A Godly Response to a Suicide

One of our students committed suicide. One of our Christian Intervention students. A student who had graduated from our classes.

On Tuesday, a couple of weeks ago, he came by the office to pick up his completion certificate as, although he had finished all his lessons, he had not attended the ceremony we have once a month in which we acknowledge those who have accomplished such a thing. “How are you doing?” Michael asked him after I had taken the certificate from the files and it had been given to him.

“Terrible. I can’t find a job. I’m doing terrible.”

He was an exceptionally attractive man, tall, polite, and pleasant. A former employer of his had told us that once–in better economic times– when he was hired on for a job, he sent a floral arrangement to the hiring office, thanking them for the opportunity of a job.

He was a nice man, yet now he stood in our office area saying, “I’m doing badly.”

Mike paused, and as the man turned toward the exit door, said, “You need to come to church, Sunday.”

“I’ve tried church and it did not help me. I’ve stopped drinking and smoking and things have become worse.” He pushed through the door…and that was the last time I saw him.

Mike followed him to his car, trying to speak encouragement to him. But the man persisted in his feeling of hopelessness. “No good, Mike. This is probably costing me a divorce. I’ll likely go back to my old ways…probably wind up in jail once more…you may not see me again.”

On Wednesday the man told his wife he was planning suicide. She removed all guns from the house. On Wednesday evening he attended a sports function with his two children. On Thursday morning, he called his wife and warned her he planned to hang himself. She called her brother who rushed to the home…too late…finding that the man had accomplished the dreadful deed.

Mike was devastated, as indeed were all of us…and of course the ghastly question was: Did we do our best? Did we do all we could have for this dear man?

A couple of days ago, Mike had a long conversation with the deceased man’s wife. I’ve been reading extensively through his Christian Intervention workbook, and from that I’ve learned how lonely he was. How isolated and alienated he felt. I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize that, she told Mike.

Because of this shattering incident, and because of exceptional growth and interest in salvation at Christ Alive, Mike, my husband, and Andrew decided on a very different Wednesday session for last night. Our 7:00 o’clock Bible study was moved to 6:00, and instead of CIP lesson 15, Andrew taught from the Bible, utilizing Search For Truth slides, on repentance, baptism in Jesus Name, and the receiving of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Mike opened the session. He reminded those gathered of the recent tragic death of that person who was a friend and fellow-student to many of those there. I’ve thought much about this…wondered if I did enough for him…wonder if I do enough for you in these CIP sessions…and have decided to take this extraordinary step in class tonight. My brother will be teaching you exactly how to be saved–according to the Bible.

Any who are not comfortable with this are welcome to leave now.”

It was stone-quiet. No one moved.

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The Perils of Sexting

I sat in the seminar and listened. For some reason, the speaker asked that the taping be stopped as she spoke about the subject.

“Sexting,” she warned. Quizzing the mothers in the group, she continued: Are you familiar with sexting? Are you aware that, on the internet, young people are sending nude pictures of themselves? Do you know they’re photographing intimate parts of their bodies? Do your children really need a cell phone? Do they need the texting feature if you decide that indeed they need a cell phone?

Ask Albert and Cynthia Logan about sexting. Cynthia has come forward with a plea for restrictions on these activities. On July 3rd last year, her daughter bildeJessica, an 18-year-old Sycamore High School senior hanged herself in her bedroom, after having sent a nude photo to her boyfriend. She was Albert and Cynthia’s only child.

Now, Jessie’s parents are attempting to launch a national campaign seeking laws to address “sexting” – the practice of forwarding and posting sexually explicit cell-phone photos online. The Logans also want to warn teens of the harassment, humiliation and bullying that can occur when that photo gets forwarded.

Cynthia Logan and Parry Aftab, an attorney and one of the leading authorities on Internet security and cyberbullying, plan to attach Jessie’s name to a national campaign to educate teens about the dangers of sexting.

Aftab, based in New York, is the catalyst for a network of volunteers working to stop cyberbullying. She operates two Web sites:, the world’s largest and oldest cyber safety organization, and

More here.

After Jessica sent the nude picture of herself to her boyfriend, he in turn sent it on to other people. When Jessica learned of this, she was embarrassed, and according to her parents, her whole personality changed.

Pressure is on young people to join in this lewd and dangerous practice.

A national study by the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy revealed that 1 in 5 teen girls or 22 percent say they have electronically sent or posted nude or semi-nude images online of themselves.

Some area school resource officers and principals estimate that at least half of the students have an inappropriate photo on their cell phone.

It was her mother who discovered Jessie hanging in her bedroom.

I’m using this news story as a base for voicing my own concerns about our young people and the challenges they face in this increasingly knotty and convoluted society. I am raw with grief, anyway, and feel compelled to bring this issue to your attention. As parents and grandparents–as citizens of this bewildering world–we must be ever mindful of our children; attentive and hawk-eyed. The degree of watchfulness that served well prior generations is not enough today. Extreme vigilance must be our mantra; courage and grit our formula as we guide our children through these perilous days.

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Chantal Sebire Found Dead

You may recall that a couple of days ago, I wrote about the tension that has existed in the life of Chantal Sebire. Several of you voiced opinions agreeing that it is not appropriate to assist in a suicide, or indeed to commit suicide, although some of you disagreed. Yesterday, Chantal was found dead.

PARIS — A woman who suffered from a painful facial tumor and had drawn headlines across France with her quest for doctor-assisted suicide was found dead Wednesday, an official said.

Chantal Sebire, a former schoolteacher and mother of three, was found at her home in the eastern French town of Plombieres-les-Dijon, a government official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

The circumstances of her death were not immediately clear. Sebire, 52, was diagnosed nearly eight years ago with esthesioneuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer.

Read more here.


My devotional blog is here.

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The Allure of Suicide

 Edit: Thursday, March 20, 2008   Chantal has been found dead.

I have definite opinions on many things, often to the extent that it puzzles me why others don’t see things the same as I. The ramification of some issues seems so definite, so easily understood, and so quickly judged. There are many areas, though, when I can see both sides of a situation, and to take a stance one way or the other is difficult or downright impossible. Such a challenging set of affairs is the story of Chantal Seibre who is suffering from a painful, very disfiguring disease, and who wants to commit suicide.

A FRENCH court has rejected a request from a 52-year-old severely disfigured former schoolteacher for the right to die, in a case that has stirred much emotion in France.

The high court in Dijon, eastern France, decided to side with the prosecution which argued current legislation does not allow Chantal Sebire’s doctor to prescribe lethal drugs.

More here.

Chantal suffers excruciating pain, and is so terribly disfigured that children run in fear from her. She no longer wants to live this way, and pleads that one would have mercy on an animal who suffers as she does, and would put the animal out of its misery. Her picture is available on this link that includes the remainder of the article. (I couldn’t bear to bring the picture over. Be warned. It is graphic and possibly disturbing.)

What is your opinion? Should someone like this be allowed to commit suicide? How about assisting her? What about the Bible that speaks against killing? What about her extreme pain? How about the sanctity of life?

I’ll comment more later when I return from my Bible study.


My devotional blog is here.

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Belief–Principle 1

“They can conquer who believe they can.”


I will probably spend more than one day on this subject for its thrust is massive, and I am gripped by the far-reaching tentacles of such understanding.

Principle 1

We must believe in ourselves if we are to succeed.

It is almost incomprehensible to imagine success for a person who does not believe in himself. Latent talent shrivels, inherent gifts fail to mature, and strategic ideas birthed in a brilliant mind find no nurturing soil, and thus fail to mature. The person who does not believe in himself will likely spend his days among shattered, ill-laid plans, wrecked relationships, and ultimate failure.There are exceptions, but typically whether or not a person believes in himself springs from an inner mirror that is reflected from those around him–his parents, his teachers, his minister, his neighbors. How the world perceives him, how they mirror it back, how they speak to him, of what goals and talents they converse–determine to a large extent the image that person grasps.
The mantle, then, rests on you and me. We each are charged to touch our friends, our students, our family–especially our children–and to mirror our positive thoughts and aspirations for them. For it is only when man believes in himself that his finest work will be done. It is a powerful force we possess–that of helping another believe in himself.
I’m not sure where I read her story, but I want to bring part of it to you today. She was identified only as a 13-year-old student, and she tells of a very difficult time in her life…when she had totally lost hope. Thirteen years old, mind you…and she had lost all hope. She was lonely…and desolate. She told of being at school on the playground…and of being alone. She walked round and round the playground equipment, speaking to no one.
Finally she entered the classroom, watched as the teacher checked the role, and then says:
Sometime during the lesson, I began looking up from my books at the faces around me, and as I did so memories kept flooding back to me. Suddenly I felt hot tears build behind my eyes, and soon felt them falling on my face. I quickly lifted my textbook to cover my face. By this time tears were flowing freely down my face and burning my cheeks silently. I thought to myself, “Look at them! Not one of them cares that I’m here, NOT ONE!”
A sob escaped my throat, “Oh well, today will be the last day I’ll have to put up with this because tonight, tonight I am finally gonna do it! Tonight I am finally going to die……”
Yes, it’s true! That night I was going to commit suicide yet again. That’s right, again. I had tried many times before but I always woke up, threw up or passed out before I died. It was as though something wouldn’t let me die, as though I was meant to live for something.
The class was dismissed for recess, most of the students left the room, but the 13 year-old stayed at her desk–drawing, sketching, deliberating.
I never heard him approach me until he was practically standing on top of me. “Nice drawing,” he said in his usual happy way. “Thanks…,” I mumbled while fumbling with my pencil sharpener.
Before I knew it he had launched into the “I’m there if you need to talk,” comforting pep talk they spoon feed you from first grade. I politely looked at him while he said the same speech that I had heard so many times before, while quietly thinking, “Oh, my good Lord. You can’t be serious. I can’t believe he’s actually saying this..,” but then he said something, I would never forget–I BELIEVE IN YOU.

Later that night, as I lay on my bed, rattling my mom’s prescription pill medicine and thumbing a knife, I reflected on my life. Nothing! I popped the lid to the pills and dumped them into my mouth. As I was preparing to swallow, I raised the knife to my wrist and looked in the mirror…There I saw my reflection. I saw my long blond hair, tangled and messy. I saw my young self, scared and alone.

The pills felt huge as I swallowed them. Then I looked into my eyes, a tear escaped them; the words, “I Believe in You,” echoed soundlessly in my head.

I dropped the knife and ran to the washroom and threw up the pills. Then I walked back to my bedroom and cried. It was my teacher’s words–Mr. Godecki’s words–that showed me I was not alone. It was those words that brought me love, even if they were only spoken by a grade school teacher.


By speaking positive words to those humans with whom through life we jostle, we may see the development of excellent grocery men or truck drivers or artists or writers or teachers. And then again, we may recognize the saving of one or two from absolute destruction.


My devotional blog is here.