One way to look at hopelessness is to see it as helplessness. Hope and help seem to go together. Have you ever been in a hopeless or helpless situation? Most people have, at one time or another.
Here's the situation I am thinking of in particular; We hear the 10 Commandments, and we realize that we can't keep them. When we understand that we are in trouble before God, we can become hopeless. But that can be a good thing, if it is understood correctly.
God never intended us to be able to keep the 10 Commandments. It is not possible for us to obey them 100%. So, we either conclude that God will grade us on the curve, or, that there is some other way for us to be able to pass the test. Another option is for us to think that we actually can keep them perfectly.
Does God grade on the curve? No, He doesn't have to. Every sin will be accounted for. Every sin will be dealt with and punished.
Is it possible for us to keep the commandments perfectly? No, that is impossible as well. We would have to be more perfect than the Scribes and Pharisees of Jesus' day.
Is there another way then, for us to pass the test? Yes, there is, and it is the only way possible for us to not have to be charged with sin. It is the way of the Cross. Jesus lived a perfect life and died in our place to pay for our sins. We get in on His score, not on ours. But we have to turn to Him, trust in Him, and let go of sin in our lives. Then His righteousness will be credited to our account.
Why is this a problem for some people though? It is simply because they either don't understand about Jesus' death on the Cross to pay for our sins, or, and more probably, they want to get in on their own score. Many will fight to the end to defend their self righteousness. They don't want to trust in another. They want to stand before God and show God how good they have been. These are the people who are hopeless. They will rather do it their way or end their own lives.
We see people in other situations who are hopeless too. Whatever it is that they trusted in has let them down. Many of these people will also consider ending their lives. But they don't have to. They can put their hope in God. It is when we don't put our hope in God that we become totally hopeless and without hope.
Some would think that having a high standard would make people discouraged and ultimately hopeless because it would be too high for people to reach, but that is exactly the way it should be. The high standard is not to discourage us, but to help us see that we need God. We are to trust in Him, not in ourselves. To trust in ourselves instead of trusting in God is the fruit of arrogance. God will give grace only to the humble. The proud He will resist.
Hopeless people are all around us. That is why we need to share the Gospel with them God is their only Hope and Jesus is the only One who can save them. Many will turn from their sins, and trust in Him, and will receive the hope they need. The only alternative is for people to trust in something else, and at some point, their object of trust will fail them. Will they turn to the One who gives true hope, or will they remain eternally hopeless?