Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ministering in the midst of Suicide!

About a few months ago I had to conduct one of the hardest funerals I've ever done. A young man took his life. This past weekend, One man took his own family's lives
Mere miles from our Church. Another happened up the road from us

Then a CFO of Freddie Mac
apparently commits suicide as well.

With tough times, financial crisis ... people get depressed and think the only way out is to end it all.

So what is one to do with dealing with suicide? what is the Church's Role?

Here are some things I'm currently learning and have learned.

I. When someone mentions suicide - take it seriously. Don't brush them off or say don't talk like that.

II. Listen. Sometimes the best thing is to just be there for the person or the family that has lost a loved one.

III. Empathize but don't over do it. You can try to understand but know you aren't exactly them. Don't try to trivialize loss.

IV. Encourage the person. Know that they are loved and valued.

V. Pray for them. Lift their needs before our Father.

VI. REFER. Get expert help. Refer to counseling.

VII. Follow-up on the family. See how they are doing.

VIII. Get them plugged into a Bereavement group, ministries like Hospice to help cope.

IX. Don't have all the answers. I got asked several times "Do you think my loved one is in heaven?" My response - I don't know ... but I do know the God of all comfort, and He knows.

X. Be willing to learn more and explore more resources. Just in the last few weeks - I've visited several chaplains, hospice, pastoral care and the other resources out there to be more effective in ministering to those with loss.

Some of the resources I've come across include:

Survivors of Suicide

Josh McDowell's Handbook on Counseling Youth

Christian Counseling - Gary Collins

Hope Line

Road to Healing

Dealing with this issue isn't easy. I struggle with my own faults, failures, and sometimes try to be "Superman" to others. I don't think I've done the best job but do know God is in control, and just try to love the family in the midst of crisis.

Any other resources, or suggestions?

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