A Legacy Killer

No matter how bad things appear to be, suicide is never a good option.

 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10 (NIV)

Don’t do it.

Please!

Just don’t do it.

No matter how bad things appear to be, suicide is never a good option.

Meet “Simon”

In the fading moments of a recent men’s retreat, a man named “Simon” (not his real name), approached me, anxious to talk.  His darting eyes gave him away, but his shaking hands betrayed his fragile state as well.  Desperation drenched his words as he revealed his recent unemployment, his wife’s fear of losing their house, and his own plummeting self-esteem.

“I just never thought I’d be here, Travis,” Simon lamented.  “Sure, there were signs that things at work weren’t going very well.  So my boss eventually took me into a room, and basically forced me to sign paperwork saying that I was incapable of performing my current job, a job I had done well – or at least thought I had been doing well – for years.  I refused to sign it, but they fired me any way.”

My own eyes took in this trembling man, a man absolutely terrified.  A man not unlike me just years earlier.

As an act of both compassion and commiseration, I instinctively placed my hand on his shoulder: I’ve endured three unemployments myself.  Indeed, Simon and I had something in common.

The air around us now seemed heavier, and, to combat its sapping effects, I was just about to suggest we enter into prayer together.

And that’s when Simon revealed what he really wanted to talk to me about….

“Pastor,” Simon half-whispered, “you’re the first person I’ve told this to, but I just bought a gun last week.”  His formerly darting eyes now focused squarely on my own as he admitted, “I almost don’t see any other option at this point.”

Silence.

I was shocked; didn’t see that coming.  Yet, Simon’s absent look was now too prominent, too unsettling to mistake.  And, for once it seemed, I didn’t immediately have any words to say.  I was stunned.

In His graciousness, God gave me the words to share with Simon, “You don’t want to do that, Simon.  Your wife and your children will never get over your death.  Satan is speaking lies into your life, and you’re starting to believe him that the world would be better off without you.  Don’t listen to Satan!  Jesus loves you and wants the best for you.  Please, Simon, as soon as you get home, please, please return that gun or at least give it to someone outside of your house you can trust.  Jesus has so much for you to live for!”

We collapsed into an embrace, as I prayed words for Simon that I simply cannot recall; the Spirit comforted him in our brokenness.  I followed up with Simon the next day and encouraged him to remove the temptation this new firearm presented.  Thankfully, Simon responded, promising me that he would indeed get rid of the weapon, and we discussed how to get him the help he needed.

A Legacy Killer

Since we relaunched our ministry back in May 2016, A Faithful Dad has been running with the theme of legacy by asking a simple question: What legacy do I want to leave my family?

This legacy is, of course, the focus of both our book and its accompanying small group DVD, A Faithful Dad’s Guide to Legacy (Amazon).  In these resources, we engage in the timely discussion of what is truly lasting; here’s an excerpt:

“As fine as endowments are, and as inspiring as building campaigns can be, and as humbling as having a city named after you is, none of these legacies is truly lasting.  This reality may have many of us rethinking exactly what it is we’re leaving behind for our family.  It’s not our house, it’s not our investment portfolio, and it’s not our dashingly good looks, because none of these are lasting.  No, it’s about something – Someone – much bigger than us. “

I encourage you pick up copies for your family and your church, but can I just cut to the chase of why God directed me to write this update?

Suicide is a legacy killer.

Literally.

Your short-term “gain” is long-term pain for so many: your bride, your kids, your parents, your nephews and nieces, and your friends to name a prominent few.  It’s a lousy option fraught with anguish, my brothers.

And, yet, so many of us men struggle mightily the thoughts of ending our suffering by ending our lives.  I know, I know – believe when I say I KNOW: grief is not rational.

But there’s a better way, a much better way….

Full life through Jesus

Jesus intimately knows the challenges we men go through, and He is especially tender to us in our times of greatest need.  So, it’s comforting to know our Savior protects us though all of life’s challenges.  In fact, Jesus compares Satan to a thief bent on murderous acts of destruction and violence, but Jesus promises us full life in Him alone.  Listen to Jesus’ assurances of John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”

Remember, Jesus doesn’t promise that we’ll never experience hard times, rejections, and sorrows.  In truth, He was man of sorrows and familiar with suffering (Isaiah 53:3), and He ultimately suffered on Calvary’s cross to pay the price for our sins (Romans 4:25) in obedience to the Father’s command!  But what God does promise is SO much more: we will have life to the full (John 10:10), full of His love (John 3:16), full of His presence (John 14:16), full of His salvation (Hebrews 7:25)!

So, as I close here, may I ask you to please pray for “Simon” and all those grappling with this ghastly decision?  You see, in wrestling with the specter of suicide, Simon and I also have something else in common…

I’ve been there, too.

On behalf of our board and serving Jesus with you,

Travis L. Zimmerman

Pastor and Co-Founder

traviszim
travis@afaithfuldad.org
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