Exposing Internet dark places: Pro-suicide support

    Recently the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported an article regarding the suicide of Nadia Kajouji that involved assistance and encouragement from a 46 year-old Minnesotan nurse. The nurse went online, gained her trust, and encouraged suicide.  The nurse’s license has been suspended and he is being investigated by Minnesota Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation.  Sadly, this is just one story in a long list of stories of people who have turned to dark places on the internet and encouraged to take their own life. 


     In 2003, the internet Magazine, WIRED, ran a three part series examining suicide chat rooms. (http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2003/02/57444?currentPage=2, http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2003/02/57480, http://www.wired.com/culture/lifestyle/news/2003/02/57548?currentPage=2)  It is a sad but true statement, that you can find whatever you are looking for on the internet.  It is filled with lots of dark corners, and for people who are depressed and hopeless with thoughts of suicide, there are places that will provide a helping hand to push the over the edge to destruction. 


     According to www.suicide.org,  in 2001 the number of suicides daily in the United States was about 84 per day.  You start adding in worldwide numbers, and it is even more pronounced.  An examination of headlines related to suicide rates in any search engine will also point out that suicide rates are increasing.  So we have ever increasing information and access to information, as well as increased access to mental health services and medications but yet still more and more people reach the point of hopelessness where suicide becomes the answer. Even more troubling, is that people are out there encouraging suicide as an option. 


      In examining these numbers, it really points to a lack of interpersonal peace and an embracing of hopelessness.  It is developing a mindset that the pain and suffering that they experience either real or perceived is unbearable and death looks like an attractive option.  The choice comes to that of facing death or suffering, and many are choosing “death.” 


     The sad thing is that the numbers are not devoid of professing Christians.  Far too many people who proclaim Christianity, have not really ever understood or grasped the peace found in Jesus that gives strength in surrender.  Far to many, focus as well on real or perceived suffering and make a choice to embrace destruction.


    So what is the answer?  Well, if each person truly understood the love of Jesus and peace that comes with surrender, self-destruction would be greatly reduced.  When one truly grasps the love of Jesus, there is no room for hopelessness. Now, one can still experience all the suffering the world offers, yet the true peace found in Jesus transcends the suffering.  True peace is not about absence of pain or suffering, but is found being able to withstand whatever comes our way. 


     Now with that being said, if you encounter a suicidal person, the answer is not just to share the Gospel and point them to Jesus, for the first step should be to maintain safety.  Pointing a person to true peace and walking them through the darkness of suicidal thinking should involve first ensuring safety, and then gently pointing them to the truth of the Gospel, once safety is assured.  Encouraging them to find help for the suffering and woundedness that triggers suicidal thoughts is also important. 


    Yet, no one can be truly at peace without surrender to Jesus.  There are many dark and deceptive places that will pave the way for others. There are countless ways we can settle for peace that is not the peace that passes understanding.  There are countless paths that lead only to darkness and death.  Only in Jesus is there truely life and peace.


If you are reading this article, find yourself suicidal, seek help and assure your safety first. Suicide is not the answer, it is a permenant solution to what is ultimately but temporary. 


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