New Year’s Eve and Suicides

New Year’s Eve and Suicides December 31, 2023


The clock strikes midnight. It’s always too soon. Another year older, maybe wiser, or so we think. We look back on all the people and things that came and went. Maybe the year was good. That’s an easy one. There’s nothing to forget but then maybe there was nothing to remember. Having a “nothing” year is not necessarily a bad thing.


But maybe the year or this and many years were bad. How many, oh so many, watch the time pass on New Year’s Eve and sadly, take a bottle of pills or maybe take a nosedive off a roof?


The New Year is a time for remembrances, a time for looking towards new sunsets, new dreams or, in some cases, it’s a time for tragedies.


Time is indeed a human construct. It’s how we measure ourselves and the world around us. It is how we measure our ebbs and flows and it is often part of our very identity. It is how we know what is and what is not. It is our cognitive “cage” where we must remain in our Earth-bound existence. 


Perhaps one of the most time-centric pieces within the Bible is the Book of Ecclesiastes. Its message is really that all paths that lead away from God are pointless and without value. 


Interestingly however, when taken out of context, Ecclesiastes 1:1 begins almost like a mantra for what may plague one’s thoughts when at the point committing suicide. Let’s take a look as the speaker (presumed to be Solomon in this case) describes what is meaningless in the world. 


Everything Is Meaningless

1 The words of the Teacher,[a] son of David, king in Jerusalem:

2 “Meaningless! Meaningless!”

    says the Teacher.

“Utterly meaningless!

    Everything is meaningless.”

3 What do people gain from all their labors

    at which they toil under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,

    but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,

    and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south

    and turns to the north;

round and round it goes,

    ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,

    yet the sea is never full.

To the place the streams come from,

    there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,

    more than one can say.

The eye never has enough of seeing,

    nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,

    what has been done will be done again;

    there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,

    “Look! This is something new”?

It was here already, long ago;

    it was here before our time.

11 No one remembers the former generations,

    and even those yet to come

will not be remembered

    by those who follow them.


A little later, in chapter 3: 1-8, He then goes into the famous verse on the purpose of time. 


A Time for Everything

1 There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

2     a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

3     a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

4     a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

5     a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

6     a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

7     a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

8     a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.


The clock ticks and marks the spot where we exist. Whether it’s birthdays, baptisms, or weddings, we pay so much attention to the milestones or time markers for such things.


Yet, we only really live in a second, don’t we? Maybe in a millisecond we don’t really matter to say nothing of the hour. 


But Is Time Really the Culprit?


Time is only a function of our existence. It marks the changes in states of existence. As such, it is a tool by which we often measure our very value on the Earth. And all too often, such means of measurement offer only an incomplete picture of our value. 


Regardless of the philosophy however, is time and its milestones really what drives people to take their own lives on New Year’s Eve?


Answer: It depends on one’s state of mind. 


The whole idea of self-destruction is a very extreme act of desperation. Whether done violently or subdued, the totality of lost hope, in the immediate time, in the present day, in the present hour is, in some way, usually the driver.


The other books of the Bible have a lot to say about the right to live and to die. The Book of Job 3:1-11 provides probably the most strongly worded context spoken to God by a man in great suffering, in his most desperate hour.


 Job Laments His Birth

3 After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth. 2 And Job said:

3 “Let the day perish on which I was born,

    and the night that said,

    ‘A man is conceived.’

4 Let that day be darkness!

    May God above not seek it,

    nor light shine upon it.

5 Let gloom and deep darkness claim it.

    Let clouds dwell upon it;

    let the blackness of the day terrify it.

6 That night—let thick darkness seize it!

    Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;

    let it not come into the number of the months.

7 Behold, let that night be barren;

    let no joyful cry enter it.

8 Let those curse it who curse the day,

    who are ready to rouse up Leviathan.

9 Let the stars of its dawn be dark;

    let it hope for light, but have none,

    nor see the eyelids of the morning,

10 because it did not shut the doors of my mother’s womb,

    nor hide trouble from my eyes.

11 “Why did I not die at birth,

    come out from the womb and expire?


Job was a man being tested and although he eventually received blessings for his steadfast faith, he had also nearly descended into the madness that is desperation when one suffers unbearable circumstances. Thus, the person about to commit suicide is actually not rational or at the very least, they act within that instant, while in an irrational state of mind. 


Suicide is thus, not a decision made where neither the person nor their choices are balanced. 


Is God really in Control?


Suicide becomes really a question of dominion. Are depressed or desperate people really in control of their thoughts? Can depressed people even have faith enough in their dark moments to relinquish or defer control to God?


And, once again, questions about why God allows people to even get into a state of desperation or depression come to the forefront. But this is only a subordinate question related to the question of evil. 


In a prior article, I postulated that the existence of evil as we know it, is really a function of freewill. Hence, if humans were granted the ability to choose between actions, the choices would be either right or wrong, good or bad and thus, sometimes evil.


However, getting back to whether people at the brink of suicide can even choose their actions rationally, the schools of thought and the legalities are divided on this, and it also depends on the individual state of each person. 


The confusion stems from whether one can act rationally while experiencing tremendous suffering. It really begs the question whether there is a suicidal threshold where a person’s emotional pain exceeds their rational thought. 


The idea of taking one’s life is too extreme for most of us to truly fathom. While it’s true that all of us have suffered great pain across our time on this Earth, if you’re reading this article on this day, at this hour, at this point in time, regardless of your past or present circumstances, you can consider yourself blessed that you still have life in you and perhaps you even have some God in your life. 


For any of you who might know anyone who might be teetering on the brink of suicide on this New Year’s Eve, remember that all we can do is try to turn them away from it, get them professional help (use this link) as needed and try to get God involved by asking. 


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