Why do modern children so readily play with death? Let’s reflect on why they are ready to risk their lives, almost without thinking. Why are they ready to die right after someone advises them to do so on social media or says something unpleasant or offensive; or after receiving a certain number of likes or dislikes? Why is it so easy to bring them to this fatal point of no return?
Perhaps the reasons lie not only and not so much in insidious manipulative techniques, internet addiction, gambling, a lack of parental attention, misunderstanding of others, teenage maximalism and the crisis of adolescence. These are just favorable conditions for suicidal thoughts and behavior.
The real reason lies in the fact that our children do not appreciate life, do not understand its infinite richness. They look at life as a hopeless vacuum, a gloomy void filled with stresses, scoldings, suffering, and misfortunes—as a burden, sometimes an unbearable one. They have just begun to live, but they are already terribly tired of living...
Life ceases to have value when a person focuses only on himself. Selfishness, self-love, and pride, on the one hand, place a person on a pedestal of absolute self-worth and self-sufficiency, and on the other hand, they turn other people’s natural remarks and demands—that is, their care and love—into offences and insults to “his own infinite dignity”. This is the fundamental contradiction of egotism: by declaring himself an absolute value, a person devalues his own life. After all, our life essentially comes down to our relationship with God, the world, and other people. An egotist is an individualist for whom everyone is an enemy—above all, those closest to him.
Hence the radical denial of the authority of parents, teachers, elders and anyone nearby, and the willingness to fully trust people you don’t know at all—all those virtual friends, with their likes and dislikes. In fact, they are also egotists who use you and assert themselves by telling you what you want to hear.
Pride plunges a person into the abyss of loneliness and enmity. For an egotist life is absurd, and other people are hell. In order to break out of this existential trap, you need to change your perspective, your starting point, putting yourself in a different position, seeing reality from the point of view of the others—God, your neighbor, and eternity.
A person himself becomes an egotist and thereby devalues his own life when he rejects God and refuses to believe in Him as the Creator, the Provider and the Savior; refusing to be with God, Who is Love. God is the most perfect Life and the Source of all life. If we don’t believe in Him, we don’t believe in life. By renouncing Him, we renounce life. It is lack of faith in God, atheism, that is the root cause of suicide.
Life is a precious treasure of infinite worth because it is a gift from God. However, this can be understood and accepted only when you believe in God. To believe is not simply to theoretically agree that God exists. This is not enough. This knowledge of God does not save in and of itself. To believe means to be in direct connection, in real communion with Him. To believe means to know the Living God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, manifested in our Lord Jesus Christ, to know Him personally and by experience. Such faith can be acquired, preserved and increased only in the Church.
Such living faith fills human life with meaning. It ceases to be a languid, drying stream, torturous both for the person himself and those around him. The faith of Christ makes our life a bottomless and endlessly flowing river—a river flowing into eternal life.
Any believer knows that death is not the end and not the deliverance from all problems. Death is only the separation of the soul from the body, a transition of the soul to the other, spiritual realm, to the judgment of God. The Lord said, “In whatsoever state I shall find you, so I will judge you.” We will take all our experiences, desires, aspirations, virtues, passions, and all our spiritual problems with us.
Suicide cannot free us from them. Don’t think that everything will end with it. Only earthly life can end with it, and with this burden a person will pass into eternity. Suicide only exacerbates the soul’s problems, “seals” and crystallizes them, making them insoluble; because after suicide it is no longer possible to repent. Only our sincere repentance and turning to Christ in His Church can save the soul from its oppressive problems.
So, the underlying cause of children’s (as well as adults’) suicides is the devaluation of life. This devaluation is rooted in pride, behind which is lack of faith in God.
The problem of suicide has an essentially spiritual nature. Therefore, it must be solved by spiritual means. If we want to fight the cause of the disease, and not just its symptoms, we need to bring children to the Church—to Christ—and to the spiritual hospital, to the Divine Physician of human souls and bodies. Only the grace-filled means that the Church possesses can keep a person from a fatal step into the abyss, heal his soul from unbelief, pride, loneliness, despondency, and anger. In order to do this, in order for children to hear us and follow us we must ourselves be in the Church—not nominally, but really.
The path of salvation in the Church for us and our children is thorny. No one says that it will be easy, that everything will be sorted out once you cross the threshold of the Church. But there is simply no way other than this narrow path leading to salvation and eternal blessed life.