Isaiah 53:3 NLT - He [Christ] was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care.
2 Samuel 17:23 NIV - When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.
Shame. Humiliation. Embarrassment. For many people, young and old, the suffocating darkness of shame and humiliation can feel worse than death. Too many actually opt for death in their temporary time of shame or embarrassment. Sadly, a pop cultural phenomenon has emerged on Netflix in that teen shame, suffering, and suicide has been marketed into video entertainment. How many troubled or immature individuals will glamorize the fictional by re-enacting it somehow in their lives? Self-harm, self-hatred, and self-murder are not the will of God. There are far more reasons “why not” then what can be reviewed in this brief space, but consider the following reasons:
- Jesus willingly “drank the cup” of all shame, humiliation, and failure you have. What’s more, He didn’t just defeat and overcome the shame - He DESPISED it. In Jesus Christ, you have God become human - in all points tempted like you, yet without sin…a high priest who is personally familiar and touched by the feelings of our anguish and despair. In Jesus Christ, you have the full display of God’s mercy, forgiveness, love, and help offered to those who simply cannot “do it themselves”. Christ loves you while simultaneously absorbing and despising all your shame and humiliation, and He is unashamed to call you a valuable part of His honorable family. (Hebrews 12:1-2, 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Hebrews 2:10-11)
- You are the image-bearer of God who declares you to be beautifully and wonderfully made, and God even takes credit for those who are “different”, perhaps disabled or considered imperfect or contemptible by others. (Genesis 1:27, Psalm 139:13-16, Exodus 4:11) You’re value is inherent in your identity as God’s image-bearer, and you do not derive your value from popularity, success, appearance, or others’ opinions and actions.
- God is with you and always at work despite the despair. As teenaged Joseph discovered in Genesis 37-50, the rejection, humiliation, hatred, and abuse he suffered at the hands of those to whom he was the closest was not “the end”. God was with Joseph in the darkness, and actually used the abuse, the mistreatment, the rejection as a catalyst for Joseph to become a world leader and humanitarian. We have no right to end the story of our lives that God is still writing simply because we experience some painful chapters. It’s just a chapter. This too shall pass. Like Joseph and Job, let God keep writing your story, trust Him in the darkness, do not become bitter, and enjoy His happy ending - in this life and the next. Remember there were those who always loved Joseph - and others who would one day love Joseph (but he hadn’t met them yet). Do not rob others - including those you haven’t met yet - of the opportunity to love and be loved by you.
- You do not have the authority or right to harm yourself because your body ultimately belongs to God. 1 Corinthians 6 reminds us that our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit - we are not our own, we’ve been bought with a price (the blood of Christ). Just as you would not inflict your personal despair on your neighbor by destroying his property or burning down his house, honor God by refusing to destroy what is supposed to be His house - your body. Take comfort that God is the Master Builder who is able to remodel His possessions. Respect God’s property.
- Depending on how God chooses to judge the unjustified killing of human life by other humans, do not risk eternal joy and freedom from all suffering simply because of temporary despair. This is not a commentary on those who may be mentally ill (and would deserve compassion, professional help, and/or divine healing) nor is it a pronouncement on whether suicide is an unforgivable sin in the eyes of God. Ultimately, those issues are under God’s jurisdiction, and our mercy triumphs over our judgment. However, most people should never assume that such an act - particularly if it is due to one’s being embarrassed or humiliated - does not put one’s eternity at risk. Satan possessed and influenced Judas Iscariot who committed suicide - don’t give him the satisfaction of another who would be so manipulated. The promise of eternal life is far too valuable to do anything with your final breath that would risk the eternal benefits that Christ offers and will provide.
Revelation 21:3-4 NLT - heard a loud shout from the throne, saying, “Look, God’s home is now among his people! He will live with them, and they will be his people. God himself will be with them. 4 He will wipe every tear from their eyes, and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain. All these things are gone forever.”
- So don’t make such a permanent decision to try to address such a temporary problem. Take time to talk it through with God and with others who are qualified to help you process your pain. In the multitude of counselors, there is safety. Furthermore, God celebrates the moral virtue of courage. Pray for the courage to endure and persevere rather than forfeit everything in a temporary season of despair.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NLT - The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, he will show you a way out so that you can endure.
- Perhaps your trials and temptations are indicative of how much God knows you can handle. Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone - Jesus and others in the world (not everyone, but some) know personally how you feel. What you think is impossible to live through or impossible to get over may have a happier outcome sooner than you think… Trust God with your life. In Jesus there is always new hope.
Acts 16:25-34 NIV - About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. 27 The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” 29 The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. 33 At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. 34 The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God—he and his whole household.
“There is no pit so deep, that God's love is not deeper still.” — Corrie ten Boom
Hebrews 4:14-16 NLT - So then, since we have a great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe. 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. 16 So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.
So seek God and the grace to help in every time of need. Reach out to those who you trust to be able to listen and intervene. In an emergency situation if your faith and strength seems as if it’s failing, don’t even be opposed to finding a trained counselor to talk to locally, online, or via the phone. [If you or someone you know is in crisis, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741-741.]