Lately, I’ve been listening to Canadian band The Tragically Hip a lot. One song in particular has stood out.
It reminds me of taking the Golden Gate Bridge out of San Francisco, the first thing you do when reaching Marin County is going through the Robin Williams Tunnel. Williams was, is, and always will be my favorite comedian. His death at his own hand still reverberates.
Being one who knows the dark side as something utterly removed from George Lucas’ film franchise, I speak with uncomfortable authority about depression. It is an irrational, illogical assassin; the father of lies’ most hideous, insidious lie. Depression blinds its victims to reality, convincing them there is no hope when, in fact, hope abounds. It tells the irreplaceable all would fare better without their presence spoiling life’s soup. Depression declares self-destruction’s broad road as the only road, doing its damnedest to block salvation’s narrow path. It is not mental weakness, as those lacking authentic wisdom stereotype its cunning ability to drive away the cognitive reasoning that can significantly assist in the fight, instead causing monotrack thoughts that most all in life around you reflects and feeds negatively on you. Depression is Satan’s hideous scalpel, seeking only to cut out life itself instead of the cancer it forms on the soul.
While there can be, albeit in some cases only in part, an understanding of why someone would take their own life, suicide stands in direct opposition to God’s will and Word. No one has the right to dismiss God’s gift of life to us or destroy the Holy Spirit’s temple He made for us in His image. This is not a license to pile on when someone suffers underneath depression’s grim wings. The person already attempting to fight out of a private little hell has no use for additional guilt trips. There are no echoes of throne checks or any other variation on “are you really saved” in asking someone not just how they are doing but how their soul is faring. The forgiveness made available to all through Christ’s substitutionary death on the cross is never a license to sin. Even as James assailed those offering the poor well wishes instead of food, clothing, and shelter, telling someone struggling with depression that it is all in their head, so suck it up, buttercup is abhorrent in the sight of our Lord. While faith alone cannot always wholly counteract depression’s lies, it is a vital element in the fight. This said, God alone truly knows the soul. He will have mercy on whom He will have mercy, and He will have compassion on whom He will have compassion. We are His voice and hands on this earth; we must act and speak accordingly.
John Donne was right; no man is an island, and the death of one diminishes us all. It should make us stop and take stock of priorities. Nothing exposes triviality like staring at a loved one’s headstone. Today, even as we employ calm logic, facts, and reasoning to persuade others who unwillingly lack discernment due to excessive government/media propaganda machine indoctrination, is the time to preach in word and deed Christ crucified and risen to family, friends, and strangers alike. Winning over hearts and minds is essential. Winning souls is the most significant victory.
Countering depression with beratement or empty exhortation is futile foolishness. You fight it by telling the oppressed in deed and word, “Over here is the lie you are being told is truth. On this opposite side is the actual truth. I am here with you in body, soul, and spirit to help you fight the lie.”
I pray the next one among us driven to suicide by depression will never be known as the next one among us driven to suicide by depression because someone reached out to them, and the person reached out to cried out to Jesus for the strength to live.