The Pain of Suicide

Why does suicide hurt so much? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I knew Troy in Middle School. He was shy, like me, and seemed to be an outsider to most kids, like me, which is probably one reason I gravitated towards him. I knew what it felt like to be rejected after all. I remember him wanting to buy my Turtle Blimp from me, which I let him, and it was like Christmas for him. I knew he didn’t have much. We drifted apart in high school. Recently I thought of him. I wondered where he was in the world.

Then today I got a text from my Dad. Troy had killed himself Sunday.

In the midst of messages back and forth about it, my Dad told me one of his friends from church had also died. Now I didn’t know this friend so well, and that really got lost in the background. With my Dad’s friend, I thought he was older and it was probably his time.

Not with Troy.

With Troy, I found myself wondering, “What if I had stayed in touch in high school and college? What if I had been a friend all those years? What if I had never lost touch with him?”

Yes. Rethinking about 20-25 years of living based on one truth that had been revealed. That’s what makes suicide so different. When it happens, most people who knew the person involved always think “Could I have done something to help?”

It’s survivor’s guilt. It’s pointless to think such things. Even if you could think of something you could do, you can’t hop in the time machine and go back and do them. If you come up with something, you’ll just feel guilty for not having done it.

Yet we do that. Why? Because we have a permanent pain now because of the loss. I have met a number of people who have lost someone close to them to suicide and the pain doesn’t go away. Oh it gets more manageable, but it does become something they deal with everyday. I have heard of a man in his senior years whose father committed suicide. The suicide happened while the boy was five years old and years later he still asks why his Dad didn’t want him.

You see, it never truly takes the pain away. It passes it to everyone else. It is what is seen as a preventable death. If only we could have helped them. If only. If only we had been there. If only we knew. Did we miss the warning signs?

My wife had a friend who went out of her mind and wound up killing herself a few years ago and for quite awhile, she kept wondering if she should have seen the signs. She wasn’t there in person though, so there’s no way she could have known really. We have no way of knowing how everyone else sees it though who was even closer.

In many other cases, when the person is still around, we can talk to them always and see if we can work on things. However, when it’s suicide, it’s permanent. That’s it. We lose them in our earthly lives forever.

Now if we’re Christians, we can anticipate the hope that we will see them someday, but Scripture doesn’t say that death becomes automatically less painful because we’re Christians. We still mourn. We don’t mourn like those who have no hope, but we mourn. Suicide just brings an extra level to that mourning since it is such a violent action that is always seen as preventable.

While I was out, I was spending so much time processing the news and that was for someone I hadn’t interacted with in a couple of decades. How much more is it for those who know someone much closer? Suicide has that effect and it’s an awful one.

If you’re struggling, please get help. Please. Reach out. People do care regardless of whether you feel like they do or not. Call the National Suicide Hotline. Get someone who will talk to you. Please.

If not for yourself, do it for someone you care about. If you suspect someone is suicidal, please don’t take a chance. Take action.

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

You Are Not Safe

Can you avoid suffering? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Many of us have been shocked recently to hear about the news of the death of Mike Adams. It gets even more saddening when the reports indicate that it looks like a suicide. When I first heard he had died, I was suspecting foul play. After all, Adams is a warrior type and he really enjoys being in the heat of controversy.

If there was ever a time I would have hoped that I was right….

As I thought about that, I thought about what my friend Clay Jones says about evil and suffering. You are not safe. This morning, I remembered what he has said before that in your life, you will see everyone around you die of murder, accident, or disease. There is one thing aside from the return of Christ that can prevent you from seeing this. That is your own death from murder, accident, or disease.

Years ago, we also saw Nabeel Qureshi pass away. He was just 34 and had stomach cancer strike him. Many of us around the world were praying for him and were confident God would not let this one pass away. This would be a miracle for the world. It was not to be.

You are not safe.

We have this strange idea that we are to avoid suffering and evil. When it hits us in our lives, we act like we have been dealt an unfair hand. Why should we be the ones who receive this? The real question to ask is why should we receive anything different?

We often want to act like life is great for us. Most of us on Facebook want to put on a happy face and act like everything is okay. Many of us thought the same thing about Mike Adams, and yet apparently underneath that warrior spirit, there was a deeply hurting individual and it really hadn’t been seen.

I have seen people I respect greatly go through sudden crises in their personal lives that come out of nowhere. I then wonder “Why didn’t they ask for help?” Then I think, “The same reason I normally don’t.” I want to be a man in part and say “I can handle this.” There’s also great pride in admitting many struggles one has.

I’m not saying be an open book entirely on a place like Facebook and share everything, but I am saying to be willing to be open to a certain group of people and tell them what’s going on. I have a personal mentor I email every night who knows a lot about what’s going on in my own world. I am sure if many of you saw the correspondences over the years, you would be stunned.

Churches sadly are not the best place because many churches have it that you show up and put on your Christian face that life is great. My wife and I were at a small group years ago at a church we definitely no longer attend when Allie talked about how she was struggling with doubt in prayer request time. She was actually told that they don’t talk about that there. Yep, church. That’s how you help the wounded.

You all know I’m not going to back down on Christian morals, but we can hold to Christian morals in the right attitude such that someone living a lifestyle they know we see as sin will not be afraid to come to us. How is that possible? Well, they weren’t afraid to come to Jesus. If they are afraid to come to us and not to Jesus, we are doing something wrong.

We need to be there because after all, no one is safe. Years ago a book was written about Jim Morrison called “No One Here Gets Out Alive.” That’s a description of us too. We don’t like to think about that, but unless Christ returns first, it’s true.

That event could happen for you even today, even if you’re in perfect health. You could die in a crime or a car accident. Remember the story of Ghost Rider where the main character’s Dad has a disease and he makes a deal with the devil to heal him? The deal is set so the Dad will live a long life. Right? No. He is healed, but the next day he dies in an accident.

It could happen at any time.

Suffering is inevitable for all of us and that’s why as Christians, we need the message of hope, but not just the message of hope, but the living of hope. We need to come alongside and help one another out as best we can. It means so much to still get a kind message from someone out of the blue offering prayers or encouragement or to get a gift in the regular mail or email from someone just because.

I remember years ago after Allie and I were married, we were in financial straits, which we are still in. I remember praying and asking God to please send a little bit to help us. Shortly after I went to the mail and a friend from California had mailed us $100 saying she had just been thinking about us.

Friends. You have no idea how much hope something like that gives. It’s a way of getting the message of “You matter to us.” That’s something we all need to hear. We all want to matter. We all want to know we’re important to someone.

There are too many people in this world who have gone the way of Mike Adams and will go that same way. It is a tragedy every single time. Please get help. Don’t be ashamed to see a therapist. For many of my own struggles, I also see a therapist. There is no shame in it. Please also reach out to the suicide prevent hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Something I enjoy doing is watching YouTube videos about gaming. One video I watched recently was something along the lines of dumb ways to die in video games. The video was humorous and out of the blue, at the end the speaker says “While we’ve all wasted our lives this way in games, there’s no need to waste your own life.” He then goes to give a positive message about the dangers of suicide and about the good in the world and to please get help if you’re struggling.

It was great to see that message. We need to hear it more often. Maybe you should tell it to someone today.

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

Memories Of Ruth

How do you honor someone when they’re gone? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Yesterday afternoon, my wife and I received word that my aunt Ruth had died. I think the time reported was 4:07. The news wasn’t a surprise. She had been in the stages of dementia and had been going downhill fast. My mother had told me earlier she probably only had hours left.

I posted it on Facebook and before too long many people showed up giving their condolences. My former roommate messaged me. He had actually met Ruth before and he was glad that he had. She was a special lady.

When I was growing up, I lived next door to my grandmother and her sister, my aunt Ruth. I would regularly spend time with them. It was there I learned about playing card games and word games like Scrabble. Even today, playing Words With Friends can make me think about those times.

Ruth also lived much of her life as a librarian. I could walk down to our local library and sometimes see her behind the desk. Being who I was growing up, I had a tendency to do all that I could to tease my loved ones as much as I could.

When my wife and I married, we shortly moved to Tennessee and lived in my grandmother’s old house. I remember well a time where Allie and I went over to see Ruth and Allie talked about how sarcastic everyone in our family was, except my Mom. Ruth told her that yes, that’s how we all are. We’re all sarcastic, but we don’t mean it. I immediately said, “We don’t?!” Heck. News to me.

There was a time Ruth gave me some eggs to carry over to our house. She was worried I would drop them on the way and I insisted that I wouldn’t. Well, shortly after I left, I came back over. “Um. Ruth. You know those eggs you said I would drop and I insisted that I wouldn’t?”

“Yes?”

“I just wanted to let you know that they got over just fine.”

There was also the constant fun I had with the front door and the back door of her house. From the way I entered, what she called the back door was from my perspective the front door, and naturally vice-versa. Everytime, I would intentionally get the name of the door wrong knowing that it would irritate her a little bit more.

Sometimes, Ruth would want me to go to the library and get her a book. She didn’t have a specific, but she figured the librarian would know something. I went once and told her that I had told the librarian she requested a copy of Fifty Shades of Grey. I also added that her pastor was surprised when he heard me say that’s what she wanted.

As Ruth progressed downhill though, we could not joke like we used to. The last time I had seen her, she couldn’t remember at one point who I was. I know it wasn’t intentional, but it was hard to see. She was also convinced that her one cat was actually four different cats. I don’t know what will happen to Whitefoot, but I hope he will find a good home somehow.

Death is something difficult when it comes to all of us. For the time being, all of us are deprived. We lose the experience of what it is to be with that person, and the more that person has a place in our life, the bigger the pain that will be experienced.

Most people went through their day just fine yesterday for the most part. If you read my news, you could have been sad for me, but you went through the day for the most part fine. That’s okay. I honestly tend to be detached so I went on and did a Google hangout I had been scheduled to do last night to discuss issues relating to atheism and theism.

For some people, the world is never the same. All deaths in some way diminish the world. There is a certain absence. This is even more so if the death comes about through a violent means, be it the actions of another or especially suicide. All life is precious. All of us who are pro-life realize that. I do think sometimes killing can be a sad necessity, such as in self-defense, but it is sad that it ever happened to get to that point. A marriage can end in divorce because a spouse is abusive. I think it can be necessary then, but it is always a tragedy that it got to that point.

Yet at these times, the resurrection is good news. It means we will see our loved ones again someday. Not in some ethereal way, but in a real way. It is tempted to say just like we see those alive today, but that would be false. When we see our loved ones again, they will be more real than they ever were before. They will be more themselves than they ever were before. All of us in this mode of existing are in some way inhuman. When we see each other in the end, we will see everyone as they really are, as fully human. As Lewis says, there will be surprises.

One day, I will see my aunt again. I will see her as she is and she will see me as I am. I look forward to walking through the front door of her new home someday.

Or was that the back door?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Awful Choice

What choice do you need to avoid at all costs? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

September is always a special month for me. It is my birthday month and the day for me will be this Thursday. I will be 39. No. I don’t man Jack Benny 39. I mean I was literally born in 1980.

So there is always something I look forward to in September. Nowadays also, it’s pretty easy for people to give gifts to me. Just Amazon cards and I’m good. My folks gave me a gift card to the Nintendo eShop so I could get the Collection of Mana on the Switch, my wife gave me Kingdom Hearts: The Story So Far, my in-laws got me an Amazon card, my sister will be getting me something I’m sure, and Thursday night a depression and bipolar support group Allie and I attend will be having a cake party for me.

Yet with all of that, I decided to also donate my birthday to a cause and that is to stop an awful choice. September is a happy month, but it’s also a time to think about something quite serious. September is National Suicide Awareness Month.

Suicide is the awful choice, and I know about it all too well. My wife is someone who struggles with this and when I met her she had just had a suicide attempt. The worst day of my life, and nothing else ever comes close, was when I found out she had had a second overdose. Nothing comes close to that. Thankfully, she is starting to get the therapy that she needs.

When someone is wrestling with suicidal temptations, they really are not thinking straight. I meet people who had a loved one commit suicide decades earlier and they are still being affected by it. It is never something that you just get over. It leaves behind so many questions.

The thing is that suicide is a way of saying that nothing else is worth it. Evil has won the battle over good as far as the person is concerned. There is useless suffering in their lives. It’s not a shock that many times this is coming alongside of doubt in God. This is normally not so much His existence, but His goodness. Does God really care?

One can easily think of C.S. Lewis. When his wife died, he wrote A Grief Observed. There he found that the awful fear was not that God does not exist. It is that God does exist and this is what He is really like. It is easy to question God’s forgiveness and love.

This is even more so when we live in a society that tends to base everything on our emotions and how we feel. If we feel like God doesn’t care, well guess what? It seems obvious that God doesn’t care. Add in that God could do something and He doesn’t seem to and you have a recipe for disaster.

I wish I could convince anyone out there like this that that is not so. The truth is, a rational argument will very rarely overpower an emotion. Might I just urge you then to do a few things?

First off, please get a counselor. An LPC is preferred but even if simply a pastoral counselor, get one. You need someone you can talk to who can help you through this.

Second, get out of the house some. It’s so tempting to isolate, but that only makes it worse. Go out and spend time with friends and family who do care about you.

Third, if you have to, go to a hospital or some place like that. Get yourself taken care of. Don’t be afraid if you’re a Christian, or anyone else for that matter, to take psychiatric medication. Your brain can need medication just as much as your body can.

Fourth, please try to realize you are loved. Your emotions will very often lie to you about many many things. It’s hard to hear that they are, but the truth is, they are.

Fifth, if you need to, reach out to the Suicide Prevention Hotline. You have no idea how many people will miss you if you do something to yourself. You might think you are no big deal, but the truth is that you are. I would not even wish my worst enemy to commit suicide.

Whoever you are reading this, please understand you are loved as you are. Love is not something earned. It is a gift. You are a gift as well. Someone out there views you in some way as a gift.

Please don’t make the awful choice.

Please live.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Suicide Prevention Hotline can be donated to here.

Against 13 Reasons Why

Is there a reason the series should be removed? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Let’s start with being fair. I really think the series on Netflix, 13 Reasons Why (To be called 13 henceforth in this article), was meant to raise awareness to a problem. We all agree that teen suicide (And any suicide for that matter) is a problem and we all agree that mental health issues need to be addressed. We all agree there should be awareness of the problem, but could some means of awareness be increasing the problem?

13 involves a girl named Hannah’s story as she has killed herself and left behind 13 tapes for different people explaining why she did what she did. A boy, Clay, is the main protagonist trying to find interests, not least of which because he did have a crush on Hannah from what I saw. I didn’t see every episode, but my wife did, and I can definitely say the last scene with a public demonstration of Hannah’s suicide left my Allie greatly troubled for months.

She’s not the only one.

Keep in mind my wife is a suicide survivor. I have heard anecdotally of other people who got severely traumatized watching the series. There are some reports indicating that suicides have gone up since the show had its second season debuted and now there’s already talk of a third season.

Since the reports are mixed about the suicide rate going up, we might not know for sure, but could it be that maybe just to be safe we should hold off on a season? Perhaps Netflix should actually remove the series for the time being and see what happens. If the suicide rate goes down, then it could be further evidence there was a correlation.

I think part of the problem in the series is the concept that all the other people are responsible for the death of Hannah. To be fair, many people can contribute to someone’s negative attitude due to bullying and such, and some people have weaker skin than others and can’t take as much, but it is always someone’s personal choice if they decide to end their lives. While this is true, in reality, the ones left behind will always ask themselves if they could have done anything else differently.

I also think our modern self-esteem movement just doesn’t work. It leaves people with the idea that they are really good just floating in the air with no foundation. Many of us have a hard time believing such anyway because we can tell what is going on inside of ourselves.

When people are left adrift in the sea of society not knowing where they fit in, it does make it harder for them to communicate what they’re going through. People who are wrestling with suicidal tendencies that are severe should go and get help as best they can, but we need something to give them hope. Naturally, as a Christian, I think that’s the gospel, something we need to be doing a better job presenting anyway.

We also do need to restore the concept of community. We have a rabid individualism that makes each person look out for their own good. This is also seen in the hook-up culture where people have a greater tendency to use one another to fulfill their own sexual desires. In a community where everyone looks out for the good of the other and the good of the whole, I suspect we will be much more free to discuss major issues.

If you are considering suicide though, please please please get help. I cannot stress this enough. I urge you to contact the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 if you live here in America. If you know someone who you think is considering this awful choice, please reach out to them.

And Netflix, please take down this series for the time being.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Thoughts On Young Death

What do we think when someone young passes away? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

I was going to do another book review, but last night I was looking over a Facebook page dedicated to my high school class’s 20th year reunion coming up. In a thread, I noticed comments about people we had lost. Three of them I was unaware of. Two had been lost to sickness. One died in a car accident. A final one went the awful way of suicide.

It was sobering.

I suspect when we get together for our reunion, we’re going to have fun and enjoy each other, but imagine getting out the yearbooks there and looking through and realizing “Oh wait. They’re not with us anymore.” There will be a fog of sadness hanging over the area then, and there should be. We live in a world where this just isn’t supposed to happen.

Sickness does come, but sickness is supposed to take us later in life. People in their 20’s aren’t supposed to die of diseases. Right? We all know it happens, but surely it won’t happen to us or to someone we know. Right? Well, if it happens to someone, there’s no guarantee it won’t.

What about a car accident? I have been in some of them. Last May, my wife and I were in a major accident and I still think I could have lost her. Think about how innocent it is. We all get in cars most days of the week and assume we will reach our destination safely, which is understandable. Most of the time, car accidents don’t happen.

This girl who died in this car accident I am sure got in the car with her life ahead of her with plans for the day and for the future. Those plans were tragically cut short. Life will never be the same. As I say this, my wife is out with her Celebrate Recovery sponsor. I saw her go off and I kissed her beforehand, but I realize I have no guarantee of ever seeing her again. It’s also another reason why whenever I leave the house I always tell Allie I love her and wait for her to say it back. If anything ever happened, may the last words we said to each other be “I love you.”

And then finally, suicide.

That dark path.

I say this married to someone who has had suicide attempts. I’ve even seen her after one. I easily count it the worst day of my life.

I read that this suicide from our high school class took place 12 years ago so either 2006 or 2007. If so, I remember what I was doing. I was preparing to move into an apartment so I could assure my parents I could handle living in Charlotte for Seminary. I moved to Charlotte on September 30, 2007.

While I was looking forward to a bright future, someone had decided they had no future. While I had a passion I thought worth living for, someone had decided there was nothing worth living for. While I was enjoying the gift of life, someone was considering it a curse and took theirs away.

Tragic indeed.

As a Christian, this hits home to me. For one thing, the resurrection tells me that all of the sufferings we see will be reversed. Someone might only live this time to their 20’s, but in eternity, they will live forever. The question then becomes how will they be living forever. Will it be eternal living or dying?

It also impresses on me the importance to tell people the good news of Christ. Now I’m not telling you to ram the gospel down someone’s throat so much that you’re annoying. I am telling you to try to be a bit more forward, and that goes for me as well.

And how will we spend this time? Do you think someone will look back and say “You know, I am so glad I didn’t waste so much time in my life telling my family I loved them.” I doubt they will say “If only I hadn’t gone to my son’s baseball game.” “If only I hadn’t had that romantic evening with my husband.” “If only I hadn’t taken my wife out for dinner that evening.”

The reality is, we take these things for granted too often. As a nerd, you might hear me talk about my wife a lot, and I think might doesn’t need to be in that sentence even. I never thought I would have anyone and I spend so much of my time celebrating that fact. I’m still amazed when I go to sleep at night and crawl into bed next to my wife. As I type this, I have pictures of her in here and I look at them spellbound thinking that I am the only man that gets to truly love my wife.

The people you have in your life, they’re not burdens. They’re not problems. They’re not annoyances. (Okay. Sometimes I can be annoying, but that’s different.) They’re people in the image of God. C.S. Lewis was right when he said next to the sacrament, your neighbor is the most holy sight you see.

Sometime this year, I anticipate seeing people, some of whom I haven’t seen in twenty years, again. Who knows how many people might be at a 25th reunion? Will we lose some? Perhaps. Should I treasure those that show up? Indeed.

Should I treasure those around me right now?

Should you?

In Christ,
Nick Peters

 

Can A True Christian Be Depressed?

If you are a true Christian, will you ever despair? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

The church has been sorely lacking when it comes to issues of mental health, at least here in the West. It’s a subject that’s very relevant to my wife and I seeing as we both have Aspergers and she has Borderline Personality Disorder on top of that which comes with depression. We are sadly disappointed by how the Christian community usually handles the problems.

This isn’t to say that all of them are like that. My wife and I both attend a Celebrate Recovery program which is an excellent program when it comes to these issues. I encourage Christians struggling with things like pornography and such to go find a Celebrate Recovery.

Too many Christians instead start looking down on a Christian struggling with depression. We can ask if a Christian should be depressed and if they should be depressed over what they are depressed over, but to ask if a Christian should be depressed is a strange question. After all, our Lord was said to be a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering and you can go through the Pauline epistles and regularly find Paul talking about his pain for the churches and what he was going through.

Not only that, when they confess that they are depressed, then we don’t help them often. Instead, we say things that make them feel worse. What do I have in mind? Well….

“You must not have a lot of faith.”

“You must be dealing with some sin.”

“Have you repented of everything?”

“Christians are supposed to have joy.”

“Your prayer life must be lacking.”

“Go read the Bible and pray.”

“Maybe you need a demon cast out of you.”

“Good Christians don’t get depressed.”

I am sure I could add many more. The problem with these is they don’t really take the time to listen to what is going on with the person. The whole philosophy seems to be that we can’t have a depressed person in our midst. I mean, it would be absolutely awful if people realized people in the church have struggles and weaknesses.”

There could even be some truth sometimes to some of these. For instance, sometimes if someone is depressed, it could be because of sin. At that point, we need to work with them and see what it could be and once they ask forgiveness for it, leave it there. Many women can be depressed after getting an abortion and many men after encouraging the women to do so. When this comes out, let the church be the place of forgiveness and then bring it up no more.

We also need to realize that many times we can’t control our feelings as much as we would like. Feelings and emotions come and arise and sometimes we don’t have anything to do with them or know what causes them. Sometimes I can experience some sadness and I don’t know why. It just happens. I try to move on.

That being said, we have much more control over what we do than we realize. Getting depressed isn’t necessarily a choice, but choosing to engage in self-harm or isolation or something of that sort is. I’m not saying it is an easy choice, but it is a choice.

There have been some times where I have had to have my wife hospitalized due to depression and those are tragic times to me. When those times come, I really don’t want to do anything and I have to push myself to do the blog or any apologetics. Whenever I get the chance, I visit her in the hospital, and sometimes I have been very concerned.

There are hospitals out there that do not have good treatment for their patients and the cleanliness and such of the hospital is quite poor. I am left thinking that we wouldn’t put up with this for our physical hospitals. Why do we give our mental hospitals the sort of leftovers?

There are many organizations that people support for physical health such as cancer and other diseases, and we should. Mental health often seems to get the shaft. Many times when we think about mental health? People who do things like mass shootings. As soon as one of these takes place, mental health issues are brought up. It seems foreign to people that sometimes people do evil not because of mental problems, but because they’re, well, evil.

If someone comes to church and we hear that they have cancer, we have a prayer vigil and such, and we should. We don’t seem to treat mental health issues the same way. It’s okay to have cancer in the church. It’s not okay to have depression.

This is especially relevant since many who struggle with this can after some time possibly wrestle with suicide. How can it be we let this happen and yet people are scared to come to the church and talk about these issues? Can you imagine someone struggling with depression being scared to talk to Jesus about it in His earthly ministry? By the way, His earthly ministry hasn’t ended. We’re supposed to continue it, and if people don’t want to come to us when they would to Jesus, we are doing it wrong.

Part of the Christian life is ups and downs. We will all have them. If we want to ask about why someone doesn’t have joy when they have Jesus, let’s ask ourselves first. I sometimes wonder why I can seem to get excited about many more things in my life than about Jesus.

If we ask how a Christian can struggle with depression, let’s ask how they can struggle with pornography or gluttony or greed or anything else. All Christians have some sort of struggle. If you are reading this as a Christian, you have a struggle. The sin that seriously tempts you might be something I don’t get bothered by in the least. Perhaps you couldn’t walk past a bar without being tempted to drink alcohol. I have zero temptation there, but maybe you’re less tempted with pride than I am. We all have something.

I’m also definitely not opposed to Scripture and prayer, but there’s a danger in treating them like a magic charm. “Go and read Psalm X and you will feel just fine!” You can get great comfort and encouragement, but it doesn’t mean the problem goes away.

We should also definitely be encouraging therapy for these people who struggle, but when they come to you with a struggle, they don’t really usually want you to do something about the problem. If you can, great, but one of the best things you can say is absolutely nothing. Just listen. Give a hug. (By the way, I encourage women to share with women and men with men. It’s way too easy for any emotional closeness like that to turn into sexual closeness that it shouldn’t.)

There’s also no sin in taking medication for this. If there is something going on with the brain, this isn’t wrong. Medication can’t be the cure-all and consistently, therapy does better than medication, but it can be an aid. Christians struggling with depression don’t need the added weight put on their shoulders of being told they’re deficient in Christianity due to having depression or taking medication.

Your church has people in it that are hurting greatly. Please always keep that in mind and be willing to be a listening ear and a friend. Do something simple for them. Just taking a friend in need out to lunch might seem small, but it could mean immensely more to the person who gets it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Deeper Waters Podcast 9/1/2018: Allie Peters

What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Life is a beautiful and sacred gift, but sometimes it doesn’t seem like that. We all have times where suffering enters into our lives. Christians aren’t immune. Unfortunately, even Christians can be tempted to make awful choices when that happens. Even Christians can be tempted to throw in the towel. Even Christians can actually attempt to give up, and sadly some will succeed.

Some will not. Some will live on to tell the tale. Life can still be a battle for them, but they will tell the tale about what happened. They can talk about the impact they saw on the people around them and how it affected them. They can talk about what they have learned.

September is suicide awareness month. It is a time of the year when we try to remember that this is a real problem and it’s still with us. Whenever a celebrity has successfully committed suicide, unfortunately, the suicide rates make a spike after that. Sin breeds sin after all.

My wife is one person who has been affected by this greatly seeing as she is herself a suicide survivor. This is after more than one attempt. Her parents have found her after an attempt and I have found her after an attempt. Both of us were left devastated by such events. Indeed, to this day, I cannot hear the siren of a first responder without thinking about it.

We’ll be talking about Allie’s life some as bullying definitely played an impact on her as she was growing up. We might look at this as “kids will be kids” but it is getting worse and social media isn’t helping. I personally place a lot of blame on the self-esteem movement as I am not convinced we can stop all bullying, but we can certainly equip kids to be better able to respond to bullying.

But how can a Christian ever feel this way or even do this? Doesn’t this contradict what we are told in Scripture? If we really think this, is it proper to talk to someone about their salvation status if they are really considering the choice of suicide?

What about other people out there listening? How should we respond if we think someone around us could be contemplating suicide? Are there any warning signs to look for? What do we do if we think that there is someone around us or even on social media who we think could be suicidal? How should we respond to such a claim?

I hope you’ll be listening. As is no doubt known, my wife is my favorite guest to have on the show and we will be here together to talk about this important topic. September is the month for suicide awareness and if you are considering this awful choice or know someone who is, I really hope you’ll listen and please don’t do this choice. All of life is sacred and that includes you.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Suicide Never Ends Pain

Does the dark choice truly work? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Those who know me know that I am hardcore into Christian apologetics. Others also know that I am a hardcore gamer. I have been playing video games for as long as I can remember. Growing up hasn’t changed that. My wife and I are both gamers and when we turn on YouTube on the TV here, we often like to watch a channel like Game Theory, where we look at video games from a very intellectual perspective examining theories.

Yet yesterday I came home from picking up some prescriptions for her to see her depressed. One of the theorists had killed himself. MatPat who is the main mind behind the channel has a very sad video up about what happened. There are also numerous references at the bottom for people wanting help.

It’s hard to think of people in history of whom people will say “Life is so much better since they killed themselves.” If you think of someone, it would have to be someone like Hitler or some other evil tyrant. Usually, the pain never really ends. It just goes on to everyone else. Years later, people still having gaping holes in their heart and try to think about what they could have done.

The thing is that when we do evil, evil seems to increase. Like a cancer, introduce some evil into a good system, and the evil just multiplies. The same is true of goodness. Share some goodness with those around you, and there will be more goodness spread.

This is a terribly evil choice. Those who do this are sadly caught in their own world and it can be hard to get out and no one’s denying that, but it’s at the same time saying that no one else is worth it or nothing else in all of creation is good enough. It is the ultimate insult to all that is and ultimately then, to God Himself.

Perhaps that’s why in Romans 1 not being thankful is one of the great wrongs listed. Could it be all that is really needed is to sit down and write out the things that someone is thankful for? To really sit and think about them? Each one of those is a great might not have been. None of those were required to exist. That belongs only to God.

Moving back to what Matt describes in the video, he talks about how this was around the birth of his first child. No doubt, that is to be a happy event, but will there always be a shadow hanging over it? Will there be a shadow every time a new video is made?

I don’t believe Matt ever told how his friend killed himself, which is another good thing. Saying how it is done often only leads to copycat crimes. Unfortunately, every case of someone doing it only makes it more likely for those listening to consider the same thing. As said, it multiplies.

What about those of us who aren’t like this? Watch yourself, especially around people who have that tendency. Little things you say could have serious repercussions. Pause to consider how that thought could affect the person. Try to show your love for them intensely. Sometimes all they need is to know that you love them. Never assume that they do know it. Always act as if they didn’t and seek to build that up.

Especially for those of us who are Christians, show Jesus to them. Let the love of Christ penetrate them. If they see people who they believe to be strong Christians living in a way that is not Christian, then what will they think of Christ? Seek to show Him best.

Please if you are considering this, reach out and get help.

If you are in need of help, please reach out: US: 1-800-784-2433, 1-800-273-8255, 1-866-4-U-TREVOR Canada: +1 416-408-4357, +1 514-723-4000 UK: +44 (0) 8457 90 90 90, +44 (0) 8457 90 91 92 International List: https://bit.ly/Ka8gdC

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Why Suicide And Self-Harm Questions Matter To Me

Why do I take seriously questions relating to self-harm and suicide? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Last night as I was getting ready to go to bed, I got a question sent to me for a ministry I help answer questions for. It was a question about suicide that also referenced self-harm. The person who passed the question on to me asked me if I was okay to handle it. It was hard, but yes. I was. I did.

Why is it so hard?

Let me tell you about the worst day of my life.

When I met Allie years ago, she had actually just recently before then had a suicide attempt over a guy who was a jerk to her. When I met her, she thought she could make it right with him. That changed quickly. Before too long, she didn’t care about making it right with him. She was interested in me.

So go back a few years ago. I know the date. I don’t want to tell you for my own reasons. I had just got done with a podcast. Allie and my Dad and I were going to go to the movies. I went to see her and was talking to her and she was being quiet. Something seemed strange. I told her I needed to go to the drugstore and she still seemed out of it. Then I heard her say three words that ripped my world apart.

“Nick. I overdosed.”

At that moment, everything comes crashing down. I called 911 instantly in a panic. Fortunately, there was a fire station about a mile away from where we lived. I was calling everyone. I called her parents. I called my parents. My parents lived next door and my mother ran down and jumped on the bed and begged Allie to keep her eyes open.

The firefighters and ambulance that arrived assured us she was going to be okay. They were taking her to the hospital. My Dad and I would follow in his car. Mine had recently been hit by someone and thus I didn’t have one. When my Dad said we would follow the ambulance, I had no idea how literal he meant that. We followed right behind them the whole time through intersections and red lights even.

Allie had multiple people waiting to see her in the waiting room as we had called so many people on the way. Sadly, most of them did not get to see her. I was restless the whole time wondering when I would get to see her. When the time came, I went back there. Of all the people who were allowed to be in the room, two at a time. I was the one who was there the whole time. Her mother also arrived from Atlanta and stayed with her.

I stayed that night with Allie all night long. I didn’t get any sleep. I had to sit in a chair and someone had to come in regularly and turn the lights on to do things like draw blood and other such things. I don’t remember exactly what was done, but I remember being there. The next day, my parents took me home so I could get some sleep for a little while.

I went back that evening and just stayed by her side. We knew sometime they were going to take her to the mental health wing of the hospital. It could have been that night. We didn’t know. When that happened, I couldn’t be with her. The time came that I needed to go. Allie wanted me to stay, but it wasn’t that easy. I had no car. If they took her to the mental health wing, then I would be there at the hospital all night alone with no food and no place to sleep. Not only that, Allie had done this because she felt like two friends of hers had abandoned her. If I go, will she feel abandoned?

It was a hard decision, but I went home. An hour or so later she called me. I was scared she was going to be angry with me. Instead, she said I was right. Within an hour they had taken her to the mental health wing. From there, for the most part, I couldn’t reach her. She could call me sometimes, but they were the rare times.

So I sat at home alone. Many of you know I love doing apologetics, but there was no interest. I would sit in the chair in the living room just watching TV. My mother took care of everything in the house. Also, this time, there was a lot of anger rising up inside of me.

I couldn’t imagine how Allie could do this to me. How could she be willing to leave me like this after all I had done for her? Did these friends matter more to her than me? Was she just telling me that I was no longer worth it? I’m not a good enough reason to go on living?

I remember well the next time I would see her. Allie was taking Dialectical Behavioral Therapy at the hospital. There was a long hall to get to where she was and at the end there was a set of doors with windows you could see through, a short tiny hallway, and another set of doors like that. Now keep in mind, I love Allie, but I was going to tell her how hurt I was and all manner of things. I had a lot of anger in me and I was preparing all I was going to say. It was ready.

Until I went through the first set of doors and saw her at the end of the long hallway after that. As soon as I saw her, immediately I had a mental wipe. I forgot everything I was going to say.

We walked back to the mental health wing. Allie had been allowed to go out for DBT, but soon she would have to go back. We sat on a little bench outside and did I don’t remember what. I’m sure it was talking, hugging, kissing, things of that sort. Once again, it was devastating to see her go back and know I couldn’t see her.

You have to understand that I have a deep devotion to my wife. If things are not the way I think they should be between us, it’s hard for me to function. It is a great disappointment in my life when I think that I do not please Allie. I am always striving to be her man.

A few days later, Allie was able to come home. When she was home, it was wonderful for the first month. Allie was wanting to take care of the house, she was wanting to lose the extra weight she has, she was sharing great notes on Facebook about the joys of knowing Jesus and wanting everyone to know Him, and she was open to my love and freely giving me hers. She walked with a confidence I hadn’t seen. It left me more and more inspired to make changes in my life and be a better man. Ladies. Learn this. If you have a man in your life, nothing will make that man come alive and face challenges like him knowing he brings you joy and you enjoy him.

Except one day, one of those friends she’d thought she’d lost. He had made up with her and then on Facebook he told her she was stupid and from that time on things came crashing down. It all vanished. I do not speak to that person to this day. Before we left Knoxville, I tried to make it right, but things failed miserably. I had to talk to several people to help me deal with the anger. No doubt, there’s still some of it there. Anytime I see someone hurt Allie like this, that anger comes back. I guard her with my life.

Allie also struggles with self-harm. The last time was not too long ago and it was after nearly nine months without. When I found out, I cried for two hours. When I called the crisis line, they were more convinced I was the one in crisis. I don’t care if you think I’m less of a man really for crying for my wife so much. It is an expression of how much she means to me. I had no idea how much any one person could mean to me until Allie came into my life. Today, aside from Jesus Christ, she is the #1 influence in my life.

It hurts me every time. I wonder what is going on that hurting herself brings more relief than letting herself be loved. It is incredibly painful. I am pleased to say Allie has avoided self-harm since then, but I know this is a struggle.

Because of all of this, these questions matter to me. Suicide is never anything to joke about. It’s never anything to be flippant about. It’s also never anything to be glorified and celebrated. We should not treat celebrities who commit suicide like they’re heroes. We can grieve for them and their families, and it doesn’t mean we speak of them like they’re devils, but let’s make sure we all know the action is wicked.

If Allie had succeeded, I know I had the thought going through my head that I was no longer worth it. I would have lived with that thought forever. Suicide leaves such a painful effect on those left behind. They do get to where they can function, but they are never the same.

If you are considering suicide or know someone who is, please reconsider. Get some help at the Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255. Call your local crisis line also. Whatever it is, it is a temporary problem.

Especially if you are a Christian, embrace the love of Christ at this time and realize that even if He seems silent, He is there. He has not abandoned you. You never truly walk alone.

Whoever you are, your life is worth living. You also never need to hurt yourself. Christ took on enough wounds for you. You don’t need to add any more to them. You matter as someone who is in the image of God.

Please don’t make this awful choice. You have more of an impact on those around you than you know and they will never be the same. Celebrate the people who love you today.

When I get a question now about this, I always take it seriously. It matters greatly. I’ve been there. I don’t want anyone else to have to be there.

In Christ,
Nick Peters