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Alabama pastor to the suicidal: ‘Banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer’, ‘Many’ of us want to help


Listen to the 10 min audio

Read the transcript:

CELEBRITY SUICIDES: WHY WOULD THEY DO IT?

TOM LAMPRECHT: Harry, I want to take you to an article out of World Magazine. Sad news as two well-known public figures, fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef and author Anthony Bourdain, who both had successful careers and who both recently committed suicide.

The article goes on to say, the same week those suicides took place, the Centers for Disease Control and prevention released a distressing report that, over the last two decades, U.S. suicide rate has risen by 25 percent and, among people ages 15 to 34, suicide is the second leading cause of death. In 2016, nearly 45,000 people in the United States ended their lives. That means there were more than twice as many suicides as homicides.

DR. REEDER: Here are these two celebrities — rich, famous, acclaimed yet empty in life. One of our issues today is we keep telling people that more money, more power, more applause, more fame will make your life fulfilled. Then why is it that celebrities have the highest rate of drug use? Why do they seek out therapists more than any other class in our society?

The answer is not found in more money, more possessions, more power and more fame; the answer’s found in your soul and the hope that transcends all of the challenges of life in a fallen world.

THE DOUBLE-EDGE SWORD OF SUICIDE IN TODAY’S CULTURE

At the same time that we cringe at the skyrocketing rate of suicide, we are attempting to normalize suicide as a therapeutic act through doctor-assisted suicide or medically-assisted suicide. If suicide is simply a therapeutic act that the medical profession now ought to engage in and embrace and make money off of, then why does the rise of suicide cause within us a revulsion? We know it’s not right.

There are not many things more difficult for me as a pastor than ministry in the lives of families in which suicide has taken place. As much as we would decry, rightly so, suicide as a usurpation of the divine prerogative — the Lord gives life and the Lord takes away life and blessed be the name of the Lord — and the landscape of suffering that suicide leaves behind in the lives of family and loved ones and friends, as we see all of that, the fact is the contributing factors to the act of suicide in our culture today are staggering.

TEMPORARY DESPAIR: WHAT IS IT AND WHAT CAN HELP?

I agree with the one pastor who said this is one of the most difficult things because people took an irreversible remedy to a temporary problem — the temporary problem of emotional distress or chemical imbalance. The fall and the sin not only affected us spiritually and emotionally, but it also affected us chemically and, therefore, it is appropriate to treat some things with chemical therapy.

Interestingly, the rise in chemical treatments of suicidal emotions has actually not reduced the number of suicides, but the number of suicides with the advancement of chemical and drug treatments has actually increased.

Now why? Any chemical treatment has to be repeated. Sometimes, we’re treating some suicidal tendencies as a chemical issue when, in reality, it’s a spiritual issue. That doesn’t mean we do away with those treatments because sometimes it is a physical issue. Sometimes, it’s a spiritual issue.

Now, in most of life, when I make wrong decisions, I can reverse that wrong decision but, in the case of suicide, once you’ve made that decision, you can’t turn it back around. Now, if I get depressed and think that a drunken spree will get me out of it as an answer to my depression, I’ll eventually sober up but if my answer to my depression is suicide, I can’t walk that one back

In ministry in families where there is suicide, it needs to be done very carefully because there are multiple factors at work, all the way from chemical issues, physical issues, wrong use of drugs, self-medicating with drugs and influences in the culture.

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE SAY?

Our culture is telling everybody that the whole goal of life is to be happy. I am grateful for happiness, but happiness is built upon happenstance, which is directly related to circumstances. What the Bible commends to us is joy, which transcends circumstances — circumstances of adversity and circumstances of prosperity and success.

What we have is joy in the Lord. You rejoice in the Lord in the midst of everything because you know He’s at work. The loss of the transcendent that comes through a relationship with Christ over the difficulties and challenges in a fallen world in relationships — in your physiology, in your body, your psychosomatic dynamics in your life — that sense of a joy that is there has now been replaced by a promise of happiness. And, if you don’t have happiness, then in despair, they sometimes are influenced just to end their life. Social media has also produced impact in the lives of people.

And now we’re in a society that belittles the hope that addresses the difficulties of life and that is the victory and triumph of Christ in all of the arena of life. Without the message of hope, all of that is contributing, I believe, to this rise in suicide.

CHRISTIAN HOPE — AND ACTION — CAN COMBAT DESPAIR AND SUICIDE

That world and life view is the answer to reversing this rise in suicide. We do not commit suicide — what we do is commit life. We don’t commit murder against others, nor against ourselves. There is hope through the power of the Gospel to address spiritual and emotional issues and we want to speak the truth in love to one another. By God’s redeeming grace, we can do it and, in God’s common grace, we would pray that that would pervade society.

CULTURE OF DEATH COMES FROM THE FATHER OF DEATH AND LIES

TOM LAMPRECHT:  John 8:44 — we ended yesterday’s program with this verse but let me take you back here again. Christ, speaking of the devil, he said, “He was a murderer from the beginning. He has always hated the truth because there is no truth in him. He lies; it is consistent with his character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” Harry, is there a lie from the lips of Satan into the ear of these people who are contemplating suicide?

DR. REEDER: Tom, I am not able to be there at the moment when the person makes this decision to end their life. I don’t know whether it’s a chemical misfire, or an emotional despair or spiritually deceived, but I do know this. The propagation of a death culture throughout our culture that impacts this statistic of suicide, that is what Satan has brought.

Whether it’s the destruction of life in the womb, destruction of life at the end of life in active euthanasia, or whether it is the normalizing of suicide, I do know the death culture is the product of the lie of Satan.

LET’S WORK ON PROMOTING LIFE — NOW AND ETERNAL

What we want to do is be about life: life that is in Christ, a life that promotes life in the lives of others. If you know someone whose loved one committed suicide or if you know a family where someone committed suicide, don’t step in with just pat answers. You need to step into the lives of survivors with thoughtfulness.

It may have been a medical issue, it may have been confusion that came from self-medication, it may have come off a period of time of abandonment — with all of those contributing factors, there may be a singular answer or they may be multiple answers. And what we need to do is to step in with hope that is found in Christ to those who are the survivors of loved ones who committed suicide and minister to them.

THOSE WHO ARE ON THE BRINK, WE CAN HELP

I also want to say to all who are considering suicide, there may be physical and medical reasons that you are contemplating this and there are doctors who will thoughtfully help you. It may be a spiritual issue in your life. There are many of us as pastors and friends and Christians who want to minister to you.

At this moment, right now, banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer. Pursue the reality that there is an answer and pursue that reality in the right direction. Is it a spiritual issue in your soul? Then we want to bring the hope of the Gospel. Is it a chemical issue or a medical issue that’s taking place in your body and brain? Then there are people who are wise who can help you there — medical doctors who are thoughtful and will minister to you.

There is hope and the hope is in life, not death, because there is One who died for you that you can have life everlasting. Ultimately, your best days can be ahead of you in Christ as Lord and Savior.

Dr. Harry L. Reeder III is the Senior Pastor of Briarwood Presbyterian Church in Birmingham.

This podcast was transcribed by Jessica Havin, editorial assistant for Yellowhammer News, who has transcribed some of the top podcasts in the country and whose work has been featured in a New York Times Bestseller.

1 hour ago

Georgia woman gets five years for filing fraudulent tax returns through Birmingham business

A Georgia woman has been sentenced to five years in prison for preparing and filing fraudulent tax returns through her Alabama-based business.

U.S. Attorney Jay E. Town, in a news release, says U.S. District Judge R. David Proctor sentenced 38-year-old Patrice Anderson on Monday for 13 tax-related counts. A federal jury convicted Anderson in September for using her Birmingham-area business, Queen’s Fast Tax, to file returns between 2009 and 2012 that she knew contained false information.

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Evidence at trial showed that Anderson filed tax returns claiming refundable credits to which her clients were not entitled so that they could receive much larger refunds than they were eligible for. In return, Anderson would charge the clients abnormally high fees – up to $3,000 per fraudulent return – to file their taxes.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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WATCH: Real estate investor Brian Trippe discusses overcoming lethargy to reach full potential

In this episode of Executive Lion’s Living Life On Purpose, Andrew Wells and Matt Wilson sit down with Brian Trippe to discuss life, business and overcoming lethargy to reach your full potential.

Brian Trippe is a successful real estate investor, author, family man, servant-hearted leader, and a follower of Christ. Brian has a passion for helping people learn and grow in life and in business through Alareia.

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WATCH:

3 Takeaways


1) Brian was at a point where he did not want to work or grow. He had to break through that malaise and now he is seeing the fruits of his labor. We all have to overcome the laziness and push through whether we feel like moving forward or not. Breakthrough is on the other side of that.

2) Sometimes, we have early experiences that we can draw from that will help us in the future. Brian was a coach and now he loves to coach people in business to reach all they are capable of achieving. Try to figure out what experiences you have that you can draw from and teach others from your own trial and error.

3) Purpose is a driver in Brian’s life. When you have purpose, the daily grind becomes less difficult. You know why you are doing something versus simply focusing on what you are doing. Discover your purpose and life becomes fun!

2 hours ago

Kay Ivey hits back at Walt Maddox campaign for ‘limited energy’ comment, says he ‘doesn’t have enough energy’ to take a stand on Kavanaugh

Last week, Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox and his campaign for governor took a shot at Governor Kay Ivey’s age, saying the 73-year-old has “limited energy.”

The Ivey campaign responded Monday with a news release blasting Maddox for remaining silent on President Donald Trump’s Brett Kavanaugh nomination to SCOTUS, claiming the Tuscaloosa mayor “doesn’t have enough energy to take a stand” one way or the other on Kavanaugh.

The Ivey news release reads as follows:

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Walt Maddox has shown his true liberal colors by refusing to support President Donald Trump’s pick for the Supreme Court. His repeated dodging and silence has shown that he is going to toe the liberals’ pro-choice party line.

Last week, when asked multiple times about President Trump’s nominee to the U.S. Supreme Court, Maddox refused to support Judge Brett Kavanaugh, who will protect life and defend the Second Amendment. Apparently Maddox doesn’t have enough “energy” to take a stand.

The reality is now clear as day — Maddox’s moderate talk doesn’t match his liberal walk. Alabamians won’t be fooled by a smooth talker who won’t stand up to the radical liberals who now run the Democrat party.

Governor Kay Ivey has made it clear: she supports President Trump’s pick, and encourages all United States Senators to vote for his confirmation. Ivey will always fight to protect Alabamians’ Constitutionally-protected rights, and she is the only candidate for Governor who has been endorsed by the NRA, Susan B. Anthony List, and the Alabama Citizens for Life.

3 hours ago

Trump ally Roger Stone makes a last-minute endorsement ahead of Alabama primary runoff

Former Trump advisor Roger Stone is traveling Alabama with Troy King on Monday, touting King’s credentials in an attempt to give him the edge over Attorney General Steve Marshall in Tuesday’s primary runoff election.

“As you can imagine, I get dozens of requests from good candidates, men and women across the country who are supporters of the president and real conservatives,” Stone said at an event Monday morning in Huntsville. “There’s just not enough days in the month, hours in the day to help everybody I’d like to help.”

“But this race is particularly important because the choice could not be more clear-cut,” Stone said.

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“I hope the people of Alabama will recognize that Steve Marshall is a wolf in sheep’s clothing, a liberal Democrat, posing as a conservative to get through tomorrow’s runoff,” he said.

Stone will be traveling with King to Birmingham, Mobile and Ozark on Monday to reiterate his endorsement pledge.

@jeremywbeaman is a contributing writer for Yellowhammer News

4 hours ago

Steve Marshall returns to campaign in heated AG race with Troy King

Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall and former Attorney General Troy King are making their final pitches to voters ahead of Tuesday’s Republican runoff.

Marshall returned to the campaign trail Saturday for the first time following the suicide of his wife last month.

Marshall thanked people for supporting him during his loss. He said he never considered dropping out of the race because his wife had urged him to run.

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“One of the last things that my wife had left for me was a note. She said that I know you are the man for the job and the man for Alabama,” Marshall said.

A group of GOP attorneys generals, including Pam Bondi of Florida, held rallies with Marshall on Saturday in both ends of the state. Bondi said “ethics and integrity mean everything” and others praised his record as a prosecutor.

“We believe in what he’s doing for Alabama and I believe in what he’s doing for President Trump,” Bondi said Marshall is seeking to win the office in his own right after being appointed last year by then-Gov. Robert Bentley. He previously served 16 years as the district attorney of Marshall County.

Both King and Marshall are stressing their records in the heated runoff.

King, who was attorney general from 2004 to 2011, is seeking a political comeback.

King was appointed as attorney general by then-Gov. Bob Riley. He was elected to a full term in 2006, but he lost the 2010 GOP primary to Luther Strange.

In an interview with the Associated Press, King said he was the true Republican in the race, noting that, as a 10-year-old, he went door-to-door campaigning for Ronald Reagan. Marshall, who was initially appointed by Gov. Don Siegelman, switched to the GOP in 2011.

“On Tuesday this election is about the Republican Party nominating a standard-bearer. Only one of us is a Republican,” King said when asked why runoff voters should choose him.

King will hold a series of Monday rallies with Trump ally Roger Stone.

Both campaigns paused their activities last month following the death of Bridgette Marshall. King said he pulled his commercials from the air for a week after the death out of respect for his opponent.

In returning to the campaign trail, King said he would focus on contrasting their records.

That does not mean the primary has not gotten heated at times.

King criticized Bentley’s appointment of Marshall when Bentley was the subject of an ethics investigation as a “crooked deal.”

King said Marshall got his dream job and “let a man who corrupted Alabama go free.”

Marshall responded that he was ethically required to recuse himself from the investigation, but he appointed an “experienced tough prosecutor” to lead the probe and “six weeks after that Robert Bentley was out of office.” Bentley resigned after pleading guilty to misdemeanor campaign finance violations.

Marshall’s campaign sent out a direct mail piece with unflattering headlines from King’s time as attorney general, including that King had briefly been the subject of a federal grand jury investigation. The probe ended without charges.

King responded that the probe was politically motivated and was leaked to the press to derail his 2010 campaign. He said it ended without charges because he did nothing wrong.

The runoff winner will face Democrat Joseph Siegelman in November.

(Associated Press, copyright 2018)

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