First of all, I recognize this is a deeply complex issue. It isn’t one that a couple bible verses slapped on like a band-aid will fix.
I also admittedly have never been truly suicidal. I have had bouts of depression. I still suffer from the effects of PTSD. I have moments of anxiety that make me want silence the world around me, but I have never been in the grips of suicide.
But here’s the thing I can’t shake, are Christians contributing to suicide with a permissive spirit? Are we speaking and teaching in terms that allows those who are in the grips to execute themselves with a clean conscience?
When I first became a Christian back in the 90’s, the faith community, by and large, taught suicide was murder and one’s final deed of death would condemn a person to hell.
We now have communities in Christ who are teaching more compassion for the mentally ill. (Good!) We seem to be much more understanding and educated on the difference between the balance of mind, body and spirit. (Great!) But in a world where we have suicide tattoos, TV shows and high-profile celebrities and pastors taking their own lives I am going to make a claim that may not be popular. We must speak life to the culture of death.
I am also going to make another statement that terrifies me, I don’t see where the bible teaches suicide is automatically covered by grace.
Paul Middleton in https://www.bibleodyssey.org/en/people/related-articles/suicide-in-the-bible covers all the biblical examples of suicide in a much better format than I could. He also concludes that we can’t make a case for suicide to be directly prohibited in the scriptures.
Here’s why I wrestle with that:
The Spirit gives life.
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. Rom. 8:11
Jesus destroyed death.
But now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. 2 Tim. 1:10
God must be given control of our days.
A person’s days are determined; you have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed. Job 14:5
My times are in your hands. Psalm 31:15
Life is worship.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Rom. 12:1
God is able.
When I buried my son and wished I could crawl into the grave with him. I had visions of clawing the dirt until I was buried in the same earth that covered his body.
In the days that followed I begged for mercy. I begged God to take me. I felt suspended between heaven and earth. I didn’t want to be trapped in mortality because it hurt too much.
One day I stood in the shower, pleading to go. The water fell on my bound breast which were constrained to dry the milk that God gave me to feed my son. He was gone. I wanted desperately to go. Then I heard a clear message to my soul. I heard the answer. “No.” I was clearly not invited on this trip.
I had to live. I had to live to raise my children. I had to live to be a wife. I had to live to glorify the God who asked me to live.
If God is asking you to live and you feel called to the grave, tell someone. Tell your spouse. Tell a teacher. Tell a counselor. Tell a doctor. Tell anyone who can stand in the gap for you.
There is help. There is hope.
There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off. Proverbs 23:18