The recent Texas teen school shooter planned to slaughter scores and then commit suicide. Nothing unusual about the plan as impressionable young people are committing suicide at alarming rates.
At the same time, Netflix heralds a second offering of the series “13 Reasons Why,” a popular program documenting events leading to the suicide of a fictional teenage character. After last season’s series, one study revealed there was a 19 percent uptick in Google searches related to suicide. It suggests that vulnerable and impressionable teens are influenced by the irresponsible show.
Pull the plug on the program
“I just can’t take it anymore. Life is too difficult. There’s no hope for me. I’m going to kill myself!”
Suicide as an acceptable solution to the seemingly insurmountable pressures of life is becoming increasingly prevalent among youth today. What’s shocking is that more physicians and politicians are getting on board with supporting “death with dignity” for young and old alike when they feel hopeless, crushed, trapped or depressed.
In the classic film, “The Hiding Place,” Corrie Ten Boom felt there was no way out of the incredible suffering and pending extermination in the Nazi death camp. At a defining moment, her dying sister, Betsy, told her, “There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still.” Corrie was miraculously released and went on to serve God for decades. If someone hasn’t been genuinely transformed by the grace of God and learned to depend totally upon Him amidst life’s adversities, however, words like these ring hollow.
Moments ago I had a “divine appointment” leading up to my praying with a Christian leader whose son just died a tragic death from a drug overdose. This follows interaction last week with a Christian woman whose 16-year-old son was killed instantly from a foolish prank when he was thrown off the hood of a car. Both were devastating tragedies, yet the ironclad faith of the surviving individuals is what carries them through.
What about millions of people who don’t have a vital relationship with God through the person of Jesus Christ? The sad reality is, they fall prey to despondency and yield to the escapism of suicide. Our duty is to reach them with the Gospel.
Culture of life or death?
With senseless killings, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and infanticide advancing around us, we either succumb to a culture of death where life is no longer sacred or we work to cultivate a culture of life.
Witnessing the downward spiral away from honoring human life, our family was taught to recognize every person as created by God and in His image and thereby worthy of respect from womb to tomb. We receive our precious widows into our homes; speak up for the unborn, disabled, elderly and sick; participate in initiatives celebrating the dignity of human life; and, joyfully embrace the adoption alternative.
We adopted a Korean child. One of our sons just welcomed their third adopted child into their home, a precious 2-year-old boy from China. Our other son married a single mom raising two small children, and now they’re a family of six.
Christians everywhere are helping re-establish a culture of life in America. This stands in stark contrast to disturbing developments regarding an accelerating culture of death gaining ground. The astute are perceptive to what’s happening.
- This month a 104-year-old Australian scientist traveled to Switzerland for assisted suicide.
- The suicide rate for teenage girls has hit a 40-year high, according to the CDC.
- Babies with Down syndrome are “mysteriously” disappearing across Europe and now in the U.S., in spite of the fact they can live healthy and happy lives until about 60 years old. (The termination rate is 100 percent in Iceland; 98 percent in Denmark; and in France it’s almost 80 percent.) Was it coincidence or providence that the new Gerber “spokesbaby” is a handsome little boy with Down syndrome chosen from 140,000 who sought the title?
- This year in Canada, where euthanasia was legalized in 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conveyed chilling comments regarding speech restrictions on pro-life people, “not in line with where we are at as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society.”
- Like so many choosing to “play God” in terminating their lives, Fidel Castro Jr., not long ago killed himself because of struggles with depression. Seems not a week goes by when we don’t hear of news like this regarding someone we know or a celebrity, sports figure or business leader.
- In the aftermath of a mass shooting or domestic homicide, how many times have we heard, “He then shot himself.”
I’m currently reading the just-released book “Robin,” giving readers the tragic portrait of comic genius Robin Williams who eventually ended his life by hanging himself.
Americans must awaken!
Multitudes of pastors and people prefer steering clear of the brutal realities facing us in our time. While the storm clouds are looming on the horizon, it’s more crowd-pleasing and financially profitable to stay in the “safe zone” ignoring the barbarians at the gate. Someone “pulling the plug” on our life is no longer a remote possibility!
Here’s the deal: Proponents of casual no-fault divorce, abortion-on-demand, gay marriage, transgender initiatives, marijuana legalization and now the “right to die” movement would be vanquished swiftly if the pulpits of America were aflame with preachers of righteousness proclaiming the transformational message of the Gospel alongside informing, equipping and motivating their church to stand up and speak out for biblically informed justice. The “Bullseye 30-Day Challenge” (endorsed by senior leaders nationwide) helps us all to arise to the crisis in which we find ourselves.
Eighty-three percent of our American populace professes to be Christian. Ninety-two percent of our senators and congressional leaders proclaim themselves to be Christians. Barna Research shows 90 percent of evangelical church members want to be equipped on today’s “hot button” issues, but only 10 percent of pastors will do it for fear of losing tithing attenders. What’s wrong with this picture?
Jesus Christ confronted injustice and sin while challenging His followers to advance the Kingdom rule of God and be “salt” and “light” rescuing the lost from deception and damnation. Biblical examples like Moses, Esther, Daniel, Peter and Paul inspire us through the corridors of time not to shrink back but proclaim righteousness in the land. John Wesley, William Booth, Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King Jr., Chuck Colson and others engaged the people of their day with the gospel and social activism to bring change and awakening to the masses.
Now it’s our turn
May this rapidly growing “right to die” movement jolt us out of any complacency into an awareness that passivity is not an option anymore. “Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against those who do iniquity?” (Psalm 94:16).
As the irresponsible Netflix series “13 Reasons Why” is launched once again, may responsible parents speak up emphatically against this destructive teen suicide drama. It’s time to pull the plug before another youth kills him or herself.