Chances are you have heard the buzz by now. “13 Reasons Why” is a Netflix series documenting the 13 reasons why high school student Hannah Baker commits suicide. The series is popular among pre-teens and teenagers alike and it makes sense—the show illustrates elements of high school better left unspoken but difficult to forget—cliques, gossip, rumors, assault, bullying, betrayal—it’s all there. And now, 13 Reasons Why has been renewed for a second season.
Watching it I felt transported to all the worst parts of my own teenage experience…and at the end of each episode, as any good Netflix binge will do, I was blatantly goaded into watching the next…and next.
At the end I found myself very grateful for the people in my life who brought real light to my teenage years. Grateful for my parents who noticed and asked about my changes in mood or interests. I was grateful for teachers, mentors, and friends who reached out and helped me overcome real adversity. And grateful most of all for the introduction to personal prayer, to journaling with scripture at the end of each day, grateful for the invitation I received to leave my difficulties, the betrayals, hurts, and wounds at the foot of the cross and to beg God to forgive me for the people I had hurt and for the ability to forgive those who had hurt me.
Scripture has helped me…it has brought healing. I suspect it could have brought life and light even to others who face difficulties like Hannah Baker. Here are 13 Scripture passages to remember during “13 Reasons Why”:
- When feeling as though no one understands you: Psalm 139:1-2 “Lord you have probed me, you know me: you know when I sit and stand; you understand my thoughts from afar.”
- When it seems your plans for your life are unraveling: Isaiah 55:8-9 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways—says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, my thoughts higher than your thoughts.”
- When you need to hear that everything will be okay: Romans 8:28 “We know that all things work for the good for those who love God.”
- When dark thoughts intrude: Colossians 2:8 “See to it that no one captivate you with an empty, seductive philosophy according to human tradition, according to the elemental powers of the world and not according to Christ.”
- When you are tired: Matthew 11:28 “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest.”
- When you feel out of your element remember the call to Esther 4:14 “Who knows—perhaps it was for a time like this that you became queen.”
- When it seems that no one is listening: Psalm 43:5 “Why are you downcast, my soul? Why do you groan within me? Wait for God, for I shall again praise him, my savior and my God.”
- When you lose something or someone, grieve with Job 1:21 “Naked I came forth from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I go back there. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD!”
- When it seems as though everything has gone wrong and God has done nothing for you: Psalms 77:12 “I will recall the deeds of the LORD; yes, recall your wonders of old.”
- When the road seems easy for those who torment you: Luke 1:51-53 “He has shown might with his arm, dispersed the arrogant of mind and heart. He has thrown down the rulers from their thrones but lifted up the lowly. The hungry he has filled with good things; the rich he has sent away empty.”
- When you are wronged remember Jesus’s answer to Peter about forgiveness: Matthew 18:21-22 “‘Lord, if my brother sins against me, how often must I forgive him? As many as seven times?’ Jesus answered, ‘I say to you, not seven times but seventy-seven times.’”
- When your sadness is clearly temporary, reminding yourself of the wisdom in Ecclesiastes 3:4 “A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance.”
- And, when you have forgotten how much God loves you, and how important it is to love all around us: 1 John 4:7-12 “Beloved, let us love one another, because love is of God; everyone who loves is begotten by God and knows God. Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love. In this way the love of God was revealed to us: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might have life through him. In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also must love one another. No one has ever seen God. Yet, if we love one another, God remains in us, and his love is brought to perfection in us.”
Known to her neighbors as “the Church lady”, Joan Spring is a woman searching for God’s voice and beauty in the example’s of Divine Grace she meets in her day to day life. She is particularly grateful God has blessed her with work at the Newman Center which focuses on bringing the energy of college students into contact with the dedicated pillars of the community.