Alabama pastor to the suicidal: ‘Banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer’, ‘Many’ of us want to help
- British government resignations signal problems
- What Alan Dershowitz’ shunning says about snowflake culture and intolerance for debate
- Why the Supreme Court’s labor union decision is a win for freedom and education
- Parents denied access to public school sex education materials is shocking government overreach
- Leadership crucial in the church, life
- Reflecting on Independence Day and its meaning
- Justice Kennedy’s retirement and what it could mean for the direction of the country
- How the church and strong families can help adolescents deal with depression
- Should sex offenders be able to adopt?
- What the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s General Assembly prayer gets wrong
- Is it just? Farm Bill requires able-bodied on food stamps to work part-time or get job-training
- Is Alabama-founded PCA church encouraging gay people to identify by sin?
- Alabama pastor to the suicidal: ‘Banish the thought of destruction. It’s not the answer’, ‘Many’ of us want to help
- How to think about ‘human rights council’ and elitist concept of abortion as ‘human right’
- Alabama pastor’s analysis of immigrant parent-child border separation controversy
- James Comey echo of J. Edgar Hoover — amassing power, declaring himself moral authority in FBI
- Historic North Korea Summit explainer and backstory
- News Fatigue? How to think about abundance of 24-hr ‘news’
- Where do you turn when your church strays from your faith?
- Unreal — Medical how-to book for counseling ‘religious’ women that abortion is okay
- Remembering RFK
- It’s inexcusable Clinton didn’t personally apologize to Lewinsky
- Planned Parenthood ignores crime in singular pursuit of death culture
- Do we really want a society that says ANY sexual behavior is fine?
- Reflections from Israel — and how it has changed in the past 30 years
- How to think about ‘aging pastors’ and ‘scarcity’ of millennials in ministry
- What does Christian liberty mean?
- Oh boy … Americans don’t think they sin very often
- How ‘church growth at all costs’ mentality weakens worship
- Should Facebook be the ‘new church’ and ultimate hate speech judge?
- How to think about Memorial Day
- When did marriage, parenthood become about self-fulfillment?
- Government branches must hold each other accountable, not circumvent each other
- Why Christians should visit holy lands
- Making sense of Trump’s negotiations
- Why Trump was right to move embassy to Jerusalem
- Stay married through ‘hurricane’ years, struggles — it’s worth it
- Insanity: NYC mayor wants to enable drug use
- Why it’s crucial that parents examine college faculties
- Why Marxism is cool again — with people who don’t know of its horrors
- A pastor’s perspective on Alabama Attorney General’s ‘Faith Forum’ at Briarwood
- Does archaeology prove or disprove the Bible?
- Don’t get hung up on church numbers — focus on church health, not size
- In the U.K., you only have value if you are wanted
- Startling number of Christians are persecuted around the world
- What is North Korea’s motivation?
- PARENTS: Who is teaching your child, the iPad, the teacher you disagree with, or you?
- Alfie Evans and the ever-encroaching overreach of the state, diminishment of parental rights
- Randa Jarrar and free speech
- Proposed California law will lead to persecution of Christians, possible outlawing of Bible sales
- How should Christians think about Trump’s North Korea stance?
- Barbara Bush and the unique legacies First Ladies leave
- Paul Ryan is understandably ‘bone-tired’ — but I do wish he could stay
- Why the Syrian strike was justified
- Christian colleges: Will you fold under cultural pressures or actually BE what you say you are?
- Transgender chaos playing out as predicted
- Does Facebook smoosh conservative posts? YES. But regulation is not the answer
- What Toys ‘R Us, colleges, and social security have in common
- College class gets it terribly wrong. Christians aren’t privileged — Christianity produces privileges for everyone
- Gender chaos leads to societal chaos
- Cultural Marxism: Do you know what it is and how to fight it?
- How parents can combat Planned Parenthood’s shocking deviant sex education
- Sorry and all, but yes there is a Heaven and Hell
- When elected officials campaign on promises they don’t keep
- Does archeology prove the Bible is true?
- Are the millions of lives lost to abortion less important than lives lost to gun violence?
- We must not sacrifice consistent morality for political pragmatism
- Why do Christians call Christ’s death ‘Good Friday’?
- Single parenthood may be a heroic struggle, but it’s not ideal and shouldn’t be promoted
- Freedoms of speech, religion go hand in hand and are being threatened — even in Christian college classes
- States are trying to criminalize the free speech of those seeking to protect unborn life
- Christian movie revenue shocks Hollywood, blows past estimates — here’s why you need to see it
- Care about free speech? Keep your eyes on Supreme Court dealing with California abortion law
- Why pornography is far from ‘victimless’ and how to quit using it
- Cultural Marxists are using schools, courts to target Christianity
- No, Joy Behar, it’s not a ‘mental illness’ when the Lord speaks to us through his Word
- Despite what Washington Post writer says, Down Syndrome children are only undesirable to selfish, arrogant people
- Facebook’s ‘fact checker’ says the killing of unborn babies in abortion is a ‘disputed fact’
- Be sure your (Twitter) sins will find you out
- Reasons for pro-lifers to rejoice — and double-down — on abortion issues
- How to debate with decorum … and why profane, vulgar arguments reveal weak arguments & minds
- WAKE UP: Pornography is not victimless — it destroys lives and kills people
- Persecution, violence against Christians significantly increased world-wide in 2017
- 3 things contributing to the U.S. drop in life expectancy
- Gov’t attempted to silence this Christian who’s bringing Martin Luther King’s fight to modern times
- Iranian Christians fleeing persecution should get U.S. care and refuge
- What we can learn from the Alabama & Georgia quarterbacks’ post-game responses
- What does academic intolerance of real debate mean for free speech?
- Do you know the frivolous programs your tax dollars fund?
- Blaring Bannon coverage begs question: What’s happened to journalism?
- Call to Christians: Engage in politics & evangelism out of love for neighbor
- New York City votes to fine Biblical counselors for gender dysphoria therapy
- 10 campaign promises Donald Trump kept — or attempted to keep — in his first year
- Is it pointless to make New Year’s resolutions?
- The top 11 news, faith and culture headlines of 2017
- American attitudes about children contribute to our shrinking birth rate
- Here’s what Trump got right (and wrong) in his national security speech
- Tax reform explained: How it helps our culture, our families, our economics
- Advent and Christmas, ever wondered what’s the difference?
- Reformed Christians have lost one of their great theologians, pastors
- The 2 ungodly reactions to politics, current events that Christians must avoid
- Want our trust? The 7 things an elected official MUST do to gain it
- Christian voters faced 4 options in Senate race … only 1 is inexcusable, says Evangelical pastor
- Where the death culture leads: Lawsuits over disabled children who ‘should’ have been aborted
- What’s at stake in the Masterpiece Cakeshop Supreme Court decision
- How to put Trump’s U.S. embassy move to Jerusalem in historical and biblical perspective
- Pastor Harry Reeder: There is hope and a way forward for the Matt Lauers in our lives
- Pastor Harry Reeder: If Supreme Court gets Colorado cake baker, same-sex marriage case wrong, it will be culture tipping point
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Liberal ‘Christianity’ is antithetical to Christianity
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Abortion industry ‘doulas’ try to normalize killing of unborn, but we know abortion is not normal
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Trump’s judicial nominee list shows his commitment to originalists and constitutionalists
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Some evangelicals disagree, but here’s why it’s good to emphasize church celebrations during Christmas
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Our military is weakening and here’s why we need it strong
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Why would we be surprised when culture lives out sexual sin it has promoted for years?
- Pastor Harry Reeder: Churches must stay on-mission as evangelists, not cultural acceptance-seekers
- Pastor Harry Reeder: The Museum of the Bible is a great idea…provided we don’t worship the Bible
- Harry Reeder on sexual reckoning: Our conscience tells us ‘something’s wrong here’ even while our culture promotes sin
- Reeder: We have to be honest despite history rewrites– Pilgrims gave thanks to God
- Reeder: It is ‘absolutely ludicrous’ to think a mother’s absence in crucial first 3 years has no effect
- Reeder: Australian same-sex marriage survey a ‘profile in cowardice’ not courage
- Reeder: Believers ‘speaking up’ made real difference in adoption tax credit provision
- Reeder: Secular culture wants more than ‘tolerance’, insists upon abortion and sexual anarchy ‘celebration’
- Reeder on Roy Moore chaos: ‘Do the next right thing’
- Reeder: Here’s what Christians should say when traditional marriage views are labeled ‘bigotry’
- Reeder on church leaders not meeting privately with the other sex: ‘I’ll take the criticism….I learned it from Billy Graham’
- Reeder on LGBTQ campus activists: ‘They don’t want to debate what a marriage actually is. They want to silence those they cannot answer.’
- Yes, it’s ridiculous there’s a new religion dedicated to AI….but here’s why it matters
- Feeling any Christmas guilt? Here’s the type you should ignore and the type you should face
- Reeder on Tuesday’s elections: ‘To see this as a referendum on Trump is overstating it’
- Two terminally-ill patients who refused assisted suicide to help others & show life’s sanctity
- Lots of older pastors, not many young ones — what’s going on?
- Commercial Surrogacy: The objectification of child-bearing
- Elitist ‘gender-isn’t-real’ culture has descended into sophisticated imbecility
- Chaplain who refused marriage retreat to same-sex couple is up against elite culture enforcers
- Sen. Booker’s grilling of Pompeo prime example of ‘religious test’ to exclude evangelical Christians from office
- GENDER ABSURDITY: A nation, led by pop culture, descends into chaos
- How culture rot happens: Unthinkable –> Laughable –> Thinkable –> Accepted
- How Christians should submit to the government’s law
- How to avoid going ‘wobbly’ on the truth
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.