Suicide, depression

(HarryAnuraag) #1

Hello sir!
My question is, does suicidal tendencies or suicidal thoughts arises because of the depression or pain of an individual or these thoughts arises because of spirit of infirmity as it was mentioned in Luke’s gospel 13 chapter!. Few days back consecutive suicides took place in my university campus. The congregation that I’m a part of, they have gathered and prayed that this spirit should leave and go. That doesn’t seem plausible to me. How to respond when someone says it’s because of the spirit of infirmity? Is it true? Is it because of spirit or because of something else?
Thank you sir :slight_smile:

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(Brian Lalor) #2

Anuraag,

I am very sorry to read that lives have been lost in this manner at your university. The small town I come from has been riddled with the same problem. I lost one close friend on the 2nd of August 1998 and 5 others who were in my larger circle. A girl I know lost two brothers and her boyfriend.

Suicide can be caused by a multitude of reasons including: depression, drug abuse, break up of a relaionship, alcohol or exam stress. In my home town I have been involved in prayer groups commanding evil spirits to leave the youth alone. I believe this is biblical.

We read in Ephesians 6:12, For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the heavenly places’’.

I also believe that the same authority which Jesus gave to his disciples he gave to us. Luke 10:19, ‘‘I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.’’

I believe the spirit of infirmity was an evil spirit that was causing sickness.

So to sum up, suicide can be caused by a number of different factors, but I would say that it is no harm at all to pray against evil in any circumstance, particurarly this one.

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(Sally Alexander) #3

Dear Harry @Anuraag
Death, especially by suicide, hits so hard. I pray that our Father would find hearts that are open to His comfort and Truth during this time and draw them to Himself.

I agree with what @brianlalor has shared, and would like to add what I have been taught and found helpful.

I learned as a corporate trainer that not only people, but groups of people like companies, universities, cities/towns/neighborhoods/states/nations have their own ‘personality’, their own attitudes that show in the things they do, the way they live. With His body, His Spirit shows through us in our attitudes of love, joy, peace, patience and other attitudes that are the fruit of His Spirit. The same is true with the father of lies. (Romans 8:5-7)
Example: I had a mentor once who was legally blind. We would walk through different neighborhoods of our city in prayer and she would get a sense of the place, then have me describe the houses, the yards, the people who were out. She would share with me how those visible things were symptoms, expressions of the ‘heart’ of the place, the prevailing attitudes, the spirit ruling the lives of the people. When we as individuals believe a lie, we open the door for the father of lies to enter. When several people, especially leaders, of a group believe a lie, it opens the group to the work of the father of lies. It is rare for people to notice or question the lie, most or many in that group believe the same thing, so it ‘must be true’. My mentor taught me to see the results of the ‘attitudes’, the ‘heart’ of a neighborhood, which were often the visible result of the work of a ‘spirit’, the father of lies, in the place.
The father of lies may use different ‘triggers’ to move people to believe a certain lie. For instance, one person might have come to believe that their worth was defined by their wealth because of feeling shame for poverty in childhood, while another may have had a father whom they could never please, so turned to wealth as a more tangible measure worth.

When there are several things, in this case the suicides, that happen close together within one place or one group, I do believe it is likely the visible result of the work of the father of lies in that place or group.

Yes, our Savior did give us authority, but it is essential that we use that authority with wisdom. In some areas, a landlord has the authority to evict a non-paying tenant, but it would be wrong for him to evict a tenant who had paid his rent and had the right to be there. The wrongfully evicted renter could take the landlord to court and the landlord would be made to pay damages. Some believe that when a person or a group does not believe the truth/Truth, but has believed a lie, they have given the father of lies legal right to work in their lives in the area of that lie, and those who try to then command the father of lies to leave when he has legal right to be there (similar to evicting a tenant without cause), are in for a challenging time. Those who believe this teach that we are to ask our Father to send the Spirit of Truth to reveal the lie to individuals in that group (often by using His people who are praying this), change their hearts to embrace the Truth (Him), so the father of lies will no longer have the right to work in them, and perhaps, eventually, also loose the right to work in that group in that way.

What might the lie be? What is almost certain, is that it is focused away from our Father and usually focused on ourselves. What is also certain in this case, especially, is that the lie(s) has become so very real, more real to some than His Truth; it is not just an issue of the head, but an issue of their heart, the very core of their being. Perhaps there is a specific lie, a common thread that they felt hopeless because they believed grades are the key to the future, when He is the One Who opens doors that no man can close (Rev 3:8). Perhaps they felt unloved, when His Love surpasses knowledge (Eph 3:19), or that life no longer had meaning or purpose, when He gave us meaning and purpose before He gave us breath (Gen 1:26). He knows the enemy, is able to share his tactics with us, and by His Spirit He is able to defeat the enemy (Zec 4:6). The core of the answer is to deal with not just the head, but the heart, to bring us, who are dust, back to the One Who is not only The Way, The Truth and The Life. (John 14:6), but Love (I John 4:8,16), to be willing yield to Him, to abandon our ways to His Way, our lies to His Truth, to recognize our own death and His Life, and allow His Love to flow in our own lives, willing to share Him in the place where He has planted us.

With that as a background, I would like to address your question:

Something about this is bothering you. First, I would recommend you spend time with Him and ask Him if He has more for you and/or more for this congregation. Second, you may find that questioning might be a good response. Some questions that come to mind:

– If it is a spirit of infirmity, can a spirit of infirmity (or any spirit) just come upon anyone or any group and have its way? How does a spirit get control over one’s life? Is there a reason it might be here? Why is it here, how did it get here, what opened the door? If it goes, how do we know it will not return (Matt 12:43-45)? What should we do to help prevent its return?
– If we are the light of the world, how did this darkness take hold in our community (Matt 5:14)? What other darkness is also taking hold that we are not confronting? Have we put His Light under a basket? How can His light shine more brightly through us?
– Is He calling us to do more to address this? Is He also revealing lies that we have believed or Truth we have not yet learned? Is He asking us to take the life of each one made in His image more seriously, to love each one He brings our way with His Love? Is He asking us to lay down our agendas and schedules, let Him live through us, be willing to pray with the hurting when and where He brings them to us, even if it is in the middle of a grocery store, we only planned a 10 minute trip and someone needs not only our time, but our heart and His Spirit for 20 minutes? I have met people that He regularly brings hurting strangers to, even in the middle of a quick trip to the grocery store, even when walking their dog, even when on their way to a meeting. Or He has called them to pray, even at the beginning of a final, for more than half of the time allowed, because it was life and death at stake, far more important than one final.

He is far more powerful than the enemy.
He is able to use the ‘victories’ of the enemy to bring his own defeat, as He did at the cross.

Thank you for posting your question. Recently, there have been several sudden deaths in my circle. Your question allowed me to process some of the things He is calling to my attention, perhaps He is using the suicides to bring them to your attention as well.

Harry, I know this has been long. I pray that something in this has also been helpful. You, your congregation and the university are in my prayers. May He lead you into all that He has for you.

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(Dennis Gladden) #4

@Anuraag This is a probing and timely question. @brianlalor is right that suicide has many causes. I think we have to be careful, though, about associating spirits too broadly with infirmity. We all have infirmities, but that does not mean an evil spirit is necessarily their cause. I think we are on safer ground to understand infirmities are generally a consequence of our sin nature. It is significant that Paul says the Holy Spirit helps our infirmities (Romans 8:26). He doesn’t talk about casting out spirits in this regard.

Your post immediately brought Job to mind. Job was so desperate that he wanted to die. He was not infirm, but a man who even God said there was no one like him in his generation. Yet, Job became so discouraged that he wished he hadn’t been born. In the 3rd chapter of Job he expresses what I think are the deep longings that drive anyone to the point of wanting to die. Job was desperate for peace, rest and freedom and he talks about how those who want these find them in the grave.

Despite wanting an end to his life, Job did not take his life. He found hope, instead, in his redeemer. The same is true for us. Jesus is our redeemer who gives us His peace, who calls us to Himself to find rest and who promises that if He sets us free, we are free indeed. Rather than taking our own life, the good news is that we can find new life in Jesus.

It seems you are on a campus that needs this hope. May the Lord make you His salt and light there.

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(Chad Berry) #5

I’ve struggled with the issues of depression and suicide at points in my life. I abused stimulants at a young age 10-14. I’m only 27. It’s driven me to God. Ephesians 6:12 really spoke to me when reading it in this thread. Does anyone know of books on prayer and spiritual warfare. We need to stir each other up and onward on this forum! There is a real battle in the heaveanliess but take heart God has given us his armor! God doesn’t promise removal of these struggles but sufficiency in them Phillipians 4:13! Paul despaired when he said of the ministry of the gospel who is sufficient for these things?! But God has made us able. Sorry if that’s a misquote I believe the verses are in 1 or 2 Corinthians. This is a reminder to me that suffering is a part of following Christ! Not to hurt but to keep humble!

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(Lakshmi Mehta) #7

@Anuraag, I am so sorry to hear that many on your campus took their life recently. I too think that the cause can be both spiritual and natural as others have noted. Suicides after exam results are so common in India and may have a lot to do with the cultural pressures for academic excellence and the high competition for admission into good schools. Without a worldview that celebrates value of a person as being made in the image of God, suicide can be tempting when faced with failure in performance. I think we don’t need to assume however that the evil one is not involved. There are many verses that talk about how the world can be in the control of the evil one without the knowledge of Christ (1John 5:18-20). Even if a person is born again, if the person steps into the territory of the devil, he/she can give the devil a foothold (Eph 4:27). I think we see an example of a suicidal spirit in Mark 9:22 where a spirit causes a boy to throw himself into fire and water to kill himself.

I too have encountered a situation similar to yours in India several years ago. A hindu teenage girl with no history of depression being afraid of failing an exam tried to kill herself. Many Christians prayed for her and thankfully she had a change of mind and didn’t go through with the suicide. We don’t know if suicide in this case was caused by self-will or the will of the evil one but it was overturned by prayer. I don’t doubt that clinical depression can lead to suicidal thoughts but even in a clinical situation, I have to wonder if we are more prone to suicidal thoughts from the evil one when the body is weak. Whatever the cause for suicide, I think prayer with spiritual warfare is very much necessary. I would only be concerned if people fail to get medical attention thinking of it as a lack of faith in prayer. God can use both natural and supernatural means to answer our prayers. Hope that’s helpful.

@Chad.Berry, thank you so much for sharing your own journey with suicidal thoughts and how it led you to God. I know someone who is struggling with this currently and it gives me hope. I noticed that you were looking for some books on prayer and spiritual warfare. On the recommendation of a pastor I know who has experience in spiritual warfare, I would like to suggest, “The Authority of a believer” by John MacMillan. John MacMillan (1873-1956) was a presbyterian who with his wife who was a personal nurse to Hudson Taylor, went to China as a missionary with The Christian and Missionary Alliance. This book came out of years of many dramatic experiences with spiritual warfare that he had on his missions. For prayer, I have personally learnt much from Andrew Murray’s works. EM Bounds (1835 - 1913) books on prayer are also some excellent resources. God bless your journey!

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(C Rhodes) #8

@Anuraag. Because we are both spirit and flesh, the one can impact the other. I would imagine that’s why your Church has entered into prayerful warfare. I would also imagine that they understand the most significant trait for human existence is the eternal spirit. We will leave these bodies behind because the corruptible cannot access the incorruptible existence of the next life. They are simply addressing the portion of our being that overshadows the physical. The physical needs proper attendance, but addressing the physical alone will not bring resolution. Ephesians 6:12 identifies where our most poignant impact can be known. Medicine, proper rest, proper exercise, and proper eating will only make things bearable and manageable. Prayer adds the healing aspect to our struggles.

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(HarryAnuraag) #9

Thank You sir. Please keep my university in prayers.

(HarryAnuraag) #10

Thank you sir for spending your valuble time for answering my question. Thank you for your prayers sir.

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(HarryAnuraag) #11

Thank You Sir for your response.

(HarryAnuraag) #12

Thank you mam for your answer.

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(HarryAnuraag) #13

very true sir. Thank you for your response too.

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