, unemployment, infidelity, loss of a loved one…the list goes on. Circumstances we face can cause doubt, regret, insecurity and more. So, how do you find hope in the midst of a chaotic life? How do you cling to the truth that Christ is the source of all hope and strength to help you persevere through hard times?
In this broken world in which we live -the society it breeds- screams lies at each of us. Our sin separates us from Holy God, and the purpose of the lies is to keep us separated from Him. Praise God that He sent His Son to make a way for reconciliation and relationship with God. Not only this, He has called us into family with other believers to live life, speak truth and lift each other up in prayer at all times, both good and bad. When the lies get too loud, we have a tendency to cover our ears and retreat from the world. What happens then, is that we close off the chance to hear truth and love from those around us, and eventually all we will hear are the lies…and start to believe them.
I want encourage you in three ways: first, don’t cover your ears! If you are feeling attacked, depressed, shamed or hopeless, find someone to speak the truth to you! You may have to walk through the noise, but listen for the truth. Community groups, Recovery and Counseling, and DNA groups are great places to get connected to truth. Surround yourself with people who are willing to dig through the mess to find the root of why you believe the lies.
Second, listen. It can be hard to tell if someone struggles with depression. Don’t assume the smiles and happy posts mean everything is good. Listen to others when they talk, question the things they say, and remind them of the unconditional love of Christ.
Finally, speak truth! Iron sharpens iron. Living life together isn’t just having a meal. It’s being willing to press in on each other, to help expose the vulnerability and point others to the strengthening hope found only in Christ. Be louder than the lies!
In a world full of lies we must surround ourselves with those speaking gospel truth to us, that we can live the life God has called us to live. In a world full of lies, we must listen prayerfully to those whom God brings across our paths. In a world full of lies, we must speak gospel truth to all around us so that others may know and be reminded of their value found in Christ alone. Let the truth be louder than the lies.