TEEN SUICIDE: MENTAL ILLNESS OR SOMETHING MORE?

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Consider these shocking facts:

•Annual number teen/youth suicide each year (ages 10-24).  4600

•Average number of suicides per day.    12

•Average number of teen suicide attempts per year. 575,000

•Percent of high school students surveyed who said they have “seriously considered suicide”   20%

Percent of suicide deaths that are males.   81%                                                https://www.statisticbrain.com/teen-suicide-statistics/

The leading professionals, who work with teen who attempt suicide, report that depression is the number one factor that leads to this drastic step. Males have a strong tendency to use lethal weapons to commit suicide while females use other means. Tragically males are more successful in their attempt to end their lives.

My concern is what causes the depression that leads to suicide in the first place? While secular media, authors and those in the medical profession have routinely identified mental disorder as the problem this still does uncover the root cause. While some depression is caused by purely biological factors that are inherent in the individual, there are many others who believe it is rooted in the young person’s self-identity and purpose for living.

We are consistently making the mistake of treating our children like children and not helping them identify as soon as possible who they are why they were born. The Bible has clear answers to both questions and churches, pastors, teachers, and parents need to wake up and begin infusing their children and grandchildren with these truths.

I have made it a habit with my family, grandchildren and all the young people I have worked with as a pastor to take the time to individually teach and reinforce what the Bible teaches on these topics.   I would strong urge pastors, church leaders, parents and grandparents to go out of their way to listen, direct, affirm the young people in their lives with the following truths:

Who are you according to the Bible?

The Bible affirms that YOU were created in the image of God. Genesis 1:27 says, So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Young children and teens need to hear and understand that they are unique and were personally created by God himself to reflect his mind, heart, and purposes.

We also read in Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” You are not here by chance but by purpose! Jesus himself is your creator and put you in your family at this time in history for his eternal purposes.

What am I suppose to do with my life? What is my purpose?

I am forever astounded at how the church continues to miss the clear and definitive purpose statement of the Bible Here it is: II Cor 5:18-20 we read these words: All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.  We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 

Jesus’ purpose for your life, my life, for all who believe in him is to utilize our place in life, our education, our profession in order to be his full-time AMBASSADOR OF RECONCILIATION. The most fulfilling purpose of life, that gives us hope and focus, is to know that we exist to bring to others the love and grace of Jesus Christ calling them to reconciliation.

Nothing, absolutely nothing, brings greater joy, satisfaction, purpose and hope than to realize that Jesus has placed you in this world, at this time, to speak for him and bring repentance, healing and focus to life. When we teach and reinforce this in children and teens as they face the ups and downs of life their identify and purpose is not defined by how much education they have, what their peers say about them, how much money their make, or how much they are living the good life. Their identity and purpose is in knowing their creator, Jesus, and introducing as many people as possible to his grace and reality.

Teen suicide can be drastically changed. That change comes right now in you and me as we go out of our way to help little children and teens to know the love and purposes of Jesus Christ for their life.

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