Recently, I attended a funeral involving a victim of suicide. On listening to the grieving relatives, I picked up some peculiar opportunity to understand causes of scourges, such as this one. I suppose the suicidal phenomenon is beyond the scope of psychologists and intellectuals.
Here is a narration that could provide free counselling to most of our young people—in appreciating the behaviour of humanity in light of Jesus’ teachings. This is a true story, whose narration seeks to help as many people as possible—although, specific dates, identities and locations have been concealed.
While still at school, Jabu (Not his real name), had been above average, as he managed to pass all the subjects required for his secondary education. He could not go beyond secondary education, due to economic hardships in Zimbabwe.
Jabu became one of those assuming that the solution to well-being lay in looking for employment in South Africa. Unfortunately, for Jabu, after engaging in various odd jobs, things didn’t conform to his satisfaction.
About three years ago, Jabu woke up one morning, describing his suicidal tendency to his brothers and some of his friends in South Africa. Many young people may be unwilling to share such feelings with anybody. But there may be many who, actually, identify with Jabu’s predicament.
As long as Jabu could not quantify the tangible value for his purpose of survival, nothing convinced him that his continued existence was justifiable. Unlike many victims of suicide, Jabu clearly articulated his predicament with his brothers and friends.
At least Jabu’s friends managed to convince him, then, that his parents could have some workable solution to his problem. Jabu took the advice, as he travelled all the way to meet his parents in one of Zimbabwe’s rural areas.
While, Jabu had revealed his suicidal feelings to his parents, some three years back, the rest of the relatives only got this information at Jabu’s funeral. To his parents, Jabu had expressed his feelings as intelligently as possible. He had told his parents that he had always desired to be productive.
Rewarding his parents for having accorded him with life on earth, had been on his priority list. He apologised for having been a disappointment to them, as he regarded himself as a let-down, having failed to achieve his dreams.
Any parent would obviously appreciate how difficult it would be—trying to handle such communication? However, Jabu’s father eventually managed to persuade Jabu to consider doing some course of training—promising to sell one of his cattle to raise the required funding.
This was followed through, and with the money realised in the sale of his father’s bullock, Jabu took a course in driving. As intelligent as Jabu had been, he managed to obtain a driver’s licence on the first attempt.
Jabu also swiftly got some employment as a taxi driver, in Zimbabwe. However, his condition of employment required Jabu to also take responsibility, on issues to do with the Zimbabwean traffic police. This, may have also exacerbated his already complicated condition.
His inability to sustain good savings out of that kind of employment, in those three years, resuscitated his previous suicidal propensity. It became only recently that Jabu, once again, perceived value in taking away his own life, than continuing to live a stressful life.
He had not made any tangible savings, since securing employment, as a taxi driver. One evening, Jabu surrendered the vehicle and car keys to his employer, telling him that he was no longer interested in employment any more.
He repeated his assertion of some three years back—insisting that nothing could convince him that there was purpose for his continued survival. The employer vehemently tried, without success, to convince Jabu against such thinking. Jabu had already resolved that nothing else could persuade him against suicide.
Jabu requested his employer to pay him his terminal benefits—so that he could visit his parents in their rural home. He then summoned all his friends in his surroundings—telling them that they were seeing him for the last time.
He further advised his brothers and sisters of his updated resolve. Any counselling could no longer persuade Jabu to abandon his decision to commit suicide. However, Jabu assured his siblings that he would carry out his suicidal intention—only after bidding farewell to his parents.
Before arriving at his parents’ homestead, Jabu met more friends in that rural environment—bidding them farewell—advising them that they were, actually seeing him for the last time. Meanwhile, the other siblings had notified the parents of what had been transpiring in Jabu’s behaviour.
Eventually, Jabu arrived at his parents’ homestead—only to find his mother—having invited her church members—singing hymns and praying. Jabu did not waste time prevaricating. He went straight to the point—telling those present—that his intention to take away his life had become irreversible.
He advised them that they were free to ask questions—as they were seeing him for the last time. This was after he had articulated his own reasons, leading to his resolution to take away his own life. He also passionately told his parents that he loved them and wished them well in their endeavours.
But, at the same time, declaring that nothing could change his mind, this time around. Later, Jabu’s mother excruciatingly explained how Jabu had gaily told her to appreciate that, at least, she had not lost any child when all were still young.
Before the fateful day, the entire village had committed themselves to a night of vigil—hymn singing, praying and fasting for Jabu. While, throughout the night, Jabu cooperated in Bible studies and prayer, nothing could reverse his decision.
After sunrise, his father—feeling tired—retired in bed. The rest of the Church people also departed to their homes, but promising to come back later. Jabu’s mother continued to converse with Jabu—both expressing affection to each other. Meanwhile, the mother had sent two grandchildren to fetch water from a nearby dam. But those children had, somehow, delayed coming back.
On observing that the mother appeared concerned about the youngsters’ delay, Jabu ceased an opportunity—soothingly declaring: “Do not worry mum, let me just follow them, and see what is happening, as you are busy with other tasks.”
At that point, the mother had become hopeful that Jabu—who had expressed deep affection to her—would eventually change his mind. However, a few minutes later, she decided to trail Jabu’s footpaths towards the dam—to be certain that her son had followed through the promised intention.
To her horror, she saw the two grandchildren on their way back, without their uncle in sight. One of the two grandchildren had not seen their uncle. But the other actually saw him running fast towards the northern direction.
The mother rushed to awaken her husband, at the same time raising alarm with neighbours. They followed in the direction, as indicated by one of the youngsters. Eventually the pursuers saw Jabu hanging on one of the bushes, about a kilometer away from his parent’s homestead.
Unfortunately, the timing had not been appropriate, to save Jabu’s life. The whole village was immediately stricken with shock. The rest is history. The young man had died of suicide, after having clearly communicated his intention.
The lesson derived, is in that, at least Jabu clearly communicated his intentions. His frank communication is exceptional, in a world consumed in falsehood, in order to impress other people. However, his sincerity is grooved in resonating with the self-centred people—preoccupied with the question: “In all my toiling on this planet, have I been happy?”
The sincerity displayed by Jabu, in determining to take his own life, resonates well with those preoccupied with satisfying the self. Surprisingly, such people live with the disappointment of failing to ever achieve happiness, in their lives. As far as they are concerned, it is their own satisfaction that matters most and not, necessarily, the satisfaction of others.
What occupies their minds, is the desire to achieve satisfaction—supposing that happiness comes from fulfilling their own aspirations. Ironically, these are the people who, naturally, find happiness unachievable, all the days of their lives.
While taking away one’s own life is, obviously, repulsive—I find this behaviour, not as disgusting as of those taking away other people’s lives. But, both those who commit suicide and murderers belong in the same category.
They all display self-centredness, which is the only path towards self-destruction, whichever way one looks at it. As anti-survival as self-centredness is—all problems of the world can be traced as emanating from people such as these.
Heroism to these people, implies getting what one passionately desires, even without consideration of other people’s welfare. There is no-one who could ever commit suicide or any other crime-related behaviour without the mind-set that is focussed on the question: “In all my toiling on this planet, have I been happy that I live?”
This is opposite to the question: In all my toiling on this planet, have most people been glad that I live? It is not possible for those who focus more on solving other people’s problems to ever be distressed as to commit suicide.
Unlike those with suicidal tendencies, the satisfaction of the altruistic people is measured by how satisfied other people are. In short, these people are the problem-solvers, in whom, true Christianity dwells. See [Christianity can only be defined in one word: Altruism].
Jabu’s death is an effect of what generally prevails in society. Non-achievers are negatively judged, instead of being loved and helped to also achieve their potential. What most people fail to appreciate is the infallible truth in that there is nothing like a substandard human being. Everyone was created in God’s image.
What is most disappointing is that self-centredness is casually practiced even in Christianity. Yet Christians are the ones expected to carry the only hope of human survival? Humanity has got no hope, except in Jesus.
“Whoever mocks the poor insults his Maker…” (Proverbs 17:5). Jesus himself, revealed folly in failure to understand wrongness in invalidating fellow humans—when giving the parable of Lazarus and Richman (Luke 16:19-31).
The misunderstanding of such Scriptures begins with inability to appreciate that salvation is a gift, which cannot be earned: “Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness,” (Romans 4:4-5) (ESV).
Christians are, mostly, the ones causing obsession with self-centredness. They categorise people according to achievements and loyalty—thereby invalidating those considered as non-achievers. It is a mystery how Christian ministers interpret Scriptures like the parable of Lazarus and Rich man? Also, kindly refer to: [Works bring the opposite of what is intended].
Christianity is obsessed in seeking to impress, instead of expressing what the person was actually created to be. It seems Christianity advances the culture of desiring to project oneself as a good performer, instead of projecting God as a good performer. Christian practitioners portray what was clearly derided by Jesus:
“But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves” (Matthew 23:13-15) (ESV).
It would surprise many, that most of what is practiced in Christianity is the opposite of what Jesus taught. Yet ordinary people resonate well with such lies. The incident involving Jabu, is not isolated. And can never be adequately addressed, as long as the route cause, as being enunciated hear remains undetected. See [Christianity serves to invalidate God’s Kingdom].
At least Jabu can be commended for having been honest in doing what he did. He never sought to pretend to be what he was not. He only lacked the equally honest people who could have helped him to understand the true purpose of life.
Nevertheless, I pray that Jabu’s story, as narrated here, helps many to take advantage and be counselled. This is when they realise that happiness is only possible when obsessed in addressing other people’s problems—rather than obsession with addressing personal problems.
Under normal circumstances, it would have been very easy to obtain good counselling to help Jabu, through the teachings of Jesus. But, as indicated, Christianity is replete with impostors—having taken over—serving to block the way against accessing such facilities.
More than two years, down the line, Jabu was laden with what eventually facilitated the demise of his own life, unnecessarily. The parents assumed that keeping Jabu’s predicament secretively—was another way of maintaining the dignity of the family. After all, everyone wants to be seen to be good.
Jabu’s case portrays an effect of a society that seeks to impress, rather than express. People like Jabu are viewed as abnormal. Yet such people are only portraying an effect of an abnormal society.
As I write, I do not know how many more people continue to commit, or are yet to commit suicide? But, unless causes are addressed, effects will continue to manifest, making this world real purgatory. Yet all answers are found in Jesus, whose teachings are generally the opposite of what is projected by the ravenous lions in sheep’s clothing (2 Corinthians 11:14-15).
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing reliefs to those having witnessed strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99
Also available as an e-copy at Lulu.com for $6.99