If you follow ABIDE! Radio, you know that we were planning to have on, as a guest, Scott Bickel. Scott, a 21-year old competitive eater, was fast becoming a local celebrity in the Cleveland area. Several times, he had agreed to do a phone interview with us, but would back out at the last minute. He had heard the Gospel, but our plan was to talk to him about his competitive eating and to share the Gospel with him further.
Apparently, he posted the following to his Facebook page:
“By the time you read this letter, my suicide will be completed . . . My body is at the bottom of the Rt. 82 bridge in the Brecksville/Macedonia area. I MAXED out my energy, intelligence, and love EVERYDAY of my life till it eventually burned out my existence from the horrific pain of my life.”
Today, the Cleveland Plain Dealer has reported that he was found dead in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Our hearts deeply break for those closest to him and we pray for them.
If you are reading this, please take three lessons from this tragedy:
1) If someone hints at taking their life, do not take it lightly. It is not known if Scott did take his own life. But the lesson still stands. Perhaps people tried to intervene and it was too late. I don't know. All I know is that if you know of someone who is talking about or hinting at hurting themselves - get involved. Call the police. Do something.
2) Never assume that you have time to share the Gospel with someone. None of us are promised tomorrow. A popular 21-year old has now passed into eternity. If there were any Christians in his life taking a long-term friendship evangelism approach with Scott, that plan has come to a sudden stop. Go ahead and develop a friendship, but share the Gospel along the way. Don't wait.
3) If you are involved in evangelism and have spent much time preaching to big crowds and passing out hundreds of Gospel tracts at a time, please remember that the nameless faces that pass you by actually have names. They are people. Never let your heart become hardened or lose your compassion for them as individuals.