Suicide and Spiritual Warfare
Suicide. The desire to kill oneself, to take one’s own life. It really doesn’t make any logical sense. The body is made to protect oneself, and then all of the sudden people want to attack, to maim, to cause pain? Why? It goes against instinct.
We’ve heard all the reasons. Unbalanced brain chemicals. Unresolved trauma. Feeling alone. Spiritual warfare.
What we do know, is our lives are all out of wack, and when the life is out of wack, we are vulnerable.
In the Christian tradition I grew up in, spiritual warfare was the answer to suicide’s cause. After all, Christian’s can’t get depression, they have the Holy Spirit, right? But that’s not true. Spiritual warfare can be a cause.
Or we go fully to brain chemicals, and deny that evil spirits could even attack. After all, that’s paranoid, right?
But there are countless stories of healing from those who pray against evil spirits. In our world of modern medicine, science and the things observed, instinct is to disregard the idea of spiritual warfare. But then we’d have to deny the entire Bible.
I disagree with both extremes. When it’s been suggested to me that the cause of my struggles were spiritual warfare, it hurt to my core that my pain was denied. However, when I was scared that I was being attacked and was told “the brain just does things” that terrified me, because I didn’t know where to find help!
Human beings are bodies and spirits connected, and when the chemicals are unbalanced, when trauma is placed and held in the body, the spirit is affected. And vice versa.
When the moon does not go around the earth properly, the oceans will collapse. When the earth doesn’t go around the sun right, the very essence of our days will be disappeared, nature would fall apart. Life is not so simple as one cause or another. Our universe is made up of the sun, moon, and the stars, and we are made up of our relationships to ourselves, to others, and to God. Part of that others includes things we cannot see. The thing is, when something is out of wack within ourselves, or our relationships with other people, or with God, we are vulnerable on all angles.
So is suicide the result of a spiritual attack? Maybe. Sometimes. Maybe it’s unbalanced chemicals. Maybe it’s both.
My suicidal desire was caused by extended, unhealed trauma. It goes on because of a chronic anxiety depression mix. But during my first long break from my own desire for death, words started rolling through my head. “Kill her” came almost any time I found quiet. But I didn’t want me dead any more. Sure, the brain does funny things, but why would I imagine a snake around my neck? Why would images of demons in a pit separating me from the cross come while I am experiencing God’s grace?
Our push back against spiritual warfare is damaging not only because of the danger that it really is spiritual, but also because of the limit it puts on our relationships with Christ and others. We don’t know much about what the spirits in this world can and cannot do. But we do know that they don’t have power without God’s permission. We do know that they exist and have been allowed to touch us for reasons unknown (see JOB 1). Other than that we don’t know much. But I do believe the unseen battle is real. Our souls matter. God wants our knees bowed and to embrace our hearts. Satan wants us tied in chains and raising our heads in rebellion. He wants to wall us off from what he once turned away from himself.
Even though the spiritual world seems as far from us as the moon, sun, and stars are from our Earth, it can have as much power over us as individuals.
The desire to die may come from inside a person’s mind. From an unregulated nervous system that turned on itself. It has from mine. It may be forced on us. But regardless of the cause, the healing as it grows slowly will lead to the same thing, life in more ordered wholeness.