On August 11, 2023. the Centers for Disease Control released data for 2022, showing 50,000 suicides, a 2.6% increase over 2021. The governmental response to the growing suicide problem has been chiefly hand-wringing, with no reasonable attempt to understand why it’s happening. Those of us who work with young people and talk with them regularly can see several causes.
Mental health issues begin at an early age. Children are born with no control over the actions of their parents or the condition of their home situation. The life plan Jesus gave, and which the Bible clearly teaches, is the nuclear family with a mother and father having clear-cut responsibilities in a loving, stable relationship. It is difficult to misunderstand passages like Ephesians 5:28-6:4. We hear “experts” and popular figures saying that marriage is an outdated tradition, but collateral damage from alternatives to the nuclear family includes badly disturbed children leading to the growing suicide problem.
Kids react to the instability in their homes in various ways. Some want to change their gender thinking that will improve their lives. Others rely on substances that affect their mental state. Whether marijuana, alcohol, or a hard drug, the effect is temporary, and the damage is long-lasting. Kids without a stable family at home look for a substitute at school or in a club or in a gang with peers who have the same problems. All of those choices are temporary and in most cases a dead end. For many, suicide is an easy option.
Instead of supporting the efforts of Christians to address these issues, the government is making it harder for churches to do what Jesus has called us to do. Even prison ministry, which we are heavily involved in, is being subjected to increasing rules and requirements. Governments are regulating Christian adoption and foster care programs out of existence by conditions that violate Christian principles.
Voters must start asking questions about the beliefs of political candidates and how they will address the needs of families and young adults. The alternative is a continually growing suicide problem and other social issues among our young people.
— John N. Clayton © 2023