There are many “taboo” subjects that don’t get talked about in Christian circles. A few of them include mental health, eating disorders, self-injury, or suicide. I think these topics need to be brought out into the open, because I feel they take place within the Christian world, but everyone has decided to hide them and pretend that those things always happen to “other people”. We often have the mentality of “if we don’t talk about it, then it doesn’t exist”. In the meantime, many suffer in silence and alone. I would like to bring up the issue of suicide.
Is suicide wrong? There are 6-7 incidents of it in the Bible (see here)and many thoughts about what happens to someone if they do kill themselves. Christians opinions are often very strong about suicide and whether someone who commits suicide will go to heaven or hell. I’m not qualified to answer that but here is an article that addresses these issues.
Do Christians think about suicide? I would have to give that answer as a definite “YES”, because I know some who do. Does thinking about it make it a sin? Does thinking about it question your belief in Jesus?
Do Christians commit suicide? If you lean into Jesus, does He always save you from yourself? Can life become so overwhelming that no matter how much you believe, you just can’t make it another day? Can you love Jesus, yet take your life? Is committing suicide weakness or sin? What if we just think it? Is that wrong? Can we really control our thoughts and should we be judged if we think about it. Is something wrong with me if I do?
If I told you I was suffering from a life threatening disease where I was in pain every day, struggling to even get out of bed in the morning, what would you do? If I couldn’t clean my house, pay the bills, or deal with my boss or co-workers just one more day, what are my options? What if I just wanted to crawl under my covers and shut out the world because it hurt too much to get up and get moving and just breathing took too much out of me. What would you do? Would you blame me if I said I simply couldn’t fight it another day? Would you be able to accept it, offer help, talk about it to others and accept me, even though I was struggling with illness? Would you still care for me or love me? Would you condemn me or look down on me?
What if I told you I was thinking of suicide?What would you say or do? What if I was in pain every day, struggling to get out of bed, overwhelmed by the world, what would you do? If I couldn’t get my groceries, cook my meals, pay my bills, and I struggled every day just to make it through, what would you do? Would you blame me if I said I simply couldn’t fight it another day? Would you be able to accept me, talk to me, help me, and understand me, even though you may not agree but see that I am struggling? Would you condemn me, telling me I need to believe more. Would you tell me I just needed to pray more because God answers prayers? Would you still care for me or love me? Would you look down on me, call me weak, and possibly take the easy way out and just ignore me and not get involved?
Too many times we judge why someone has suicidal thoughts or follows through with their plans. Suicide may not mean that someone wants to die, it may mean they no longer have the strength or endurance to live.They pray, they seek help, they talk to others, they do all “the right things”, but the thoughts remain. Fortunately, most don’t act on their thoughts. However, too many are struggling and suffering because we’re too embarrassed to tell, but also too embarrassed to even talk about it. Things are not going to change by ignoring them. One friend, one comment, one person who cares may keep those thoughts just that…thoughts. That one time may save a life. Are we going to take a chance, because we are too embarrassed or maybe too ashamed that we also have those thoughts? It’s time to take a chance. Suicide happens and if you look around in a church service, I can guarantee that there is someone there who may be thinking that suicide is the only option.
A friend of mine committed suicide years ago. (read here) I know that he didn’t really want to die. He just couldn’t go on and live. I wish I could have done more but I was not in the place to tell him otherwise. We need to step up, put our own reservations and thoughts aside and reach out. You may be the one to change and save a life.