The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Pastor's Corner

Love enough to stop the pain before someone stops it forever


October 19, 2017 | View PDF

Do you think you have to experience something in order to help someone else who is going thorough it? Say, for example, a divorce. If you’ve never gone through one, can you really help someone who is? There’s an idea out there that only someone who has experienced a certain kind of pain can help a person who is living through that same pain. But is that true?

Alaska’s suicide rate is the highest since at least 1996, according to new figures from the state health department. Their annual report shows suicide is the No. 5 leading cause of death in Alaska. Cancer is No. 1.

Alaska recorded 200 suicides in 2015, the latest year we have statistics. Alaska has the second-highest suicide rate in the country, which is a distinction we could do without. If 200 Alaskans killed themselves, then 400 or 800 or 1,000 were left with the agony of living with questions for which they will never know the answer. Forever. The wives, husbands, sons and daughters. The brothers and sisters, the grandchildren. The survivors.

October is Suicide Awareness Month, but this simply highlights the need for all of us to be constantly aware—every month—of helping anyone we know who may be struggling with thoughts of killing themselves.

Call the Alaska CARELINE at 1-877-266-HELP, even if you just want information. Put that number in your phone. Give it to friends and family. If you are helping someone who may be suicidal, call the number and hand the phone to them. Don’t worry about being offensive—be offensive enough to take a chance on saving a life.

God obviously knows everything—He knew what it meant to be human before He was ever born in that manger in Bethlehem. Yet He chose to go ahead and experience existence as a human, to feel what it means to be human. He loves us enough to feel our pain. Sometimes, walking in someone else’s shoes allows us to feel true empathy.

But you don’t have to experience the idea of taking your own life before you can help prevent someone else from taking theirs. Love enough to stop the pain before someone stops it forever.


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