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Understanding and Dealing with Suicide

Notes

David Hume, the Scottish agnostic, defending suicide once said this, “If we do not hesitate to divert the waters of a great river like the Nile from its course, why would we hesitate to divert from the body a few streams of blood? But men are held to life not by argument, but by conscience and by faith. There is on the one side the mysterious, also undefinable sense, of sacredness of life, but on the other hand, there is this dread of fleeing from the ills of life to others we know not of.”

What I find fascinating about this particular introduction from this man is that he understands that there’s a sacredness of life and the only thing that really keeps man from taking his life is the understanding of sacredness, of conscience, and the fact that life is bigger than the life itself. Too often those who are moving into the realm of suicide have not come to understand that there’s something valuable about their life. There’s something more important to life. But yet, they’ve been consumed with things that are sometimes beyond their control. I want to propose to you today that God has the answer to suicide, and He’s always had the answer to suicide. I want us to walk through some very practical realities about it.

Before we can look at the realities, we need to look at God’s Word. I want us to begin to look at five different places where the Bible exposes suicide to us. God has given us the Word to talk about suicide, and then He’s given us a way to look at it. Remember this: People suffer because they have a human observation without a biblical interpretation. They see the world and then they are consumed with what they see. They come up with their own rationales, and then they come up with their own conclusions, and then they can’t figure out why life is so miserable.

As I tell people all the time, there are these P’s of life. As you talk to anybody you’re going to discover that when someone comes to you, they’re going to talk about one of these P’s. One is, they’re going to talk about people. They’re going to talk about the past. They’re going to talk about their parents. They’re going to talk about the pressures of life around them. They’re going to begin to talk about the pains that they feel on the outside. And then they’re going to talk about all the different pains they feel on the inside.

I’ve yet to come into a conversation where someone is not telling me about some person, some past, some predicament, some pain, some parent, and they believe that life is difficult and cannot change because of these issues.

As we’ll begin to see as we think through the matter of suicide together, God has given us the answer for these things. Let’s take a moment and look at the circumstances mentioned in the Bible as it relates to suicide.

Let’s look together at 1 Samuel 31:3-5. It says, “The battle pressed hard against Saul, and the archers found him, and he was badly wounded by the archers. Then Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and mistreat me.’ But his armor-bearer would not, for he feared greatly. Therefore Saul took his own sword and fell upon it. And when his armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he also fell upon his sword and died with him.”

Notice 2 Samuel 17:23, “When Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and went off home to his own city. He set his house in order and hanged himself, and he died and was buried in the tomb of his father.”

Notice 1 Kings 16:18, “And when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the king’s house and burned the king’s house over him with fire and died.”

Notice Matthew 27:3-5, “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ They said, ‘What is that to us? See to it yourself.’ And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.”

Lastly, we see Abimelech in Judges 9:53-54. It says, “And a certain woman threw an upper millstone on Abimelech’s head and crushed his skull. Then he called quickly to the young man his armor-bearer and said to him, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, lest they say of me, ‘A woman killed him.’’ And his young man thrust him through, and he died.”

I wanted to present these particular passages that unfold suicide, because I want you to think about how the Scriptures have not only given us a detailed analysis of various kinds of suicide, but from here we can draw two conclusions about suicide. These two conclusions are important because if we’re going to help people deal with suicide, we need to be able to categorize the reasons why—the core issues of their suicide—so that we can attack it from a compassionate, loving, careful, and consistent manner.

We never want to fumble and bumble into suicide. Let’s not be like Job’s friends when they started talking. We want to be like Job’s friends before they opened their mouths. They were the best counselors in the world and then they messed up and got a thought and begin to say things that they really should have kept quiet about.

For you and I when it comes to suicide, I want us to think about it in two basic categories.

Category #1: The External Pressures of Life

Sometimes when people want to commit suicide, the things on the external are so great, the things on the outside of them are so difficult, there’s so much pressure and because they have not seen the sufficiency of God, they haven’t seen the sovereignty of God, they don’t understand the supremacy of God, and they have not submitted themselves to the reality of God. They have this big picture and the world is big and God is small.

When that happens, everything seems to be so major because God has become so minor. I want us to look at this together, with this particular category of the external pressures of life.

One is seeking to escape the difficulties of life resulting in pursuing suicide. Suicide in which one flees of the present or inevitable sorrows of life for which one has no control. One chooses to respond in a sinful manner to the present or inevitable sorrows in the form of suicide.

This act of suicide displays ingratitude. It displays contempt of the Lord’s gift of life. It displays defiance, impatience, pride, rebellion against God’s design, and a lack of genuine hope. I want to present to you that when some people are seeking to commit suicide they have a human observation without a biblical interpretation and they see life as this never-ending problem that they can’t handle, and don’t want to deal with. Can I put it in these two categories? There are things that they can’t cause the happen, and they can’t keep from happening, and they’re consumed with life being controlled by themselves.

People in Category 1 don’t recognize that the Bible says that you shall have tribulation. When people are dealing with Category 1 of suicide, they haven’t come to understand that there is an evil that exists in this world and this evil will be here for a while. But yet, there’s a good God who is greater than the evil that is in this world. What these people have not come to understand is yes, people will turn on you. Yes, there will be downcast times. Yes, there will be disappointments. There will be difficulties. Yes, the world can be troublesome.

But there is a God who controls everything. There’s a God who has their past, their present, their future in His hands. If they’re willing to submit to this God who will deliver them from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and one day the presence of sin to a new and right relationship with Him, that they may know Him become like Him, and be useful to Him, they will find that life is way different. Not that the pressures change, but God gives them the power to handle the pressures on the outside.

But too often when you see Category 1, people have made decisions about life apart from interpreting it through the eyes of God. Let me give you some examples of what this looks like when we see Category 1-type suicides. Sometimes people are facing mental or physical pain, or disability, terminal diseases, lifelong crippling injuries resulting in choosing to take one’s life. Sometimes people are refusing to continue to live in a society where it will not change to suit their political agenda. Sometimes people are refusing to live with dishonor, resulting in choosing to take their own lives. Sometimes people are refusing to be without the company of another. Other times, they’re refusing to live in a less-than-ideal world that brings disappointment, denials, and devastations.

We understand that these things are realities for people in Category 1 suicide, their minds are caught up in how this world is not what they thought it would be. Their disappointments have led them to be downcasted and their downcastedness has led them to despair because there is no hope. You find that for them the ultimate solution is to take their lives.

But I want to suggest to you that as we see these categories, this is where we see Saul, this is where we see Zimri, and this is where we see Abimelech. We see these particular people who, at this moment, the pressures of the external world overrode their understanding of the God they said they believed in or belonged to.

If you and I are going to understand how to deal with suicide, we must first come to terms with the reality that life is hard. We must come to understand that the conditions of our souls are never determined by the external world. The conditions of our souls are always determined by our internal responses to this external world. I hear people all the time for years, they will say, “Well, pastor you don’t understand what I’m going through.” They just go on and on and in my mind I’m saying to myself, “You’re singing the song of almost everybody! No temptation taken you, but such as is common to man. It’s real. Sit back, let me tell you some of my problems: One is I want to be home with my wife right now as I’m listening to you.”

But if we grab this reality, people who are in this level have yet to understand that we live in an evil world and the goal is not to change folk on the outside, or the past, or the people, or their predicaments. The goal is that they get changed in the midst of these challenges.

But there’s another category of suicide that I want to mention to you as we look at these particular passages and draw these conclusions. Not only can we see that people in Category 1 face external pressures that have led them to want to take their lives. Category 2 has to do with the internal pains of the heart.

Category #2: The Internal Pains of the Heart

Let me suggest to you the reality of these internal pains. Let’s look at this together, one is seeking to escape the heart pains of unrepentant sin resulting in pursuing suicide. Suicide in which one is seeking to flee a guilty conscience, and other conditions in one’s heart that are manifesting as a result of not addressing the sin in one’s internal heart and external actions of one which has control. One chooses to respond in a sinful manner—suicide—to escape a noisy soul, a sense of guilt, a fear of condemnation, the negative emotions and pains of the heart that manifest from the present, active sin one is harboring via their desires, via their words, via their deeds.

We see one category of suicide where the external pressures of life are coming in on me. They’re coming in on me because my view of God is so small and my view of the situation is so big, to me the only way to handle all these pressures on the outside is to take my life. The second category of suicide is this: I’ve got so much guilt from other things going on in my life. There is so much unrepentant sin in my heart, it’s like Jim Berg put it: A noisy soul is happening from within. My soul is so noisy because of this guilt and all the other pain on the inside, the only thing I know to do is to take my life.

Sometimes when people are wanting to commit suicide it’s either the external pressures of the culture, or the internal pain of unrepentant sin. It’s important for us to begin to understand that because as we’re working with people who are moving in those directions, we want to try to ask, “Tell me where you are in life. Tell me what is happening on the inside. Tell me, when you think about suicide, what’s going on? Tell me if you are experiencing the pressures and they seem to be too much, or is it something on the inside that you feel so embarrassed about, so ashamed of, so unwilling to deal with, but it is killing you on the inside and the only thing you know to do to quiet your noisy soul is to take your life?”

I want to suggest you some of the examples of what happens when the internal pains of the heart are driving people to want to commit suicide. Let’s take a look at some of the possibilities of what’s going on. One may be harboring sin via thought, word, deed, or desire towards others, and is experiencing so much guilt and fear of condemnation behind it, that instead of confession and repentance of the matter, one chooses to commit suicide. One may be harboring sin via word, deed, or desire towards his present situation and is experiencing so much guilt and fear of condemnation behind it, that instead of confession and repentance, one chooses to commit suicide. One may be so depressed as a result of unaddressed sin that they choose to commit suicide. One may be so weighed down by the symptoms and various mental disorders that are occurring due to unaddressed sin that they choose to commit suicide. This is where we see Judas and we see Ahithophel. In their mindset, the guilt was so great that instead of coming to the One that can give them life and transform their lives, they chose to run away and to take their own lives.

Many of you know exactly what I’m talking about because you’ve been there. When you think about the times when you thought about committing suicide, it was either the external pressures of the world that became bigger than the reality of God, or the internal guilt and shame, the internal unaddressed sins and pains of a noisy soul that you were saying enough is enough. But you came to experience the reality of the sovereignty of God, the sufficiency of God. You came to see that this supreme God is one who cares for you and has answers for you. That’s the reality that we want to always bring in light of the challenges that we see with individuals.

The Common Signs to Consider that One may Attempt Suicide

I want to suggest to you some of the common signs that we can look for as we’re working with individuals who may want to attempt suicide. These are some of the most basic ones I saw as I looked at the Mayo Clinic website and began to think through different ways that they describe these observations. I wanted you to see this and think through with me. Here are some examples of common signs of one may be attempting to commit suicide.

They may talk about suicide—for example, making statements such as “I’m going to kill myself,” “I wish I were dead,” or “I wish I hadn’t been born.” They may get the means to take their own life, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills or being preoccupied with death, dying or violence. They may do risky or self-destructive things, such as using drugs or driving recklessly. They may give away belongings or get affairs in order when there’s no other logical explanation for doing this. They may say goodbye to people as if they won’t be seen again.

One of the things that’s interesting is that warning signs aren’t always obvious and they vary from very person to person. They’re not always obvious, but sometimes people make their intentions clear, while others keep suicidal thoughts and feelings secret. Suicidal thoughts may have many causes, most often suicidal thoughts are the result of feeling like you can’t cope when you face what seems to be overwhelming life situations. If you don’t have hope for the future, you may mistakenly think suicide is the solution. You may experience some sort of tunnel vision where in the middle of crisis you believe suicide is the only way out. Notice the Mayo Clinic is making this claim, they’re showing us that in actuality we’re seeing two sides of the coin with suicide. We’re seeing the external pressures or the internal pain of a guilty conscience—unrepentant sin, a noisy soul.

I want to share with you something that I thought was so heartbreaking that I read. It’s called the Suicide Sonnet. It’s by a lady named Lizzy, it was written in October 2014. Listen to these words,

“My words, becoming literal.

I’m losing grip on deeper thoughts,

I wish I could find something more

But darkness fills my deepest caves.

I cannot mask my blunt remorse,

Unsatiated hungry thoughts.

I try so hard but I am weak,

My dusty bones can’t hold my weight.

I am a force to all I love,

A burden they cannot hold up.

I’m sorry I am much too frail,

But you don’t have to keep me safe.

There’s something wrong inside my head,

I keep on wishing I was dead.”

May you and I pay attention to the signs. May we recognize that this isn’t “those people.” That’s you and I. That’s not those people who need our help, that’s you and I who need the help of God ourselves. We all have come to places in life where the external pressures or the internal pains have become at such a manner that we wondered, was it worth taking time to trust the God that we say we love?

One of the things I tend to do with my counseling courses is I will ask my students a question about God and I’ll challenge them on things. I love to do this, and I figured since I have all of you here, I want to trick you the way I trick them. Now, I’m telling you this is a trick. You know ahead of time.

First we’ll start with some questions:

Do you believe that God is sovereign?

Do you believe that God is supreme, the first and foremost among all?

Do you believe that God is sufficient? He is enough. He’s doing enough.

Do you believe that God is all-wise, He is really knowing exactly what He’s doing every time?

Do you believe that God is a loving God?

If you believe those things, I’ve got some questions for you. That fight you had this morning, and that anger that you’re kind of holding onto from that fight, that worry that’s in your heart about some things that you can’t cause to happen or can’t keep from happening—if you truly believed all of what you’ve just said, those things will not be as they are in your heart right now. We must distinguish between intellectual assent and true embracing.

See the reality for you and I is we know the theology, but God wants us to embrace this theology. See we have a god of our imagination, and then there’s a God of reality. When we come into a crisis where we have to embrace the God of reality or the god of imagination, it’s a crisis of belief. Will we embrace God or will we just have an intellectual conversation?

People who have come to the brink of suicide, there’s a god of their imagination. They have not yet come to meet the God of reality and instead of coming to see that reality, they’ve chosen something different. We do it on small levels every day. Hebrews 11:6 says to you and I, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

What does that mean for you and I? It’s not that I have to see intellectually that God is sovereign, but when I don’t get what I want, the way I want, how I want, will I accept what God allows and submit to what He says because He is sovereign? Or will I sit, sulk, and sour, while I pontificate on the intellectual realities of the sovereignty of God?

Are you wrestling with the god of your imagination and is the God of reality trying to break in? Those who’ve chosen to commit suicide, they’ve never come to terms with the reality of this God. For you and I, we’ve got to move to a place where we embrace this God.

Let me tell you a story about this. Two pastors were seeking to candidate for a church. One was an older pastor, one was a younger pastor. As they were seeking the candidate for this particular church, the younger pastor got up and they had an assignment for him. You must preach Psalm 23. As they were doing Psalm 23 the younger pastor got up and he really did well. He took every Hebrew word of Psalm 23, he broke it down. It took him about two and a half hours. But when he was done, they got every understanding of every Hebrew word in Psalm 23. They thought, “What an intelligent guy. Not quite sure what all that means, but boy, he really knows he’s talking about.”

The older pastor got up, never hinted that he understood the Hebrew, but broke down the passage so clear, people were crying, hearts were broken, lives were moving towards salvation, people wanted to make changes. The young preacher went over to the older guy and said, “Listen, I’m not trying to be arrogant, but I know I preached that way better than you. What is your secret?” He said, “Son, you know the 23rd Psalm, but I know the Shepherd of the 23rd Psalm.” What will keep you from a life of suicide is not just knowing the 23rd Psalm, but knowing the Shepherd. Not just an intellectual understanding, but a true embracing.

Practical Ways to Help

I want us to explore together in the time we have some practical things that we can do. This is not exhaustive, these are just some practical ways in you and I can try to counsel someone who is working through the issue of suicide who’s willing to talk to you about this. Let’s just look at some practical things that we can think through together as we walk this through.

The first thing we want to do is identify the category of suicide the person is dealing with. This helps you determine if the core issue is 1) The External Pressures of Life, where one is seeking to escape the difficulties of life resulting in pursuing suicide, or 2) The Internal Pains of the Heart, where one is seeking to escape the heart pains of unrepentant sin resulting in considering suicide. It’s important that we try to identify what’s going on—are there external pressures or internal pain?—so that we can begin to hone in and be specific and precise in our compassion, our care, and our guidance of this individual as they are sharing their hearts with us.

Next we want to provide sympathy where you are unable to identify with the issue, and empathy where you are able to identify with the issue. One of the things we want to be careful to remember is that people sin and people suffer. Good biblical counseling deals with both/and, not either/or. It deals with the person in their suffering. It deals with the person in their sin. It has compassion and consideration in how to work that out in their lives.

Give the person hope through the presentation of specific character, precepts, promises, and experiences of Jesus Christ our Lord that can address the person’s consideration of suicide. We want them to see that God is with them. We want them to understand that, “Listen, let’s look at your situation and let’s understand who God is and how He can operate in this area of your life to where you can experience the reality of our great God and be delivered from all of this, not to a life that lacks pain, but to a life of peace in the midst of the pain.”

The next thing we want to try to do is help the person distinguish between what they can and cannot control. What a powerful reality when you understand that in life there are things that you cannot control, and there are things that you can control, and the things that you can control are motivated by the issues of your heart, not the external things of life. You and I have to be careful to help people understand that, because in many cases where people are wanting to commit suicide, they can’t call something to happen or they can’t keep something from happening and their ultimate decision is for them to take their own lives, not recognizing that there’s another solution to their issue.

Help the person identify the neutral, loving, and unloving actions and responses to people and circumstances. Listen, with all of us, you can categorize everything we do into three basic categories. There are neutral responses to things, where there is disappointment, where there is sadness—those are neutral. Where there is grief or sorrow—that’s neutral. But nothing stays in neutral. We either move into being unloving individuals, or we move into being loving individuals. We want to help people in the midst of their challenges and trials and say, “Hey, let’s look at the neutral responses. Let’s look at the loving and unloving responses, and let’s see how all of that has accumulated to lead you to where you are, to where you believe that suicide is the answer.”

Help the person trace the neutral, loving, and unloving responses back to the natural, neutral, and naughty desires of his or her heart that are influencing the neutral, loving and unloving responses. Can I talk to you a little bit about these desires that run you? You’ve got three desires that you can categorize everything in. You’ve got the natural desires. That’s the desire to eat, the desire to sleep, the desire for sex. You’ve got what we call the neutral desires. These are the areas of life where, according to Romans 14, there is no prohibition or there’s no decree. With those particular neutral desires—the desire to build a home, the desire to have a building, or business, or whatever it may be—these are in the areas where God says, “There’s no prohibition. There’s no command. You’re free.” Then there are the naughty desires—the pride of life desires, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh. I like to put it this way: The lust of the eyes says I can have whatever I see. The lust of the flesh says I can do whatever I want. The pride of life says I can redefine myself according to what I want.

These are the issues of life that when you look at it, your desires tend to shift between the neutral, the natural, and the naughty desires. When you look at people’s lives, when they are the most frustrated, there is something they want that they can’t control getting, or there’s something they get and they can’t control—and they want to figure out how to have control over these areas. But in reality they were not meant for them to control, but to resist some (which will be the naughty desires), and the others enjoy, but not to be consumed with, but to live a life unto the glory of God.

How do we help people begin to distinguish this? Part of our challenge is to look at their natural desires, neutral desires, and naughty desires and look at how they’re responding in life to these things and say, “Would it be possible that maybe you’ve become consumed in areas that have become more important than the God who controls all these things?” Part of our job is to help them to begin to think through some of these matters.

Next we want to help the person address the condition of their conscience in relation to their responses to people and circumstances as well as the desires that are or have become sinful in their hearts. “How are you finding yourself responding and tell me where your conscience? Is your conscience clear, is it cloudy? Tell me what you’d wake up to from day to day.” Help them to begin to understand that a clear conscience is a confession away. A clear conscience is a repentance away. A clear conscience is the means of them submitting themselves to the reality of God through confession, repentance, calling on Him, and watching Him restore what’s been broken.

When addressing the condition of his or her conscience give the person the Gospel of Jesus Christ, looking for the salvation of the person as Jesus wills not as we counsel. If we recognize we’re dealing with an unbeliever, the only solution to their life is Jesus Christ by means of salvation. They don’t have peace with God. In order to have the peace of God, which comes through sanctification, they’ve got to first have peace with God. Where there is a desire for suicide, there is a lack of peace, but we don’t know if it’s the peace of God they’re lacking or if it’s the peace with God they’re lacking. If we discover it’s an unbeliever, you can’t have the peace of God until you get the peace with God. Come to Jesus Christ.

Lead the person who is a Saint to renounce, repent, renew, and replace unloving responses and desires with loving responses and desires, which would deal with the condition of his or her conscience, anticipating the sanctification of the Saint as Jesus wills not as we counsel. For the unbeliever, it’s peace with God they need. For the believer, you have peace with God—what you’re lacking the peace of God. You haven’t taken up the yolk and you’re not learning of Him. Somewhere along the line, you’ve stopped listening to your Savior. Somewhere along the line, you started to believe the world and stop listening to your God as a result. You have the power, because you belong to Him, to walk through that temptation, to walk through that challenge, and move back in place with God. Why? Because you can.

Let me tell you what I tell my trainees, I say, “Listen guys. I don’t play with Christians. Let me tell you why. If you’re a Christian, there’s only three reasons why you’re not obeying God. Once I figure out which one it is, I’m going to address you accordingly. It’s either lack of knowledge; I just don’t know. It’s either lack of skill; I don’t know how to do what you’re asking. Or it’s a lack of will; I just will not.”

A believer has the same power that raised Christ from the dead. The believer has the same power, because it says in Philippians 2, “for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.” Therefore, Saint, there’s only three reasons why you’re not obeying God. I didn’t know, I didn’t know how, or I will not. If I figure out you didn’t know, I’m going to give you all of God’s Word. If I figure out you didn’t know how, I’m gonna give you all of my life to help you work it out—and where I can’t there are others that we’re going to work together to make it happen. But if we see that it is a lack of will, I don’t have a lot of counsel for a lack of will. I call it church discipline. Because at this point if you know how, and you know what, and you have the power to do and you refuse, why are we having this conversation?

Now why is it important for you and I? Because there’s certain things that, no matter how compassionate, no matter how careful, no matter how considerate, no matter how much we want to help, sometimes we have to let it go in a sense and say, “God, you love this person far better than I do. They know what to do, they know how to do it, but they’re unwilling. I can’t make them.”

By the way, just a stupid question, have you heard of a Junior Holy Spirit? If there was a Junior Holy Spirit, God would no longer be the Trinity. So why do we keep trying to play God in the lives of people?

I can’t make you. I can’t force you. I can’t push you. I can only facilitate in your life, as you’re willing to submit to the will and ways of God.

As we’re working with believers, we have to call them to the reality that, “You can do what God has given you the power to do. God would not command you to do what he has that empowered you to do. My job is to love you through the process as we help you to put off, to put on—as we help you to confess, to repent, to replace.”

Throughout the entire process, continue to give the person the hope of Lord who loves them and has an alternative solution that can address their problem and give them rest to quiet a noisy soul. There’s always the hope of the Lord. I don’t care how bad you blow it, there’s a God who’s there with you. I don’t care how bad it is, there’s a God who wants to work you through it. I tell people all the time: The goal is not just to go through stuff, it’s to grow through stuff. And it’s bad right now, it’s hard right now. Yes. But there’s a God who wants you to grow through it as He’s going through it with you. If you could just stand under, you will one day understand. Too often, we want to understand and God wants us to stand under. As we stand under, then God lets us understand. Why? Because we’re walking by faith and not by sight. People who are wanting to commit suicide have not yet come to embrace this reality of God and we need to show them in our care, our compassion, our concern: “There’s a God that cares for you. And I know it’s hard, but this God wants to walk you through it and he loves you.”

The Conclusion for Suicide

I want us to close by looking at some of these statements that I thought were very challenging and helpful to frame an understanding of suicide.

“God is the giver of life. He gives and He takes away. Suicide, the taking of one’s own life, is ungodly because it rejects God’s gift of life. No man or woman should presume to take God’s authority upon themselves to end his or her own life.”1

Here’s a second quote I thought was very powerful. “People don’t kill themselves when they are joyful and at peace but rather when there is conflict brewing within and they have no hope that it can be resolved.”2

Here’s a third response. “In order to give a wise answer to someone contemplating suicide, we must understand how the Bible describes the human condition and how we respond to life in a fallen world. Suicide begins long before someone actually takes his own life (Proverbs 13:12). We often describe it like this: Disappointment leads to discontentment, discontentment leads to despair and despair leads to destructive choices.”3

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. Jim Berg: “People who want to commit suicide have come to the right conclusions about life but the wrong the solution. They have come to realize that life without God is not worth living given the condition of the world. However, the solution is not to take their own lives but rather give their lives to our Lord and Savior and be guided by our Lord and Savior who can give them rest. God will give peace to both Unbeliever (peace with God through Justification) and Believer (peace of God through sanctification) if they come to Him, learn of Him, and abide in Him accordingly in lieu of considering suicide.”

I want to leave you with this particular passage that I think could sum it all up together. Psalm 34:18-19 says this, “The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.”

My brothers and my sisters, there’s always been an answer to handle suicide. We service a sufficient God who’s given us everything we need for life and for godliness. You can help someone, and you can be helped by the One who doesn’t want you to take your life, but to give your life to Him and watch Him make a transformation to where you can begin to say like David, “In thy presence is fullness of joy. At thy right hand pleasures forever.”


1. What Does the Bible Say About Suicide

2. Overcoming Depression and Suicide

3. A Christian Response to Suicide or Suicidal Thoughts Part 1

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Nicolas Ellen
Nicolas Ellen is the Senior Pastor of Community of Faith Bible Church and an instructor at the College of Biblical Studies.
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