Suicide on the Installment Plan:

“Without realizing it, we often carry something around with us everywhere we go. We bring it out in our conversations and it shows up in our attitudes. It never really existed, yet it’s power lives among us and keeps us from moving forward.” Author unknown.

Many times, we overlook the distant look in a fellow firefighter’s eyes. Slowly, with the constant assault on our heart we begin to die on the inside. 

It begins with a look, an act of omission, choosing to remove oneself, and the very lines on our face can tell more than many of us would like to admit about the condition of our heart. 

We blindly and foolishly believe that we can move through our days and function without others realizing that we are silently suffering on the inside. 

Our behaviors give us away and cry out to others what our prideful selves refuse to do. We are showing signs of a tremendous fire inside our hearts, slowly burning, choked down but not out. 

In these moments, if not careful we can hurt others in so many ways. We push others away and build walls around our hearts. 

We seal off our emotions as if they were a hazardous material that no one should touch. 

Yet in reality, we have been hurt so deeply that we would rather suffer in solitude than allow anyone else into our world that may hurt us again.

But do we realize that our defensive efforts are actually destructive ones to others and ourselves?

Do we really want to spend our lives pushing others away? 

Do we realize what we are doing to others by ‘protecting’ ourselves?

If we are not careful, we are leading others down the same dark path as we assume our defensive posture. 

What can we do?

We cannot continue nor allow others to suffer alone. We must not let these brothers or sisters think that no one cares for them. They are carrying a sign around their neck that is printed in bold letters:

“HELP ME!”  

Those who suffer in this way is a slow and gradual death. It is suicide on the installment plan. Day by day a piece of them dies right in front of the world yet no one says or does anything about it.

Will we as leaders, friends, and believers take the time to speak words of comfort?

Will we take the time to listen to them?

Will we take the time to care?

Will we be so focused on saving lives that we fail to save the lives that are dying right in front of us?

Will we shine His light into their darkness?

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

For if we don’t take the time we may live the regret of the results of their collateral damage, their or our wasted life, or the memories of what we should have done to try to help. 

Let us ask ourselves:

Would we want to be treated as they are being treated? 

Don’t we realize that their behaviors are a cry for help? 

Who will help them? 

We save others but yet we are failing to save ourselves…

As leaders we cannot ignore their silent cries that says more than words can ever say. We cannot ignore them no more than a person hanging from a fiery window screaming for help. 

Those that we know who carry these burdens are trapped at a fiery window and only those in their fellowship, those closest to them, will be able to make the rescue if they act in time.

Take the time to share Jesus with them. Be the brother or sister that they need when the call comes in. Don’t wait, respond and make the greatest rescue: The rescue of a broken life. Give them the greatest gift that you can give: The gift or your compassionate presence. You will never regret it.

God Bless,

Andy J. Starnes

Bringing Back Brotherhood Ministries

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