Suicide cannot happen unless one’s perception of one’s self has been denigrated. A depressed spirit and the feeling that one’s life is worthless are the incubators of suicide. As a result, the only sure way to prevent someone from taking their life is to help them realize their life is immensely valuable.
This is why the Christian notion of humanity needs to be advanced. The Bible expresses that man is unique among creation, possessing inherent dignity and worth. This is owing to the fact that man bears the image of God. When man was created in the beginning he was set apart from all other material and immaterial things because he was endowed with the likeness of God.
This likeness has been defined variously, and certainly it entails many diverse things. At the very least it indicates that some of God’s attributes are reflected in man. It should be obvious that man does not possess these attributes in the same way or degree that God does. But, in a much more muted fashion, man expresses some measure of the divine being. These qualities include, but are not limited to, things like compassion, rationality, love, and hatred.
As well, man’s nature points to the divine as man is not just a physical being. God distinguished him from the rest of the created things by giving him an immortal spirit.
Much more could be said on the matter. However, this should be enough for now to make the point clear: Man, as the image bearer of God, possesses inherent worth and a profound dignity.
Indeed, this is what gives credence to the Bible’s command not to murder (see my earlier post). The Bible forbids this because the unjust taking of a human life amounts to an attack on God Himself. Since man bears the image of God, seeking to snuff out that image is virtually equal to an attempt at snuffing out God.
Embedded within the fifth commandment is the fact that man’s dignity far surpasses any plant or animal. Each individual’s worth is so immense that one ought to do all they can to protect and preserve themselves and their neighbors.
Affirming the Christian perspective of man then, provides a sound basis for personal self-esteem. While depression will certainly occur among young people, and not all suicides can be prevented even among Christians, a definite diminishing can occur when young people come to terms with the substantial grandeur of their personal constitution.
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Matt is blessed to be a husband, father, and pastor in Ashland, Ohio.