Last week’s blog was oriented toward non-Christians, and this week I address Christians who are thinking of suicide. I will mention points from last week for those who haven’t read it, but I do suggest that both blogs be read to get a better understanding.
First, nothing in last week’s blog or this one minimizes the pain someone feels who is contemplating suicide. That pain is horrific and it is real, real to the point that 3,000 people a week in the US destroy their bodies in an attempt to stop the suffering. The point I made last week primarily for non-Christians is that destroying the body doesn’t lead to oblivion: it makes it infinitely worse for eternity, and there is no escaping eternity. I think many Christians who contemplate suicide have overlooked the fact that God made people in His image. He is a spiritual being who had a physical body on this world for a short time. He made us spiritual beings who also have a body for a short time. The point here is that you are not your body, and destroying the body only moves you from this world to the spirit world. I wrote about this in some detail last week.
Christians are saved, is the argument here. Christians don’t go to hell, but to heaven, so why not hurry up and get there now instead of waiting, if you can end the pain? The Roman Catholic church, and some others, teach that suicide is an unpardonable sin, that committing suicide sends you to hell. No biblical warrant exists for this doctrine. Jesus taught that the only unpardonable sin is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Teaching that a loved one who was a Christian is now in hell because of a suicide does a grave injustice to those who loved the deceased. It’s simply not true. However, we are held accountable for our actions while here on earth and when we meet Jesus after death. And suicide stops the plans God has for you in this world. You can no longer function here because you no longer have the means to do so. You as a Christian have a responsibility not only to other people, but to God. Your responsibility to Him is to complete the work He has planned for you here. Committing suicide not only short changes yourself, it short changes your loved ones and people you never met but would have met-and helped-had you lived. You can get through whatever problems you have with God’s help. You have the Holy Spirit to help you and Guide you along your path. If you are suffering, you also have hope in the power of consolation through the Holy Spirt ( 2 Corinthians 1:7). You need to have patience in what you can’t see ( Romans 8:25 ).
God uses people with problems to demonstrate His glory and power to others. He will use you to help others through their problems. You need to stay here in this world until god’s plan for you is fulfilled. Job is an excellent example of this. God allowed Satan to torture Job to just short of the point of death for a long time. Job lost everything, including his health. But he never lost his faith-and hope-in God to bring him through his problems, not to remove the hardships, and ultimately Job’s health was restored and he had more wealth than he ever had before his trial.
This brings us to the main point this week. A person’s pain-or your pain-that brings you to the point of considering suicide is most often caused by a misplaced search for significance and value in this life. People tend to mistake physical things or biological drives as the source of significance and value, and hence personal worth. Perhaps you are placing too much weight on what another or others say about you or how they treat you. Whatever others say or think doesn’t define who you are as a person. Only one Person’s opinion of you matters, and that Person is God. And God so loves you so much that He sent the second part of Himself to earth as Jesus specifically to die in your place on the cross, so that you can be with Him forever. He suffered the pain and humiliation of the cross for your sake. And it was also for His sake, too, because He wants you with Him.
More importantly, the physical things, biological drives and other human inclinations are not the source of our happiness here on earth. The drive to acquire these things is really an attempt to acquire the source of these things. God is the source of everything ( John 1:3), and He maintains everything, including what you mistakenly think will be the end of your troubles. But to as many as believe in Christ, He gives the power to become the sons and daughters of God, which are reborn not of the will of the flesh, but of God ( John 1:13). So, the source of happiness and joy, and the end of your troubles lies not in fulfilling biological drives or obtaining material wealth, but in trusting in and having hope in God. All else is vanity ( Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 ). The underlying source of your pain, then, is not having hope in Christ to bring you through your suffering to a much better life in this world and in the next. In this world we all have tribulations and trials, but be of good cheer. Christ has overcome the world in your behalf (John 16:33 ).
This is all well and good. But more likely than not you need help in overcoming your pain. I am not trained in this field, nor do I have much experience helping people thinking of committing suicide. For this reason I have compiled a resource list for you to get guidance and help with your pain, or to help you learn how to help others. Here it is.
- Billy Graham: www.billygraham.org/godly-wisdon-for-suicide-prevention
- The National Crisis and Veteran’s Crisis Line: 1 (800) 273-8255
- www.christiansuicideprevention.com for people 18 years of age or older
- Love Lines Crisis Ministry: (612) 379-1199
I recommend starting with Billy Graham. The website has a list of questions that have solid answers. The biblical teaching of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is sound. It is a good place to start. If there is an immediate danger of suicide, yours or someone else’s, call the national crisis line above or 911. I am praying that you have a long purposeful life in Christ.