Saturday, January 16, 2016

Military Suicide Epidemic

I mentioned in my article, Reaching the Military for Christ, that there is a suicide epidemic in the US military with an average of at least one suicide happening per day. According to CNS News, "In 2013, the suicide rate among members of the U.S. armed services on active duty was 18.7 per 100,000, according to data from the Department of Defense (DOD). That was 48 percent higher than the suicide rate among the general population, which was 12.6 per 100,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)."

In fact, more US active-duty military are dying from suicide than in combat in the War in Afghanistan (2001–present), as was also the case with the Iraq War (2003-2011). Based on historical data from the DOD, VA (Veterans Administration), and other government sources, more than 114,000 veterans and active military have died from suicide since Sept. 11, 2001. However, apparently the DOD and VA leaders have recently ceased their regular, scheduled disclosures of suicide data to the public, which effectively eliminates transparency on the problem of high suicide rates among active military and veterans.

If you are in the military, feeling depressed or considering suicide, don't take your own life. There is hope for you today. You are precious in God's sight. He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to suffer and die on the cross for you, in order to pay the price for all your sins.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (Joh 3:16)

He did this for you, so that you could be forgiven and not have to suffer eternity in hell. But you need to repent of your sin and believe in Him to be saved. Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." (Act 2:38)

No matter what has happened to you, God still loves you and wants you to live. No matter what you have done, God still loves you and holds out the offer of eternal life in heaven to you. It's a gift, but you must receive it through repentance and faith in Christ.

If you end your life, it will not solve anything or end your troubles. If you kill yourself, you are committing murder, which is a sin, since God has commanded us saying, "You shall not murder" (Exo 20:13). Mercy is available only while you are on earth. You cannot repent or receive mercy after you die. So don't let this be the last thing you do, or else you will perish. Why should you perish? Repent and live!

The answer to this suicide epidemic in the military is not that there needs to be more focus on mental health. The answer is Jesus Christ. He is the Life. Jesus said, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me." (Joh 14:6). There is no other way to God the Father except through Him.

The emptiness you feel, the hurt, and the depression inside cannot be truly healed any other way. He also said, "I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." (Joh 10:9-10). The abundant life you long for is only found in Jesus Christ.

If you are a Christian serving in the military, I have not forgotten you. One way that I would like to offer to serve you is by pointing you to some resources that will encourage you in your walk with Christ. One of those is my collection of Christian articles at Writing for the Master. In particular, I recommend Eternal Destinations, Seeking the Lord, Working God's Way, and Be Fruitful and Multiply. If you are a Christian woman serving in the military, please read Women in the Military. Another way I can assist you is with our discipleship school, which is an online, three-year, distance education opportunity called Doulos Training School. Please have a look at it and prayerfully consider whether that is something the Lord would have you do.

And if you are serving in the military, but are not a follower of Christ, or you are gone astray from the Lord (backslidden), I want to tell you that He loves you and died for you. He shed his blood for you on the cross, and is calling you to follow Him. Repent and turn to Him now! I recommend reading my testimony of how I came to know Christ in the military, in my article, The Truth Set Me Free! There are also several other excellent testimonies at Testimonies from Budapest and Eternal Destinations. Below you will find an invitation to know Him personally as Lord and Savior.

Attribution notice: Scripture quotations taken from the NASB.  The "All in the Name of Love" painting © 2012 Danny Hahlbohm, all rights reserved by the artist. His artwork is available at inspired-art.

Author's Note: I also recommend reading The Lord Healed My Backsliding, The Truth Set Me Free!, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made, Sins That Will Keep You From Heaven, Onward Christian Soldier, Women in the Military, Bearing Arms, Demonology 201, New Age-New World Order, Keeping a Good Conscience, The Evil Spirit of Alcohol, Alcohol and Cigarettes -- Ten Divine Revelations, Tattoos and Body Piercing, Drifting AwayThe Cost of Discipleship, Costly Grace, The Origin of Sin, Satan, and Secular Music, The Kingdom of Darkness, Ask for the Ancient Paths, Is Obedience Optional?, Restored Truth, Aim for Perfection, The Straight and Narrow Path, and Rock, Rap, and Reggae Music -- Six Divine Revelations. Some poems by my daughter that may encourage you are Our Sympathizer, The Meaning of Life, Going Through the Valley, We Want to be Accepted, and Nothing Will Separate. You are invited to view my collection of blogs at Writing for the Master.

Do You Want to Know Him?
If you want to know Jesus personally, you can. It all begins when you repent and believe in Jesus.  Do you know what God's Word, the Bible says?

“Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’” (Mar 1:14b-15).  He preached that we must repent and believe.

Please see my explanation of this in my post called "Do You Want to Know Jesus?"

Len Lacroix is the founder of Doulos Missions International.  He was based in Eastern Europe for four years, making disciples, as well as helping leaders to be more effective at making disciples who multiply, developing leaders who multiply, with the ultimate goal of planting churches that multiply. His ministry is now based in the United States with the same goal of helping fulfill the Great Commission.

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