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Counteracting suicide

WE live in a time of accelerating and potentially unsettling change. People's responses to the growing complexity of human experience vary. One of the most tragic responses is suicide. If we suspect a family member, friend, or acquaintance is contemplating suicide, we may long to know what we can do to help prevent this tragic act. We might begin by considering how Christ Jesus helped those who were troubled. Basically, he loved. But he did not love man as a weak and despairing mortal. He looked beyond the picture of frailty and desperation to love the man of God's creating, the man that unillumined human thought is incapable of seeing. In the presence of Jesus' love, men and women were able to throw off somewhat the shroud of mortality and despair. And thus the sad and hurting were restored to joy and health.

We read in the Christian Science textbook, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy:1 ``Jesus beheld in Science the perfect man, who appeared to him where sinning mortal man appears to mortals. In this perfect man the Saviour saw God's own likeness, and this correct view of man healed the sick. Thus Jesus taught that the kingdom of God is intact, universal, and that man is pure and holy.''2

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This man, ``pure and holy,'' is the man of God's creating. Loving this true sense of another is what can most bless the individual. We can't allow ourselves to be fooled into accepting as true anything that is inconsistent with what God created. This is not to ignore evil but to support healing. We need to reject anything unlike God's likeness as a false conception, a misrepresentation of man, including whatever picture of a suicidal nature we may have before us. Frustration, self-condemnation, a feeling of inadequacy, of failure, shame, worthlessness, hopelessness--all those things that would seem to justify the taking of one's life--are a rebuke to the Life that is God. We can reject these as not being part of God's offspring by understanding the true nature of life--the wholeness, loveliness, purpose, joy, strength, and dominion that God expresses in man.

Through the teaching and healing ministry of Jesus, we learn that such qualities constitute the individual of God's creating. Therefore we have divine authority for rejecting anything unlike the divine nature. Our willingness to do so, coupled with our active cherishing of man's true, spiritual individuality and worth, can have an uplifting, regenerating effect on one who is troubled.

Loving and responding to what is truly significant and of enduring value--that is, what is of God--in one who appears troubled can help awaken that one to the beauty, value, and uniqueness of his or her identity. It can also alert us to whatever practical steps we need to take in caring for that one, and will ensure that those steps are prompted by unerring divine wisdom rather than by a potentially faulty human analysis of the situation.

Jesus said, ``A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.''3 Jesus' love for the man of God's creating never wavered, even when he was confronted with the starkest testimony of a nature wholly unlike God. When our love begins to approximate this spiritual love more consistently, we will not be overwhelmed by the threat of a suicide. Rather we will respond with the healing conviction that the individual's real and only selfhood is spiritual, whole, joy-filled, strong, and stable. The light of our conviction will do much to help awaken one contemplating death to the promise of life.

1The Discoverer and Founder of Christian Science. 2Science and Health, pp. 476-477. 3John 13:34. You can find more articles like this one in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine. DAILY BIBLE VERSE I waited patiently for the Lord; and he inclined unto me, and heard my cry. He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my goings. Psalms 40:1,2

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