The other day I was surprised to read that suicide is the biggest cause of death of British men under 50 years of age. I was expecting it to be heart disease or cancer. And yet, on reflection, should I be so surprised?
Western, liberal cultures, like ours, seem to be doing their utmost to disregard the truth believed by all Christians that human beings are made in the image of God. Instead, we are constantly fed the “truth” that human beings are no more (or less) than any other animal. There is no doubting the great beauty and variety of the animal kingdom (also made by God, of course), yet the Bible teaches only human beings are created in God’s image. And only human beings have the ability to experience God’s highest and deepest love, not animals.
So it seems to me, when it comes to having a right and true value of ourselves, being informed of just how much we are valued and loved by God, is a far healthier position to be in, rather than being told we are nothing more than an animal. With the latter, it is hardly surprising we are unable to cope with life’s traumas and will go on to suffer from mental health issues. The surprise is there aren’t many more with problems! Perhaps, though, others are just more adept at ignoring their deepest concerns, or perhaps they’re just better at covering it up, or they are stronger at living by the laws of the jungle and the survival of the fittest.
Christianity is different from all other religions, in that it doesn’t tell you to summon up all your strength in order to live as you ought, or that it’s ok if you just live the best life you can. It doesn’t appeal to the strong who can pull it all together and draw on their mental, spiritual and physical resources to get them through. Only Jesus says, “I have come for the weak. I have come for those who admit they are weak. I will save them not by what they do, but through what I do.”
At the climax of his life, Jesus, by whom and through whom all things were created, didn’t go to his rightful throne as Creator and King of all things, instead, such was his love for us, he went to the cross. He came to this earth, as our substitute, to bear evil, suffering and death. He did this so that if we believe, we can be reconciled to him, so when he comes again, the second time, as the almighty and powerful King, he can end all evil without ending us.
The conclusion? It doesn’t matter what traumas you may be currently going through. It doesn’t matter how badly you’ve messed up, or how helpless and despairing you feel; if you repent and come to God through Jesus, not only will God accept you and work in your life, but he delights to work through people like you! He’s been doing it through the whole of human history.