For today’s teens, hopelessness and despair are leading to suicide at alarming rates. In fact, for those of almost any age in today’s society, it’s a major threat:
·Ages 5-14: Sixth Leading Cause of Death
·Ages 15-24: Third Leading Cause of Death
·Ages of 18-65: Fourth Leading Cause of Death
·Overall: Tenth Leading Cause of Death
As you can see from the statistics cited, the ones at greatest risk are those in the teen age bracket. Although there are many helpful secular guides to understanding and preventing suicide, Christians are especially equipped to provide teens with true encouragement and motivation to go on living. Sometimes, life’s difficulties can be overwhelming, especially for adolescents, who are biologically predisposed to a self-centered, short-sighted mentality. The only hope is to point them to Christ, the only sure and solid changeless one. There are a few keys to communicating God’s truths as they relate to teens with suicidal tendencies, and they’re much more real and lasting than a trite promise of things working out okay or circumstances not being too bad.
Truth 1: What the world has to offer is ultimately temporary and empty.
Everything in this world will eventually deteriorate (1 John 2:17), and only God’s Word will stand the test of time (Hebrews 11).
The enduring nature of God and His Word make them more valuable than temporary possessions, status, and even relationships.
When we value Him above those earthly “treasures,” our hearts (Matthew 6:21) will not break when they are taken from us or do not satisfy completely.
Truth 2: For believers, the future is ultimately bright.
Hebrews 11 is among the most encouraging passages of Scripture. It reminds us of Old Testament believers who trusted in what they didn’t see—even though they had far less proof or proximity to Christ than we do; they were able to persevere through great trials with their hope intact. How did they do it? It wasn’t by focusing on the positive aspects of this temporary life, but by keeping their sights on eternity (John 4:14) which helped them to make choices that honored God.
Truth 3: Life is a good gift that God has given us.
When we foster a grateful spirit and emphasize how good life truly is, we can pass along that concept of loving and appreciating life and all of its good gifts. When we realize that life (John 10:10) and all of its good gifts (James 1:17) are from God and meditate and talk about those truths consistently, we can hardly help but praise Him. Another natural outflow of keeping our eyes off our problems and focusing on thanking God is that we’ll be busy serving others (Philippians 2:3).
When teens see this kind of Godward example and receive reminders of God’s truth, they’ll be more likely to follow suit and live out others-focused, hope-filled, eternity-minded lives for His glory.