Bullying And Suicide

Is the question of suicide missing a deeper issue? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night I finished reading¬†Holy Sexuality and the Gospel. There are some books I don’t review because those are schoolbooks and I will likely need to write deep reviews of them later on so I just choose not to. The author, Christopher Yuan, is someone himself who has same-sex attraction.

At one point, he talked about the idea of disagreeing with same-sex attraction being okay leads to suicide. This is also something we have heard from the transgender movement where even doctors tell parents that if they don’t do this, their child will kill themselves. It’s hardly a good position to put anyone else in.

Now perhaps I am just old school in my thinking, but I have this idea that the person responsible for what any person does is the person themselves. If a politician, left or right, says something hard about the other side and someone else goes shooting, the person responsible is the person who did the shooting.

So it is that when it comes to suicide, who is responsible? It is the person who does it. Suppose that as depressed as I was, and sometimes still am, after my wife left me, that I had killed myself. Who was responsible for that? I would be. Not her. Now we could say she was an activating factor and perhaps that is so, but the final decision comes down to me. I bear the responsibility.

So as I was reading this part of the book I was thinking that we are missing something in this. We are saying we must not do XYZ or else X will kill themselves. Instead, wouldn’t a better question be, “What has got us to the point in our culture where so many people think the best option is to kill themselves?”

Suicide is always to some degree a tragedy. I say to some degree because someone could say “Well, didn’t Hitler kill himself?” He did, and yet is it not still a tragedy to see not only the evil that he did with his life, but in the end he wasted it and ultimately turned his evil on himself? That’s still tragic. He could have done so much good with his abilities of persuasion, but he let darkness rule over him instead.

I have never been a supporter of the anti-bullying crusades. Is it because I favor bullying? Not at all. It is because I think they are wrongheaded. We are trying to deal with the problem on the end that we have less control over, the people who don’t care about right and wrong. Why not go and help the people who are likely to be victims and build them up?

We often tell our children such lies as “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” We all know that’s a lie. We know it because words have been hurtful to us. I wager that everyone reading this blog can think back to some painful words that have been said to you, even words by total strangers. I have had hurtful words said to me by strangers in Final Fantasy XIV even.

Now we can say those words only hurt if you give them power. Yes. That’s true. We can say such people should not have power over you. Yes. That’s true. However, it does take a lot of work to get to a healthy place with that and those words do sting.

Somehow, I wonder if it is because of the self-esteem movement. Perhaps if it has not been done, if someone were to look and see the rate of suicides going up in the world and especially in the West where self-esteem has been the rage, to see if there is a correlation.

We have come to this idea that it is bizarre if not everyone loves us. Well, why should they? Picture any famous person you greatly admire. Are they loved by everyone? No. Not a bit. That even includes Jesus Christ, who was so loved by His people when He walked the Earth that they crucified Him. If you’re a Christian, it’s extremely prideful to say you’ll do better than the Son of God.

Now is it a problem when people in the LGBT community commit suicide? Of course. However, what is a deeper problem is this idea of “If you do not affirm me every way I want to be affirmed, I will kill myself.” Why have we raised people to let the opinions of others hold such sway over them to that extent? We have a society that constantly needs approval from everyone else.

If someone is in a position of saying “If you do not do what I want, I will kill myself” that whole attitude is a problem. Imagine if I had said to my ex before she left, “If you don’t stay with me, I will kill myself.” That would be a major problem. That would indicate a great flaw in me that needed to be fixed. She could stay with me out of mercy and/or guilt, but what would still be there? The underlying problem that led to that need that would remain unfixed.

So you could go and affirm someone’s relationship or you could give them surgery to transform their bodies, but what is the same still? The underlying issue. If anything, you have just put a bandage on it. Not only that, if they get what they want and they are still unhappy, they are likely in a far worse place because then they will be much more prone to think there is no hope for them.

The problem is that I don’t see anyone talking about that issue. We’re talking about making people happy, which is subjective and fleeting by our definition of it, but we’re not talking about why they are unhappy in the first place. What is missing in their lives? What is missing in the lives of so many people today that they feel such hopelessness?

This is a deep issue and it won’t go away with one blog post or be answered with one. This is something for the sociologists and psychologists to study. However, when confronted with someone who says that if you do not do X, they will kill themselves, the best thing to do would likely be to walk along side them and ask them why they feel that way. Why is it that what you say or do means so much to them?

We live in a society of what is said to be empty selves. As a Christian apologist, I conclude it is because we have moved away from God and nothing else can fulfill to that extent in our society. If you disagree, then you really need to point to what can fulfill and what makes life worth living overall. Why do we not want people to kill themselves? Why should they not want to.

These are deep questions and even if you disagree, a pat answer won’t help. If you do agree, just saying God isn’t enough either. We need more about why He is the answer and who He is and so much more.

Simple? No. Reality rarely is though.

In Christ,
Nick Peters
(And I affirm the virgin birth)

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