Malankara World Journal - Christian Spirituality from an Orthodox Perspective
Malankara World Journal
Theme: Parable of The Sower
Volume 6 No. 357 July 8, 2016

III. General Weekly Features

Family Special: Seven Lies the Enemy Wants Us to Believe about Suicide

by Debbie McDaniel

Suicide, and the threat of suicide, is one of the greatest tragedies that many have experienced among loved ones today.

Its finality brings tremendous grief.

Its loss can usher in feelings of huge guilt shadowing over those left behind.

The sudden awareness that life is too quickly gone, can cause deep turmoil and struggle under the weight of the "what if's" and "why's."

But often, we find ourselves talking most about suicide after it happens. And for some, it's a conversation much too late. Maybe it's time that we as believers, who know Truth and the power of Christ that sets us free, started more discussions. That we begin to open doors, setting aside our own fears and judgments, to help peel back layers, get conversations going, and take the shame out of mental illness, depression, addiction, and suicidal thoughts.

10 hard, fast facts about the reality of suicide from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and SAVE (Suicide Awareness Voices of Education):

1. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US for all ages. (Homicide ranks 17th.) It is the 2nd leading cause of death for 15 - 24 year olds, and the 4th leading cause of death for adults ages 18-65.

2. There is one death by suicide in the US every 12.3 minutes.

3. There is one suicide for every estimated 25 suicide attempts, and one suicide for every estimated 4 suicide attempts in the elderly.

4. Suicide takes the lives of over 38,000 Americans every year.

5. Though depression is known to be a leading cause of suicide, only half of all Americans experiencing an episode of major depression ever receive treatment.

6. The prevalence of suicidal thoughts, suicidal planning and suicide attempts is significantly higher among adults aged 18-29 than among adults aged 30+.

7. Suicide among men is 4x's higher than among women, and represent 79% of all US suicides.

8. Women are more likely than men to have had suicidal thoughts, and attempt suicide 3x's as often as men.

9. The highest suicide rates in the US are among Whites, American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

10. Worldwide, over 800,000 people die by suicide every year.

Statistics tell us that before you get to the end of this article, possibly 4 or more people in our nation will have at least attempted suicide, and 1 may have succeeded.

This world can be a dark place. For any of us, life can get hard, and some seasons feel particularly trying and difficult. One thing we can be certain of, the enemy wants nothing more than to absolutely destroy our lives. The Bible is clear in John 10:10, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy…" Yet the other part of that verse is where we can find hope and strength that is bigger than ourselves. "…I have come that you might have life and have it abundantly."

Christ came to give us life - full, free, abundant life. He came to bring hope and healing. The devil has no authority over our lives, except what we allow him to have. Let's be aware of how he works to deceive and trip us up, so we're better equipped to step over his traps, and cast aside his lies.

7 Lies of Suicide, and the Truth that Sets Us Free:

1. "They're all better off without me."

The lie says we're doing everyone a favor to exit. As if everyone will get over the tragedy quickly and life will move on happier without us there. But no matter what we might think, suicide leaves a crushing impact on all involved. As one leaves this world, their loved ones are left to pick up pieces and deal with great loss and despair. It's never the solution, not for anyone.

Truth says we are loved beyond measure, our lives have great purpose and meaning. We may not see it in the season we're in. We may feel dark clouds of gloom that seem to follow us everywhere we go. But God, in His power, can break through all that mess. He is the mountain-mover, the hope-instiller, the light-bringer. Hold on to Him, even when life looks dark and blurred. And be assured that He is holding you, and won't ever let go.

"The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms…"
- Deut. 33:27

2. "No one really cares about me anyway. I'm all alone in this."

The lie says we're all alone, we're the odd one out. The enemy will make us feel every bit of despair and defeat in the pit we've sunk down into.

But Truth says we are never alone. In the midst of our loneliness and despair, God reminds us, He is there. He sees our pain and knows our way, and promises to be with us always.

"…And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age."
- Matt. 28:20

3. "I just can't face this pain anymore. The trial is too hard."

The lie says we can't go on, that life is too hard to face anymore. Yet Truth says that the power of the Spirit within us gives us the strength to face each day. God reminds us in story after story in His word that He will never waste the pain we struggle through in this life, but He will turn it around for good somehow and use it to strengthen us and to help others.

"Do not fear, for I am with you; do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."
- Is. 41:10

4. "I've lost all hope. I can't go on."

The lie says all hope is gone. Life is seemingly over. But Truth says there is always hope. And though life, as we once knew it, may be changed, it is not over. For if we're still living and breathing in this place, we can know God has a plan. Hope is never meant to be based on us, how good we are, or our circumstances. Hope is only based on God, His character, for He is the One who never fails. As we lift our eyes to look to Him, He will renew our hope and strength.

"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God."
- Ps. 43:5

5. "I'm going to show them how much they hurt me. They'll miss me more after I'm gone."

This is a lie that gets twisted with painful reality. For though it's true that one gone too soon from our lives and world will be greatly missed, the lie says that we're somehow not loved enough while we're still here. So we have to do something to "show everyone" how much they're going to hurt when we leave, like "you'll be sorry when I'm gone." Don't let revenge or anger cause you to make a lasting decision that will end your life. It's never worth it.

Truth reminds us that though people will always fail us in this life, God never will. We all struggle with weaknesses, we've all missed the mark at times. Yet Christ came to heal, forgive, redeem. He makes all things new.

"He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds."
- Ps. 147:3

6. "I've messed everything up. My life is over anyway."

The lie says we've blown it so badly, we might as well end it all. That we don't deserve to live any longer and our mistakes have been too great to ever be forgiven. But Truth says nothing is too difficult for God. His reach is big, and even in our most desperate times, when we've fallen deep into a pit, we're still not too far for His love, forgiveness, and grace to rescue us.

"He brought me up out of the pit of destruction, out of the miry clay, And He set my feet upon a rock making my footsteps firm."
- Ps. 40:2

7. "I'll be remembered more in my death than in my life."

This lie is warped thinking by somehow imagining that one can "make a name for themselves," by actually ending their life instead of choosing to live it. Many times, this can also lead to a strong desire and sense of urgency to "take others out along with them," trying to make their name newsworthy and to create a "legacy," no matter how cruel and evil that legacy might be. Yet the Truth says that light is always greater than darkness. Evil will not win. The choice to live for what is right and godly is what will last forever.

"You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world."
- 1 John 4:4

It is a choice to walk in truth. It's never dictated by how we feel or circumstances that surround, but by a decision we make every day. May God give us the power to choose wisely, to live strong, with renewed purpose and great courage, by the grace of Christ who sets us free.

"And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."
- John 8:32

Note - If you or a loved one is struggling with suicidal thoughts and tendencies, please get help. Don't try to face this on your own. There is hope and healing, and there are many who will journey through this trial with you. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time day or night 24/7, to talk to someone who understands. Or go online at for more information and help.

About The Author:

Debbie McDaniel is a writer, pastor's wife, mom to three amazing kids (and a lot of pets).


Man's Greatest Treasure

by Anthony J. Paone, S.J.


MY CHILD, only in Me will you find what is best and most precious for you. God is far greater and better than all things created. I am the Most High. No one else is all-powerful.

God alone is perfectly charming and full of consolation. In Me you will find perfect beauty and all-satisfying love. Most noble and most glorious above all things is the Maker of all.

2. Beg often for the grace to find your joy in Me above all things created; above health or beauty; above glory and honor; above power and dignity; above all knowledge and cleverness; above all praise and admiration; above all arts and enjoyments; above all material comforts and wealth; above all hopes and promises; above all human consolation and appreciation. Treasure Me more than the gifts and rewards which I bestow on men. In Me you will find more than in everything else.

3. Whatever I give, whatever is not God, is too little and insufficient for you. I made you for Myself, the Perfect Good. Your heart will not find true rest until it rests in Me, the Perfect Giver and the Perfect Gift.


No matter what I like or love, unless it is God Himself, it can never give me the perfect happiness which my soul desires. So many who reached earthly success, finally took their own life. Why? Because they came to realize that nothing on earth could give them the happiness which they wanted. They should have turned at last to God, but they had forgotten Him in their foolish quest for earthly joy.


Dear Lord, I cannot live for a joy that is doomed to fade away. Though I hope for a reasonable joy on earth, I shall never turn my back on You by sin. Earth's good things only reflect Your beauty, Your goodness and Your power. I will never abandon the Glorious Reality for the sake of Its reflection. When I am tempted to sin for some earthly attractions, give me the grace to remember Your goodness, greatness and love. Amen.

Source: My Daily Bread by Anthony J. Paone, S.J., 1954

Debt and Gratitude

by Jill Carattini

"Pay every debt as if God wrote the bill." So goes the counsel of Ralph Waldo Emerson, which is worth considering, perhaps particularly in the season of gift giving. Do you feel pressure to reciprocate when someone treats you to lunch? Do you find yourself repaying kindness for kindness, compliment for compliment, present for present and so on? You are far from alone if you do. According to sociologists, this sense of obligation, which they refer to as the "Rule of Reciprocation," is present in every single known human society. And it is as powerful as it is prevalent. Professor of psychology Robert Cialdini notes, "So typical is it for indebtedness to accompany the receipt of [favors, gifts, and the like] that a phrase like 'much obliged' has become a synonym for 'thank you.'"(1)

The implications of that etymological statement perhaps unveil our haste in responding to debt. Indebtedness is uncomfortable, after all; to be rid of it is liberating. Gratitude, on the contrary, asks much more of us. Our sense of indebtedness is not removed, but lingers in a state of being thankful.

Of course, you can return a favor and still experience gratitude for the favor given you. But you can also return a favor simply to reciprocate, to mindlessly remove that feeling of indebtedness. One psychology class carried out a revealing experiment on this subject. The professor sent Christmas cards to a large list of complete strangers to test the Rule of Reciprocation. He found response astounding. Cards came pouring back to him, all from people he had never met, the vast majority never even inquiring into the identity of the unknown sender! They simply received his card, and automatically sent one in return.

The experiment merits inquiry into our own lives. How do we respond to the sense of obligation? Are we uncomfortable with indebtedness? It is worth asking if for no other reason than that there will be times in life for which there is no fitting response to indebtedness. What happens when we discover there is no appropriate response to the gift or the giver? What will happen when we simply cannot reciprocate?

One simple option is that we respond with gratitude. We come into the presence of the giver with thanksgiving and we are changed by the gift.

It is an option favored by the historical church. Faith in some ways is an invitation into the life of gratitude. For when the giver is the human Son of God, approaching humanity as one of us, freely mediating our case before God, submitting to death and sorrow in innocence, holding the world in heart, how then do we respond? The old hymn perhaps offers much wisdom:

Alas! and did my Savior bleed,
And did my Sovereign die?
Would He devote that sacred head,
For such a worm as I?
Thus might I hide my blushing face,
While His dear cross appears,
Dissolve my heart in thankfulness,
And melt my eyes to tears.
But drops of grief can ne'er repay,
The debt of love I owe:
Here, Lord, I give my self away,
'Tis all that I can do.(2)

It is gratitude that sees this sacred debt for which there is no reciprocating and with devotion says, "Come, Lord Jesus. Here I am."

About The Author:

Jill Carattini is managing editor of A Slice of Infinity at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, Georgia.


(1) Robert Cialdini, Influence: Science and Practice (Boston: Allyn & Bacon, 2001), 20.
(2) Isaac Watts, "Alas and Did my Savior Bleed?"

Source:  Slice of Infinity, RZIM

Thorn in the Flesh

by Greg Laurie

To keep me from becoming proud, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger from Satan to torment me and keep me from becoming proud.
- 2 Corinthians 12:7

Paul's thorn in the flesh that he mentioned in 2 Corinthians 12 could have been some kind of disability, something he'd been born with. More likely, it was something he incurred later in life as a result of his many beatings, shipwrecks, or the time he was stoned and left for dead.

Whatever it was, it bothered him greatly - to the point that he asked the Lord on three separate occasions to take it away. Each time, however, the Lord said no, telling Paul, "My grace is sufficient for you" (verse 9). Effectively Jesus was saying, "Paul, I'm not giving you healing this time. I'm giving you Me. I'm giving you My presence, and that is My answer to you."

Sometimes when we have physical afflictions, the healing will come. By all means pray for it, and pray more than once. Ask the Lord to touch you, heal you, restore you. But there are times in our lives too when He will say, "My grace is sufficient." And instead of a healing, He personally will be there for you in a unique and sufficient way.

God is with you regardless of what hardship, heartache, or storm you may be enduring right now. You are not alone.

I remember teaching my granddaughter Stella some Bible verses when she was only two and-a-half. One was: "Jesus said, 'I will never leave you or forsake you.' " Stella did pretty good with it, even though she said "porsake" instead of "forsake." I don't think she even understands what it means yet. But that's okay; she is hearing God's Word and getting it into her little heart.

What a truth to hang on to! What a handhold in any storm! He will never leave or forsake you . . . even when tragedy hits . . . even when your company downsizes, and you get the dreaded pink slip . . . even when the doctor calls and says, "The test results are back, and I need you to come to my office immediately" . . . even when the phone rings and someone says, "There's been an accident."

You aren't alone. The Lord is standing next to you. He cares. He will be there.

Source: Excerpted from 'Every Day with Jesus' by Greg Laurie, 2013

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