Christians, leaders, we are needed to give hope. The high school hopelessness portrayed the show 13 Reasons Why and the many students finding some sort of consolation by watching it compels us to listen to their stories of pain and help them. It is not enough to just say, “that is a bad show so don’t watch it.” Real people have real hurts and need Christians to be real and enter into the hurt with them.
One thing is clear about the show. Hannah did not know that she could look to God and find His gracious love to sustain her through her problems so that she didn’t need to end her life. No doubt millions more teenagers (and adults for that matter) do not know this either. This is the very place where the beauty of God’s promises in the Bible shine and need to be seen by hurting people.
Just consider Psalm 25; full of a man’s all-consuming problems: “put to shame,” a “net” enemies have spread out to get him, “lonely and afflicted,” “troubles enlarged,” “distresses,” “affliction,” with “violent hatred they hate” him. He sounds a lot like Hannah Baker doesn’t he?
But one thing is different. He knows that he can look to God for grace that gets him through it all. If you underline and count them, he names 7-10 specific problems. But he also names a number of ways he looks to God and finds great help. If you underline and number them, guess how many there are… THIRTEEN! God had this written thousands of years before Hannah Baker’s 13 reasons for despair specifically because He knew there were going to be millions of Hannah Baker’s who would need it. Go read Psalm 25 and count them. And talk to the teens in your life and show it to them.
There are 13 reasons for hope! Here’s one of them. Verse 14 is about the “friendship of the Lord.” Just imagine if Hannah would have had just one good friend to stand by her and love her no matter what. She didn’t and so she ended her life. Imagine if she had known that the God of the universe wanted to be her friend who sticks even closer than that one, true friend. Had she known this, likely she would still be alive and her “13 reasons why” would sound radically different today.
Imagine if there had been someone in Hannah’s life who loved her enough to sit down and listen to her horror stories. Imagine if they would have taken the time to point out the 13 reasons in Psalm 25 and the many other things the Bible says about God’s love. I hope these thoughts will prompt you to enter into the pain in the lives of the teens (and others) in your live.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. 2 Corinthians 12:9