For the last sixteen months I have been working on completing a task I had thought of since my youth but never expected for anything to come of it. Many years ago I tried writing a novel, and while I had ideas for it it just wasn’t there. Everything about it was pure labor, no joy, and other than to say I had done it there was no purpose to it.
Four years ago I began to think quite a bit on the topic of suicide. Not to go and try it again but to investigate it. I wondered if the Lord was really dealing with me to write on it or if it was just me. As a result I put it, a lot, but the thought kept coming back. When it would I would do a little research on it, more to satisfy my curiosity than anything else. Afterward I would put the material away for a few months until it started up again. That is until last February when it felt like God had put all of my plans on the back burner and told me to stop stalling and get to work on this project. At the time I didn’t know to what end, if it would be for a book or a series of sermons, or what. I wanted it to be for a book but understood that I needed to just get to work and see where God lead.
Each chapter was at the initial time viewed as a possible sermon that I was just writing out. The deeper I got with each individual who had committed suicide in the Bible the more I became convinced that this material could easily serve as both sermon material and as chapters in a book.
The week of Thanksgiving I handed the book over to my pastor to review. When I had originally approached him about the idea and what it might turn into he was excited with the possibility. He also had confessed to me in that meeting something that made me realize that he would be invaluable in helping with; he had never really studied the subject of suicide. With his vast amount of knowledge of the Bible he would be able to make sure that my doctrine was sound and by not knowing the subject if he walked away from it saying he had learned from it then I had indeed it the mark. Of which he did.
In February of this year I submitted my manuscript to Xulon Press and a couple of weeks later they returned their review to me for correction. I asked a friend of mine to work on the editing, which was a rather large task for her given that she is in college, dealing with a family, and a ton of medical issues. She did prevail in spite of my over usage of the semi-colon button and that I gave her a copy with only two citations in it (at the time I didn’t know how the publisher wanted it done) this drove her nuts!
Today is The Next Step, today my manuscript will be sent back to Xulon where they will make a final check and good Lord willing begin the type setting process. If all goes according to plan my book “Suicide: The Bible and Today” will be ready around September/October.
The following is an excerpt from my book, to give you a little feel for what is coming.
There seems to be an issue when it comes to suicide. Some people are afraid that if we openly discuss the subject, people may think we are glorifying the event. Others worry about copycat occurrences. Still, others find it is just too taboo and shouldn’t be talked about, no matter the reason. While others believe that this darkness needs to have light shined upon it.
However we may feel, it is in the Bible and suicide is on the rise worldwide. It is a subject that needs to be brought out more. If the Bible can give us specific instances of suicide, then God is trying to tell us something. Everything in His word is there for a reason, and the Bible is indeed the owner’s manual for life. In that manual just like any other manual, are do’s and do not’s in order to maintain peak performance. Why? No one is immune to suicide or its effects. Everyone, from kids who were bullied at school, popular kids who can’t handle having something go wrong in their lives, and even church pastors have had a thought or two. Some have even acted upon it, including the church pastors. Suicide is not a monster in the closet it is out in the open and has been for longer than we may care to think.
The 1828 Webster’s Dictionary defined suicide as:” self murder; the act of designedly destroying one’s own life. To constitute suicide, the person must be of years of discretion and of a sound mind”. The 2006 Webster’s Dictionary defines suicide as: “the taking of one’s own life; ruin brought on by one’s own actions”.
Life is going to include moments of hardship, stress, and pain. While endurance is a requirement of life, there are too many who view these problems as a reason for taking a short-cut out of life; that somehow suicide is a viable option. The thing about those troublesome areas of life, if we don’t go through them we will never experience the blessings God has waiting on the other side. Too often, the suicidal person won’t talk about it because they are ashamed of these thoughts or of what has brought them to this point. There are even times when it is a matter of them not having the words to say.
If they are not talking, what can we do then? That is the reason for this book. We need to know the warning signs. It is up to us to act accordingly; ask the questions, observe their actions, and above all genuinely listen. As the old saying goes, God gave us two ears so we can listen twice as much as we speak.
In all honesty, this book is not meant to cover everything about suicide. We will be looking at suicides that are found in the Bible to gather as much understanding as possible. Each chapter typically flows into “HIS MOMENT”; the moment that the events of that individuals life will have built up toward; either to choose suicide or to continue on with life.
Let me be clear up front. I have no fancy education or funny letters after my name. My intent is to look at the suicides that are given to us in God’s word. There are facts and figures that I have learned from studying this subject that I would like to give along the way to help each of us to better understand these suicides, so that everyone can better understand what is there and how it may apply to life.
Also let me be equally clear if you are feeling suicidal, know someone who has talked about it, or is suicidal get help now. Call 911; call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Suicide is not a joking matter; and should be taken very seriously.