What are signs that someone may commit suicide? What are strong indicators that they may be serious? What tips may we find from the Bible that can help people deal with suicidal thoughts?
Signs of Suicide
You would be surprised at the number of celebrities that have committed suicide or have contemplated it at least once. It is normal for nearly everyone to go through times of deep depression – a dark night of the soul – but it is serious when a person stays there. When deep, dark thoughts and ongoing depression are long lasting, this is a time to seek immediate help. You or someone you know may be suffering from clinical depression which is treatable with medication and counseling. Many times there is simply a brain chemical imbalance, brain irregularity, or brain damage that has caused deep depression resulting in thoughts of suicide. The good news is that it is treatable. It is not a moral weakness or a character flaw but there is an actual cause for more deep depressions that cause a person to think about suicide.
There are several signs that indicate a person is at risk for committing suicide. One of the signs is when someone tells another person and gives specific information on how they are going to do it. It is not a vague description of ending their life, it is precise and detailed. When someone has a plan and gives out the plan and gives someone (by a note or otherwise) direct evidence of the ways that they are going to end their life, take it seriously because this is clearly a warning sign. If you are thinking this or know of someone that is and they are talking about specific methods that they are going to use or want to use, take this warning seriously. Don’t put it off as just a passing mood that they’re going through and they’ll get through it. How can you be sure? If you don’t try to talk to and help someone that is sending you this message, this may reinforce the idea that no one cares and so why not end their life? They may actually be trying to reach out for help in the only way that they know how – in quiet desperation – and you may be their only lifeline. Take it seriously and tell them that you do. The fact is that 90% of suicide victims suffer from clinical depression or a diagnosable mental health disorder which is treatable.
Other signs include:
- a complete withdrawl from friends and family,
- uncontrolled anger or rage,
- a sense of futility, apathy, hopelessness, or helplessness,
- rapid mood swings,
- romanticizing the idea or thoughts of death or suicide or having a death wish,
- having served in wars and been victims of or witnessed violence and death (like many veterans have),
- having been frequently incarcerated,
- keeping or having a fascination of firearms or other weapons,
- having had or experienced family violence or have a family history of suicide and/or mental illness,
- having had or experienced sexual abuse in their family,
- have overwhelming debt,
- are abusing controlled or prescription drugs &/or have excessive alcohol use,
- quitting work or school or performing poorly at work or school,
- Lack of interest in any activities like sports, parties, recreation, shame or guilt, writing out a will, and giving their valuables away.
The good news is that about 3 of every 4 people who are contemplating suicide give warning signs and most try to communicate these to someone they know.
Guilt Versus Conviction
Just about every person I know of and even those who are celebrities have gone through depression and yes, even entertained the idea of suicide. I am no exception. There almost seem to be voices whispering to us that we are no good, that we don’t deserve to live, and we have no real value and so who would miss us? What I have learned from experience is that there is a difference for Christians. There are messages from the Enemy and messages from the Holy Spirit. Here are the differences and how to know which message is from whom.
The Enemy always makes things seem hopeless. He sends you signals that you are no good, you have no value, and you are not worth even occupying a human body. You have no chance at success in this life. There is no possible way that you’ll ever amount to anything. There is no way that God would ever save someone like you. You have no chance at making it to heaven and so why not just give up? You might as well do whatever you want because you’re not going to be saved anyway, so why not enjoy the sin while you are at it since you are not going to be going to heaven anyway? The Enemy sends a deadly message that suicide will ease your pain and so why not end this misery right now? There is a total condemnation in the Enemy’s messages.
The Holy Spirit on the other hand seems to tell you that what you are doing is wrong. You would be better off not doing what you are doing. He tries to stop you from doing something wrong even before you do it. However, there is no condemnation, there is always hope, there is a conviction about something being wrong. It is not a judgmental conviction but a conviction that it is best for your own good if you avoid doing something in particular. And even when you do what you know to be wrong, you want to make it right with God. You feel remorse and want to confess to God your sins and have all guilt removed. Then, after confessing, you feel better and your fellowship is restored once again.
7 Biblical Tips for Preventing Suicide
Understand the Depths of God’s Love for You
God so loved you that He sent His only Son to die for you so that you could have eternal life and not have the wrath of God placed upon you (Rom 6:23, 3:23). What we deserved, Jesus received (John 3:16).
Understand What God Thinks of You
God has daily thoughts of you that can not even be counted like the grains of the sand (Psalm 139:17-18) and has actually inscribed your name on the palms of His hands and your dwelling place [where you live] is always before His eyes (Isaiah 49:14).
Understand God Has Plans For You
God has plans for us too wonderful to even describe (Psalm 40:5) and these plans include His purpose to prosper us (Jer 29:11, Psalm 115:9).
Understand God Predestined You Before Your Birth
God not only predetermined to save you (Rom 8:30) but He chose you before the earth even existed to adopt you as His own son or daughter (Eph 1:5).
Understand That God Came to Rescue You and Die for You
God sent Jesus, the Son of God, to come and rescue you from death (John 3:16) and by no mere chance or accident He sought you out (Luke 19:10) and ransomed His own life to save yours (Mark 10:45).
Understand that God Choose You to Be Rulers in the Next World
It is shocking to many that not only did God come to die for us, to save us, but to make us kings and priests in the Kingdom of Heaven (1 Peter 2:9) and we will actually rule with Christ (2 Tim 2:12, Rom 8:17).
Understand that God Promises to Supply Every Need We Have
God has given His unbreakable word to supply every need we will ever have (Phil 4:19) and we will never, ever need to beg for anything, even our daily sustenance (Psalm 37:25, Isaiah 41:17).
Seek Immediate Professional Help
You have seen just how infinite God’s love is for you, so much so that He sent the One and only Son to die for you, that He will never leave you, never let you beg for bread, has thoughts of you each and every day, has plans for you that include ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ in the world to come, and that you are exceedingly precious to Him. I pray that you will place your trust in Him for He cares for you and He cares what happens to you. He never wishes you to come to any harm and if He could speak to you right now, and you or someone you know is suffering from a severe depression and contemplating suicide, He would want you to seek help. Everyone needs help at one time or another.
As I said earlier, those who are contemplating suicide are crying out for help. Don’t ignore them or if it is you, don‘t ignore your feelings. You are worth saving. Ask for help or if you know someone who is talking about suicide, have them seek professional help at once. There could be physical causes to your thoughts of suicide and these causes may well be treatable. If you are considering this, call a highly regarded helpline at 1-800-suicide (800-874-2433). Talk to someone. If you know of someone who has or is talking about suicide tell others, seek the help of others, call the helpline yourself to see what you can do to help. I beg you to reconsider. You or someone you know is just too precious to lose.
Looking for some more Christian advice and tips? Check out these articles:
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YouTube video “Don’t Give Up” by Calling Glory