How to stop a suicide
I want to tell you a story about a girl who thought she wanted to commit suicide. This isn’t a story about why she wanted to or what she did, but about how Christian Science saved her. It’s a story about how to stop a suicide.
The particulars of this girl’s story aren’t really important. What you need to know is that she felt worthless, hopeless, and alone. She felt so overwhelmed by her problems, and so incapable of solving them, that she often wondered what the point was in continuing to live.
As God’s idea, she wasn’t simply important; she was actually essential.
This girl was a Christian Scientist, and deep down she knew that these suicidal thoughts didn’t match up with what she’d learned in the Christian Science Sunday School about the nature of God and His creation. For example, she’d learned that God is divine Love, and as Love’s reflection, she must be lovable and loved. That was hard to accept; she wasn’t sure she was worth loving or what God’s love even felt like. But one thing from Sunday School that did make sense to her was the fact that God’s expression would be incomplete without every one of God’s ideas—including her.
Here’s the way Mary Baker Eddy explains this idea in Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures: “If God, who is Life, were parted for a moment from His reflection, man, during that moment there would be no divinity reflected. The Ego would be unexpressed, and the Father would be childless,—no Father” (p. 306).
During her darker moments, even when she wasn’t fully convinced this thought was true, it would often come back to her—like the flame from a match that would briefly illuminate the gloom. In high school, she’d been given a pep talk by a teacher who told her never to forget that she was important—that she mattered. But this spiritual fact about what she was, and the role she had to play in the universe, went deeper than that.
As God’s idea, she wasn’t simply important; she was actually essential. Not always easy to believe, but on some fundamental level she grasped that it was true. And that meant there had to be more to what she was about, and the nature of her existence, than she was seeing on the surface.
She never confided in anyone about how she was feeling, but one friend who was praying for her seemed to perceive the importance of uncovering her God-bestowed value. This value isn’t dependent on our accomplishments, or whether the outward appearance of things says that our lives look great—or like a wreck. This value, this worth, is intrinsic. It’s built-in, guaranteed. It comes to light when we begin to see ourselves spiritually and listen more to what God is telling us about how cherished we are than to the thoughts that scream we’re worthless and a failure.
What enables us to listen to and believe in these messages of hope is the Christ, God’s life-saving power that awakens us to His love. And as this girl discovered, we are never without that Christ, which is “ever present in human consciousness and repeating itself” (Science and Health, p. xi).
Christ speaks to everyone, no matter how unreachable they may appear, and no matter how disinterested in God’s messages they seem to be. These messages are also gorgeously specific to each individual’s needs.
In this girl’s case, several months into praying, an opportunity fell into her lap, completely out of the blue. Not only was it tailor-made to utilize her strengths, but it also offered everything she needed to develop and grow. Later, when she told her friend about it, she found herself crying, because for the first time in her life, she felt sure that God knew her and loved her.
The dark feelings of worthlessness had been replaced by a conviction that her worth was God-given and God-protected
This girl never specifically decided not to commit suicide, but one day she woke up to find that the impulse to take her life had faded. The dark feelings of worthlessness had been replaced by a growing conviction that her worth was God-given and God-protected, and that she was valued—not for what she did, but because of her nature as God’s daughter. Because she is, and has always been, an essential part of God’s creation.
Today, she’ll tell you that her life has changed, both outwardly and inwardly. The biggest difference? She now feels compelled to help others, because she knows that everyone can discover his or her infinite value, and that this discovery changes lives.
Whether you relate more to the girl in this story, or to the friend who helped her, God’s tender reassurance of each individual’s inherent worth is there for you or for someone in your life who needs help. Today, start listening to this message. Believe it, trust it, commit yourself to thinking about why it’s true and what it means. Its power to transform a life is limitless, and no one is beyond its reach. As we pray this way for ourselves, our friends, and our communities, we’ll find that we are spiritually equipped to help stop suicide.