Last night I received a push notification on my phone that said that one of my favorite actors, Robin Williams, had allegedly committed suicide due to depression. This hit me like a ton of bricks and I’m still in shock. This is so heartbreaking and tragic. So it is when anyone takes their own life.
There are many reasons why someone may take their own life: Mental illness, depression, hopelessness, loss, money, etc. I don’t want to get into all the details of each of those, but I do want to talk about the theme I see in all of them: The Devil.
The Devil loves suicide
Make no mistake, the Devil is real. He is active and he has perfected his strategies. His main mission is to steal, kill and destroy your life. If he can, he will.
John 10:10a (ESV)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy.
When it comes to suicide, he accomplishes all three when he steals, kills and destroys someone’s life. They are no longer a threat to his plans and that is one less person he has to deal with.
The Devil has created systems or cycles geared towards suicide
People do not like pain. We will do anything to feel better. The Devil knows this and has offered many solutions to help us temporarily “feel better.”
Let’s take alcohol dependency as an example. We feel bad, we drink, then we forget about the pain. It wears off, we feel down, we drink, we forget about the pain. We develop a habit, over the course of time, of numbing out when we feel bad. This makes sense. After all, we do not like pain and we naturally want to avoid it.
Little do we know that we are entering into one of his well thought-out plans. The Devil is patient. Many of his plans are crock-pot, slow cooking plans. He is not in a hurry and will slowly steal and destroy your life first, before finally going in for the kill.
Many of the Devil’s plans run on auto-pilot and once he sets up the infrastructure, then they are set into motion.
Another system is sex. We feel bad, then run to sex to feel better and forget about the pain. Over and over we go. Never getting to the core root of the problem, just masking it with a temporary “fix.”
The Devil loves depression
Depression afflicts millions every year and the Devil is great at helping us experience it. He is called the “the accuser of our brothers and sisters” (Revelation 12:10) and the “father of lies” (John 8:44).
The greek word diábolos (where we get the word “Devil”) actually means “a slanderer; a false accuser; unjustly criticizing to hurt (malign) and condemn to sever a relationship.” –BibleHub.com
He wants us to be depressed. I'm not saying he is the sole cause of it, but he wants us down. If he can get us there, he can get us to join one of his destructive systems. Severe depression can stem from mental illness (or a chemical imbalance) and is just as serious as cancer. I believe the enemy has his hand in that as well.
Action Steps: So how do we respond to all of this
1. Realizing that the enemy is hard at work behind the scenes attempting to get us into his systems is helpful so “that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes.” (2 Corinthians 2:11 NIV) Just knowing a piece of the enemy’s playbook is very helpful and can help us recognize and interrupt his strategies as you see them unfold.
2. Take pro-active measures. Just like there are measures you can take to attempt to stay healthy and cancer-free, there are measures you can take to better handle pain and depression. [With that being said, you can live a totally healthy life and still get cancer. Mental illnesses as well].
However, we want to be as pro-active as possible. Example: If you lose your wallet because you aren’t careful to put it in a secure location, that is horrible, but you didn’t do anything proactive to ensure that your wallet stayed secure. Point being: Let’s do our best to be proactive.
For me personally, the key thing that has helped me during times of depression was controlling my thoughts. If we constantly focus on the negative, horrible things in life, depression is waiting for us. Instead the Bible gives instruction on what we should focus on:
Philippians 4:8-9 (ESV)
(8) Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.
(9) What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.
This can be easier said than done. However, it is a discipline that can be turned into a habit over time. Most people naturally focus on the negative. It’s time to interrupt that. I'm not saying that “just be positive” or any fluff like that. I am saying that God's way is the best way. If you are currently in your right mind, praise God, for many are not. Strive to renew your mind.
Romans 12:2 (NIV)
Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will.
3. Know that there is Hope. It may feel like there is none, but there is. God is bigger and stronger than anything the Devil can cook up. He is mighty to save and He is our rock and our salvation. God can set you free from whatever it is that you are currently dealing with.
If you are currently dealing with depression or severe depression, please reach out for help. You do not have to deal with this affliction alone. Talk to a friend, pastor, counselor, or doctor and allow them to “bear your burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” (Galatians 6:2)
4. Be Kind: Everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle. We must remember that everyone is experiencing their own battles. The enemy does not stop and his goal is to “steal, kill and destroy.” Let’s not stop loving people, being kind, spreading the good news and putting others first. Love more, forgive more, be kind.
The Devil is a liar and murderer. He wants to entrap you into his systems. See through them and recognize them when they arise. Know that our God is far more powerful and greater in every regard and He is for you! He has empowered you and He is your rock.
1 John 4:4 (NIV)
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.
Note: This is by no means a complete covering of the topics mentioned above. My heart and hope is that this article would help you see through the enemy’s schemes, get help if you need it and help others who do.
RIP Robin Williams, you brought much joy and laughter to the world. May your words below sink deep into our hearts. God bless you all.
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