The gospel and suicide are connected to each other.
As I stated last week, youth workers need to be proactive in regards to the issue of suicide, and one great way of doing this is to plant the gospel firmly within our students. Going beyond a simple “Jesus loves you” motif, we need to unpack the total gospel with our students, leading them to discover their identity and worth, which is found in Christ alone. For He is the totality of the Gospel.
Where a growing number of students and young adults are finding suicide to be a viable answer to life’s problems, we desperately need to be providing other answers to them and their friends. My previous post ended with 6 answers I strive to teach students every chance I get, and I want to unpack these answers in the next two posts. I am truly convinced that these answers form the core identity of who we are in Christ, and thus are able to help defeat the strongholds of suicide and bullying.
You are made in the image of God, and nothing changes this.
No one is an accident, or a mistake from God. Every person has been created for a specific purpose, formed in God’s image, and from the overflow of the Father’s heart (Ge 1:26-27, Ps 139:13-14). Because God sees the worth of every person – a worth to love and die for, we should have the same compassion towards one another. However, too many people, especially students, see themselves as someone less than who God sees them as. These lies need to be uprooted and replaced by the Truths of scripture. God alone defines His creation; and no child of His has been made ‘more worthy’ than another (Ep 1:4-5, 2:10, James 2:1-13).
God’s unconditional love for you is greater than any sin you will commit (and have committed).
Two of the greatest promises of God are found in 1 John 3:1-3 and Romans 8:37-39. The Father’s love is secured over and in us by Christ, and no sin can cause that love to be retracted. When we encounter the power of Christ, our lives start anew- “the old has passed away.” Though we are a work in progress and struggles lay ahead, God’s constant love stretches from the beginning of time to the end, unchanged and unhindered. Through the work of Christ, the power of sin is broken, death has lost, and God’s love has won, allowing us to be His eternal sons and daughters (Gal 4:4-7).
Our identity and worth are wrapped around who Christ is, what He has done, and what He will do within our lives.
Going back to 1 John 3:1-3, we are children of God now – not later. As we enter into relationship with Christ, we enter into a place of sonship with the Father. As Christians, then, our identity is rooted in this truth, and not in our power and performance. The world defines us by what we do, while God defines us by what Christ has done. Therefore, because of God’s great love for us, because of His promises, the way’s of God become the desires of our heart (2 Cor 6:16-7:1). We are compelled to do this, not to earn God’s love and favor, but because of the love and favor God has already poured upon us through the Spirit (2 Cor 5:14-15). The transforming work Christ begins in us will continue on, and will even begin to influence those around us as we live life together.
Thanks for caring for hurting students,