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Posts Tagged ‘faith based’

suicide prevention month

Suicide is a significant problem in the military claiming the lives of 22 veterans each day.

Suicide also takes a tremendous toll on our society.  In 2013, 41,149 suicide deaths were reported in the US.  We could easily read these suicide rates and forget that every number represents not only a life lost, but also a broken family, and a community wounded with pain.  Each death leaves behind a group of hurting people.

There is no “one size fits all” solution to suicide.  People contemplate suicide for many different reasons:  substance abuse, divorce, family separation, financial matters, legal trouble, a major illness, depression, and many other reasons. While the causes vary, we can all show universal concern and support.

Here are some ways to help people at-risk of suicide.

  1. Be present.  Show your concern for people in pain.  Make time for the person who is hurting. Scripture shares that we need to “bear one another’s burdens…” (Galatians 6:2).  Take time to help others through their days of difficulty.
  2. Listen.  Allow that person to say what is causing the pain.  Share the gift of silent listening and then you can guide your friend with wise counsel.
  3. Do something.  The Bible encourages us to be, “doers of the word, not hearers only…” (James 1:22).  Too often, people at-risk are so overwhelmed with depression, stress, or anguish that they don’t know where to turn next, give that person guidance.  Share resources that can help.  Take them to a doctor, pastor, or counselor.  Call the VA hospital.  Find a way to connect the person with assistance.  Take action.

September is Suicide Prevention Month.  Take time to talk with a friend who is down.  Share the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline:  1-800-273-8255.  It is a 24/7 resource with trained professionals ready to help people find encouragement and hope.

Make a difference by addressing the problem of suicide.  Demonstrate compassion and concern for those who are hurting.  Be available to friends in need and take time to listen.  The time you invest could save a life.

 

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moore

During the past week, you could not help but see the horrible path left in the wake of a killer tornado.  The people of Moore, Oklahoma are no strangers to quick storms, but this tornado will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.  It killed 24 people, uprooted families, devastated multiple communities, destroyed schools, wrecked churches, and performed an estimated $2 billion worth of damage.

The scenes were reminiscent of the Joplin, Missouri tornado where 161 people were killed nearly two years ago.  The sights even reminded people of the Branson, Missouri tornado last year that did millions of dollars in damage along highway 76 and downtown.

During the recent storm in Oklahoma, much was totally destroyed and much is still needed by the survivors.  Emergency relief agencies were quick to respond.  State and federal aid workers were quickly on the scene to provide the basic necessities of life.  But I found it so very encouraging to see how the people of Joplin and Branson joined in the relief and recovery effort.

Joplin sent a team of public safety employees from the police and fire departments. Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr said that his community remembers the assistance it received in 2011 and feels an obligation to lend a hand in Moore.

Branson businesses, churches, and entertainers have conducted multiple benefits to raise funds for the Moore tornado victims.  As school is now out for the year, many classes are undertaking volunteer clean up efforts.

What a tremendous blessing!  These two communities understand the hurt and pain that this storm brought because of their past suffering.  By sending emergency personnel, donations, and volunteers they are able to offer help and hope to the people of Oklahoma.

It is a commendable example we find in scripture.  2 Corinthians 1:3-5 shares this, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.”

We are called to comfort those in any kind of trouble.  We are to comfort just as God has given comfort to us.  This passage is a great reminder of how we can be a living sermon to people who do not know Jesus.  As Christians and faith-based agencies continue to provide comfort, let us join in the effort through prayer and gifts of our time and wealth.

The people of Joplin and Branson have painted a beautiful picture of how the “Church” should respond to people in need and fulfill the work of Christ.  The sufferings of the past are being redeemed and transformed into a holy and righteous effort to help people in crisis today.  I hope that this “faith-based FEMA” is able to continue and grow as people respond to this tragedy.

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