A few years back, I was at a major Christian conference listening to a very famous Christian speaker, who said the following:
"...and can I just mention, if you're seriously contemplating ending your own life, you probably don't know Jesus."
I sat in stunned silence. I honestly cannot tell you a single thing that was contained in the rest of the talk, because all I can remember is hearing those words.
And it wasn't a major point, it wasn't within the narrative of the talk. It was a side point, injected with no added value, just to tell the countless adolescents in the room who have suicidal thoughts that admitting to them meant the same thing as admitting they didn't know Jesus.
Here's my confession, friends: all of my suicide attempts happened while I knew Jesus.
And yes, Jesus is a source of hope and joy and I'm not arguing against that.
But it is possible for depression to come in and convince you of a terrible amount of lies in a short amount of time. And to fight those lies, we need truth, administered in every form possible.
Truth in the form of listening to God.
Truth in the form of reading the Bible.
And especially truth in the form of community, because it's damn near impossible to find the energy to seek out truth yourself when you're in the deep muck of your own brain.
So the absolute worst thing you can do, in any space where you're wanting people to
know they're loved,
know they matter,
know they're valued,
is to convince them not to talk about things. To convince them that by talking about their pain they are also opening themselves up to judgement regarding their commitment to or relationship with Jesus.
Our collective silence in the face of pain is literally killing people. (tweet)
September is Suicide Prevention Month, and the church desperately needs it.
If much of leading people towards light is being willing to step into the darkness, entering hard conversations is the first of those steps.
Friends, this is important. We need to learn how to listen and talk without needing to know the answers. We need to be willing to enter into unsure territory because that's where most people are living, and because that's where we find the most meaningful connections. As Nadia Bolz-Weber puts it, "Our jagged edges create the texture that we connect to each other and God."
God wants us to be whole and healthy, and He uses the people around us to help get us there.
QPR is an easy-to-remember suicide prevention training program that equips you to have hard conversations, the types of conversations that can literally save lives, and connect people to treatment options. I believe in the process of QPR deeply, because I've used it and seen it work. In fact, I believe in this concept so much that I became a certified QPR Instructor who can train others in Suicide Prevention.
In honor of Suicide Prevention Month, any QPR Suicide Prevention Training booked with me during the month of September, no matter the group or size, will be 15% off the normal rate*. Additionally, if someone books QPR for their group and lists you as a reference, your training will be absolutely free!
Pass the information along to anyone you think might be interested in having their staff, team, faculty, or group of friends trained in Suicide Prevention, and help start conversations that can save lives. (Tweet about it!)
Please don't hesitate to contact me with any questions or to get more details.
*Trainings scheduled for later dates qualify, as long as the date is agreed upon during the month of September.