If the rate of suicide in any nation is used as a measuring stick on the state of hope among its populace, our society is in a sad state. Canada is one of those countries that garners envy by many countries when it comes to standard of living, especially in areas such as health care, crime, and the economy. For many years, Canada earned the coveted position of “the best country to live in,” by the United Nations Human Development Index. Much attention is paid to our low crime rate, which averages less than 2 per 100, 000 of the population. However, one area of concern that doesn’t seem to catch anyone’s eyes is the horror of suicide, an occurrence that is much higher than the murder rate.
The overall rate for suicide in Canada is 11.3 per 100,000 based on the 2012 Statistics Canada data for both genders, almost five times higher than the murder rate. More people are taking their own lives than those being killed by another; not that there is any merit in either condition. Both are horrible ways to die, yet we seem to ignore the more haunting one.
The pain of suicide is unbearable. Like murder, it changes people’s lives. One cannot imagine the legacy of pain that suicide, like murder, has left on parents and family members when one of their own choose to take their own lives. Yet one wonders why our society seems so helpless in dealing with the problem of suicides. As much as Canadian life is a sought after ideal for millions of people, the country has one of the highest suicide rates in the world.
Why do people take their own lives? Why would people want to end their own life in a society that offers much in terms of a better way to live compared to many countries in the developing and developed world? Many answers have been given for these questions, but many fail to address the real reason behind suicides. Whether depression, other mental conditions, and some social issues play a role, the bottom line is many people today see no hope out of their current predicament, so the only alternative for them is to take their own lives. In other words, the world and what it stands for; the world and the direction in which it has been drifting; the world and what it has to offer to appease, or satisfy those individuals, has shortcomings; our world, despite affluence or poverty, does not offer much hope.
While there are some people who will tell you they have great hope for the future, if that hope does not involve God, it is no hope at all. Hope that is temporary is no hope. Hope in this life only is the real cause of the problem and the root of the problem. Even if one attempts and believe they have achieved hope in this life, there will always be a void–an emptiness, an unexplained emptiness unless you have a relationship with the Almighty, and realize He is our true hope. What He promises is beyond this life and that is the true hope every human being should aspire to and it’s only then we will realize how hopeless our world has become. That we have been caught in a vicious cycle that will only result in despair, which ultimately will lead to the conditions that make it ripe for one to commit suicide.
The 2017 World Happiness Report says people in China are no happier than they were 25 years ago; much of Africa is struggling to be happy and happiness is falling steadily in America. In 2007 the USA ranked 3rd among the OECD countries; in 2016 it came 19th. The reasons are declining social support and increased corruption.
Listen to what the Word of God says regarding hope: 1 Corinthians 15:19 “ If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.”
The truth is Jesus Christ is the only hope for humanity. The Eternal sent Him in this world to die for our shortcomings or our sins, so we can have real hope. Titus 3:7 “… so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” What this hope offers us is beyond our imagination. Whatever our challenges are in this life, they are nothing compared to the glory that shall be revealed in us because of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for our sins and the hopelessness that they cause.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18 “So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.”