Tag Archives: compassion

How Can We #HoldOutHope? World Suicide Prevention Day 2015.

For some, suicide crashes into their lives without warning, it tornadoes through families leaving a painful wreckage in its’ wake.

For others, suicide is insidious. It’s the flash of a thought, the ache for an end to the pain.

For still more, suicide is a reminder of the guilt and despair that lingers after a suicide attempt.

Some of the pain experienced in life can be sympathised with; the loss of a loved one, or the diagnosis of a critical illness, but all too often, people touched by suicide aren’t sympathised with.

The man who’s desperately trying to hold on, but unable to escape the the suicidal thoughts which assault him every day.

The teenager whose life ended too soon, whose family are trying to pick up the pieces and make sense of a new normality without them.

The woman in her hospital bed, trying to come to terms with the scars her arms now bear and the reality that she tried to take her own life, her family at home, wondering what went wrong.

In the face of the darkest parts of the human mind; how can we respond?

 

 

Whatever feelings may be at the forefront of our own hearts and minds; hurt, anger, shame (and these are important and valid and must be cared for) the response has to be one of compassion.

Compassion, reaching out to share in the person’s pain can bring hope in the most tangible of ways.

Compassion is what the angel who nourished Elijah on Mount Horeb and it was what empowered Paul as he spoke to his desperate jailer. It doesn’t just speak trite words of sympathy, it’s the gut wrenching cry for someone else’s pain.

It’s an expression of love – and it’s a beacon of hope.

So in whichever way you face suicide, whether personally or professionally; respond with compassion. It can be the brightest light to get someone through their darkest night.

Redeem The Day

Yesterday I wrote a little blog on redemption which can be found here here.

Today, I wanted to write a little about redemption in the context of mental illness. In particular, the redemption of memories and days.

So often, the memories of the most painful days and events can leave an open wound. We may be able to come to terms with what happened, but as an anniversary rolls around again, we can be doubled over with the pain all over again – as fresh as that first time. We can dread the day coming, because we fear the pain that is linked to it.

Today it will be six years since one of the worst days of my life. It was a day which left an indelible mark on me, and every year since it has felt like I am forcing myself to relieve the pain and shame of that day all over again.

And in the intervening years, the date has sent me reeling.

But then, as I having been reflecting on God as Redeemer, I’ve come to the conclusion that if God can redeem the worst of us, the worst of humanity – He can redeem a date.

He can make a day which nearly destroys – into a day which sparks something new – but only if we let Him.

One of my favourite passages in the Bible is found in Joel 2:25-27 which says:

“I will repay you for the years the locusts have eaten—
the great locust and the young locust,
the other locusts and the locust swarm[b]
my great army that I sent among you.
26 You will have plenty to eat, until you are full,
and you will praise the name of the Lord your God,
who has worked wonders for you;
never again will my people be shamed.
27 Then you will know that I am in Israel,
that I am the Lord your God,
and that there is no other;
never again will my people be shamed.”

Here God promises the restoration and redemption of years of difficulty – even when sometimes that difficulty is a result of our own sins and mistakes.

Redemption is an act of mighty grace.

Redemption isn’t forgetting what has passed – but a payment – and the debt of our sin is transformed by the blood of Christ.

Our shame is redeemed by His grace.

Our pain is redeemed by His compassion.

Redemption doesn’t mean that we never find things difficult. It doesn’t mean that there isn’t a tinge of sadness, but it does mean being able to have hope in the future, despite all that has passed.

Redemption means not letting what has passed, spoil what is in store for us.

So far, God is redeeming this date for me, it’s the ‘best’ 29th November I’ve had since 2006.

There is a Redeemer.

We just have to let Him do His redeeming work.