Friday, August 19, 2011

Why do they do it?

My wife rented some movies for us to watch. Two of the movies, “The Road” and “Shrink” were based upon suicide and the question: “Why do they do it?” The question was left unanswered, with only the pain for the survivors on display.

Why do they do it?

The answer is actually contained within the nomenclature. The two parts of the word mean self - kill.

Suicide is all about self. Another way of saying this is selfish. Suicide is selfishness manifested in its fullest measure.

Suicide seems senseless until one becomes completely preoccupied with self. Once a person’s thoughts are purely selfish, suicide becomes the only action that seems reasonable.

The reason behind this is what a person encounters through selfishness. When a person is concerned only about self, what does the person find? What the person finds is disappointing beyond what can be borne. The person finds endless weakness and failure. The person finds helplessness and becomes entirely without hope. The person finds no purpose. This leads to terrible frustration. Frustration becomes anger. Anger becomes deep-felt resentment, often first concerning the unfair and uncaring actions of others, and eventually the self-loathing of honest self-examination. The person becomes more and more aware of the inescapable facts of self-awareness. “I hate myself!” becomes the prevailing mindset.

People find various alternative forms of suicide. While it seems to be more and more common in today’s materialistic and hedonistic and immoral as well as amoral society to kill oneself outright, there are many other forms of getting rid of oneself, at least temporarily. Most forms of addiction are just this. Whether it be alcohol, drugs, food, junk food, work, exercise, gambling or sex or pornography, these all are often used as forms of temporarily escaping oneself, or at least of dulling one’s self-awareness. People immerse and drown themselves and push themselves out of consciousness of self through these various indulgences. Even such things as charity and evangelism can be used in these ways.

Why is this so powerful? Why do people seem to be unable to escape these forms of self-destruction?

The answer is that they are already dead.

Since they are already dead, killing themselves and eliminating or attempting to erase or eradicate themselves seems like an answer. “Stop the pain. Make it go away! There is no other way of escape! I must do this!”

This is why God has provided Baptism. Through Baptism the dead and corrupt person is washed away and an entirely new person is raised up to a brand new life. This new person has a brand new image, the image that was lost, the image of God, which is Christ. This new person is alive with the goodness of the Lord Himself. The Holy Spirit comes to the person and fills the person with the very will of God, the good and gracious and holy will of God. With the Holy Supper this is renewed through continual eating of the body of the unity of Christ and drinking of the blood of forgiveness.

So we learn that the answer to the hopelessness of mankind is not ending oneself but being regenerated into the image of God in the unity of the body of Christ. Therein God works a complete change of heart and mind that restores to the person the hope that cannot be found through any other means. Peace truly begins to rule the person’s heart, mind, body, and soul. Then the person hears and understands and believes the answer that the Lord Jesus gave to St. Paul which is recorded for us in 2 Corinthians 12:9: “Sufficient for thee is My grace.” (YLT)

When a person has been converted so that this is what dwells in one’s soul, even the self-loathing suicidal thoughts have no power over the person. No one who knows the pure grace of God in Christ can continue to hate oneself, nor anyone one else. Then one sees beyond the mirror to what God has declared in Christ Jesus. Then hope is restored, and even more than restored, so that true contentment in all things is known and peace rules over everything in the person’s life.

Oh that this would be what Hollywood’s producers would explain on the big screen. But who would buy it? Oh that the churches would preach this without compromise! But who would believe it?

How about you? After all, God has declared it for you. He has purchased it at the ultimate cost so that it would be yours free of cost to you. He provides it continually and without limit in His means of grace in His true Church. Its yours! It is already yours to receive freely through the means of grace.

Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. (Isaiah 55:1-3)

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