Frequently Asked Questions About Christianity, Answered Honestly!
Can A Christian Commit Suicide?
by Tony Warren
our day, we often hear Christians say, "..my friend committed suicide, but was a Christian and so is now in heaven with no more mental anguish and suffering." Nevertheless the questions remains, can a Christian commit suicide? Is suicide really the universal pain-killer that so many "professing" Christians think that it is--or is that simply wishful thinking? We must ask ourselves, is this theory a belief that is gleaned from the Bible in appealing to scriptural evidence, or is it one that is according to what might be pleasing for us to imagine? The truth is, none of us can be absolutely sure that anyone (besides ourselves) is a true Christian. The cliché of someone "wearing his heart on his sleeve" is a colloquialism, not a truism. Despite our humanistic convictions, beliefs or desires, exactly who is, and who is not a true Christian, only Sovereign God knows for sure. Indeed that is His business, not ours. We judge not, for it is not given to man to know the absolute state of anyone's heart (1st Corinthians 3:12-13). God looks upon the inward man, not on the outward appearance of a person as so many Christians do. He is able to discern between soul and spirit, and between joint and marrow. He ponders and considers the heart (Proverbs 24:12) and therefore knows its true intent and its secrets. No matter how cleverly man may cloak it in an outward veneer, piety or love, it cannot be hid from God. The sad fact is, there are a lot of pseudo-Christians who think that merely professing Christ constitutes true salvation, and I'm sorry to say I believe that is the root of the problem.
There are even a few who argue that since the actual word suicide is not in the Bible, there is no law that speaks against it. However, that is like arguing that since there is no word "embezzlement" in Scripture, there is no law against the practice. Needless to say, that is nonsensical reasoning. Actually, the word "suicide" comes from two Latin words. [sui], which means "oneself," and [cida], which means "to kill". In other words, killing oneself. Thus though the english word "suicide" may not be found in Scripture, what the word represents is clearly found on its pages, and is strictly forbidden. The act of intentionally killing yourself is murder, which God commands against.
In fact, it would be astounding to me that anyone professing to be a Christian would argue that suicide is not sin. Since clearly suicide is not what God wants for anyone and murder what God commands against for everyone. Thus it is the transgression of His will. Self murder is none the less murder as murdering another, so there really is no way of getting around these facts. Since whether suicide is sin or not is not the scope or focus of this paper, we will assume that all faithful Christians know that suicide is sin. Understanding this, we move on to the pertinent question at issue, "can a Christian commit Suicide," or more to the point, "can a Christian that kills him/her self, have been a true Christian?"
I believe the Biblical answer is that, yes. Theoretically it's "possible." Yet given all God has to say throughout His holy word, it is not likely. Of course I understand that this most certainly is not going to be a popular answer (especially in today's politically correct society), but I believe that it is an honest and Biblical answer that pleases God rather than man.
How Do We Know It's Possible?
We know it's possible for them to go to heaven because all of the sins of God's children were accounted for in Christ's completed work on the cross. Therefore, if a true believer (the keyword being, true) were to get to the point where God (for His own purposes) abrogated His normal way of strengthening and upholding someone in time of trial, and allowed them to lose all hope so that in an instant of indecision or weakness they did somehow decide to drive their car off a cliff, or shoot themselves, that instant of bad judgment would surely not keep them out of heaven since all of their sins were previously forgiven in Christ. No sin that we could commit would keep us from the love of God. However, the key word here is "If" God were to abrogate His normal spirit of strengthening us, and keeping us, and allow this. However, what on earth would lead us to think that God would do that? Certainly not anything in Scripture, in fact we read just the opposite. We read that God in us is our power or strength to endure to the end, that we might not lose all hope and purpose this way.
The whole point is that we may abound in hope by the strength of the Holy Spirit of God that dwells within us. God doesn't abrogate that power in time of great despair, as His strength is made perfect in our weakness (2nd Corinthians 12:9). In other words, in times when we are low, that is the time when our weakness serves to illustrate God's power more illustrious. This is the perfect time and opportunity that God uses to reveal His power to help. Through our weakness we find the understanding that we are totally dependent upon Him, and we are strengthened.
- "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost."
There are some theologians who point to Samson as an example of one who committed suicide and was saved. However, Samson's death was God authored to bring vengeance upon the enemies of the Lord. Samson was merely a vessel used in the divine "purpose of God" to get this done. Remember, Samson asked God for this super-human strength to do this not to kill himself in suicide because he was without any hope. God Forbid! He asked to help from God to be avenged by taking vengeance upon the Godless Philistines.
Samson asked for remembrance (Jeremiah 15:15) of the LORD, that he be revenged of his persecutors and enemies, and by extension the Lord's persecutors and enemies. In prayer He asked for strength to do a super-human task, and he left his life entirely in the hands of God. He wasn't drowning in self-pity or hopeless despair, he had divine hope and precious faith and a desire for justice. By contrast, those who commit suicide are without hope and intent on taking their own lives regardless of what God's wants or intends or His will in their lives. Clearly we see that Samson's object was not specifically to kill himself, but as a child of God, to be avenged by God in his killing of the Philistines. Thus, as this was in full accord with the divine purpose against these Godless, God not only allowed it but gave Samson the strength to accomplish it. Samson died as a solder or warrior of faith carrying out the will of God in bringing judgment upon His enemies, not as a self pitying victim of suicide. This verse in no way, shape or form, has anything to say addressing the propriety or acceptability of suicide. It would be like comparing apples and oranges. Samson did not fall on his own sword, jump off a bridge to drown himself, take poison hemp, throw himself off a mountain or take knife to his own throat. God honored his prayer because His prayer was not for suicide (a vain, selfish, hopeless prayer), but to take vengeance upon the enemies of the Lord. God didn't give him strength to kill himself, God gave him strength that he would defeat more Godless Philistines by his death, than he had slain for the Lord in his life (Judges 16:30), and thus God's example and purpose would be fulfilled through this. This in no way defends suicide, nor proves that God's true people commit this act. Suicide is not really a trait of the faith that is found in the true believer. Would God inspire us to be so hopeless that we think about suicide, or is it the Devil that Scripture tells us is the father of deceivers and liars, a killer from the beginning (John 8:44)? Suicide and genuine faith and trust in God do not go hand in hand. Has the Spirit filled Christian received the spirit of bondage again to weakness, fear and cowardice, or the Spirit of faith, hope, trust and perseverance?
- "And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes."
Some theologians claim that the problem with our view that God is against Christian suicide is that it represents a misunderstanding of eternal security, which Scripture clearly teaches. However, that is not the problem at all, since mixing "killing oneself" with "eternal security" is like mixing "despair and desertion" with "hope and expectation." It is self-evident from scripture that just because someone claims that they are saved doesn't mean that they have really been sealed with the Spirit of promise and security wherein they actually are. There is no conflict with the doctrine of eternal security and the Biblical belief that professed Christians who commit suicide may likely not be saved. The real difficulty is in thinking that everyone who says they are saved, actually are. So while I certainly would have to agree that it is possible for a true Christian to commit suicide and have been saved, I would also say that it is "highly" unlikely. Nothing in Scripture indicates to any Christian that God would abrogate His care over the elect in time of trial to allow this hopelessness and despair without solution?
- "The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe."
- "I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you."
It's really a matter of true belief or faith. Do we really believe those are simply "empty words," or do we actually believe those words are true and trustworthy? That's not a trick question, it's meaningful. If we understand this principle, can a Christian really commit suicide? We know that these passages aren't just meaningless words, they are faithful promises to those who actually have Christ's Spirit of trust in God. God simply does not forsake those who trust in Him (Psalms 9:10). A Christian committing suicide is an extremely improbable occurrence since it is God who works within us both to change our will and to work or do (Philippians 2:13) His will in us. His will is not that we despair and give up. The very disposition to forsake our own will and earnestly desire His (as well as every act of obedience), comes directly from His Spiritual agency and influence. Of course in the flesh (in our human emotions, desires, and will) we don't like to think of our friends or loved ones as possibly not having made it into the Kingdom, but the word of God is not as silent on the issue as some would have you believe.
How Do We Know It is Unlikely
- "Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness."
It is a simple matter of actually believing everything that God says, rather than allowing our emotions and our own interests to cloud our thinking. As I said, we would all like to think that our loved ones, personal friends and acquaintances will be in heaven. It's just human nature for people to want to believe these things. Nevertheless, we have to leave all that in the capable hands of the Lord and surrender to the authority of His holy word. Our attitude should be, "Thy will be done O' Lord, not mine!"
There are also many things neglected on the subject of suicide that should be considered when dealing with this issue. The first being, a true believer is indwelled by the Holy Spirit of God. People like to think that someone becomes so depressed and distraught that they see no way out, and so finally they kill themselves. That inherently presupposes that God doesn't care about the state of mind of Christians, or that He is busy elsewhere, or He is just dwelling there within that Christian (assuming they're Christian) idle, rather than as a help, not really doing anything to prevent, suppress or alleviate that hopelessness. Is God's arm too short that He can't help? Even many learned theologians have fallen into the snare of underestimating and misunderstanding the working of the Spirit of God within us. For He "is" the help and deliverer of those who are blessed and poor in spirit. That is to say, if He truly is LORD of their lives. If not, then they really have no reason to call Him Lord.
God does not abandon the needy, His thoughts are toward them as their help to keep them from sinking into terminal despair, and to remind them of the precious hope that all Christians have. His grace is sufficient in their time of weakness, that they can and will persevere.
- "But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinketh upon me: thou art my help and my deliverer."
The second point is, contemplating suicide illustrates clearly that the professed Christian has forsaken his trust in the Lord--a trust that is supposed to be an evidence of Spiritual rebirth in true salvation. In His holy and secure mountain (Isaiah 11:9) we take refuge from the trials and tribulations of this world, not in our own self-centered despair and self-pity. In the Christ-centered existence of the Christian, He is their faith and help and the core of their strength.
- "And they that know thy name will put their trust in thee: for thou, LORD, hast not forsaken them that seek thee."
- "Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah."
The third point is that a great many of these suicide victims have been told by (possibly well meaning) Christian leaders and authors ahead of time that, "..while it's not good to commit suicide, Christians are going to heaven anyway." While that is technically true, it implies something that scripture most certainly does not. This is a careless and reckless thing to tell anyone who is contemplating suicide. Especially since in their obviously emotional state, they are highly susceptible and impressionable to a humanistic way out. Unfortunately this is done continually by many misguided souls under the guise of being compassionate or caring. Murder is a horrible sin and it should not be spoken of as anything less than what it is. No, there is no word suicide in the bible because the word that addresses the act is "killing" or rather committing "murder." Of course, if a Christian asked, "I hate my neighbors and so if I go kill them tomorrow, will I still go to heaven," no self-respecting minister would think of saying "Yes, you will still go to heaven because I know you are a Christian." We all know deep within us that this is nonsense. No God fearing person would tell anyone this, but that is exactly what Christians tell many who hate themselves, their lives and are contemplating suicide. Sure, they couch or phrase their words in the fine print of, "but you really shouldn't," yet this is hardly the counsel a Christian should be giving. Rather they should seek to have them examine themselves, whether their eyes are on the Lord or more likely upon themselves.
- "Ye that fear the LORD, trust in the LORD: he is their help and their shield."
2nd Corinthians 13:5
We should tell them that they should "examine themselves" to see if there is occasion to fear that they may not actually be Christ-centered or saved, but deceived in trusting that hopelessness, despair and self-pity are the fruits of the Spirit of God. This would be serving up the "hard to swallow" medicine of harsh realities, but it is better than serving up a euphemistic placebo to give one artificial faith in committing willful sin. They're really playing situation politics, where their human compassion clouds the central issue. That it's highly unlikely that a true believer will kill themselves is what most Christians will never bear witness to. This because (and this is the ironic part) they don't want them to lose hope. They are in effect telling them it's OK for them to lose hope concerning power of God, while telling them they shouldn't lose hope of salvation in suicide forsaking the power of God. Considering all that Scripture says concerning the issue, faithful believers should give no one a cozy place to feel secure about their own murder, because that does God (and them) a grievous disservice.
- "Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?"
More than that, history shows us that ninety-nine percent of suicide victims are simply feeling sorry for themselves, even though most are actually blessed far above the average person on earth. The prevailing thread in all this is that they have their eyes on themselves and not on Christ, and it is in this vanity that so many make their big mistake. Their thoughts are always, "Poor me, why is this always happening to me, why am I cursed, why do I have such bad luck, why has God abandoned me?" The Christian minister should counsel them on where the real problem lies--that they've made themselves the central figure and primary reason for their existence, rather than Christ. Selah. So how is that evidence of true salvation? How are they then destined for the Kingdom? We must exhort them to take their eyes off themselves and off the cares of 'this world' and put them on Christ. If they do this, their depression will always be relieved because you cannot feel sorry for yourself when you're not thinking of yourself. When we lift our hands in prayer and put our minds on Christ (if He indeed be present within us), He will be our help, our strength, and our refuge in time of weakness or trouble. We need but pour out our heart before Him.
- "In God is my salvation and my glory: the rock of my strength, and my refuge, is in God.
- Trust in him at all times; ye people, pour out your heart before him: God is a refuge for us. Selah".
There is that within us, which is the 'mind of Christ,' and we should understand that we cannot be depressed about something that we are not thinking about or pining over. We must have our mind upon it in order to be brought low and depressed about it. Yet if we take the Biblical principles to heart (something which the church today has forgotten in their leaning toward the social gospel), we will have our minds on things above, things more righteous than ourselves. Yet most theologians today would rather give out secular, humanistic advice and philosophies about suicide, as opposed to Biblical counsel.
- "That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;"
God says be care-full [marimnao] or anxious about nothing! We are commanded not to be mindful about it, or in other words, take our minds off of it that we don't worry about it. The worries of this world, about how people see us, about this life, love life, wealth, status, future or feelings, is not what the "New Life" in Christ is all about. We give that up, we surrender all, we sell all we have for the cause of Christ. When we do what God commands us, He will give us all that is necessary to have peace of mind. His grace is sufficient.
- "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
- And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
- Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
- Those things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do: and the God of peace shall be with you".
"Where God guides, He provides!"
When God says, think on these things, and the God of peace shall be with you, it's not just words blowing in the wind to placate us. These are words of His divine truth. His words only seem without power when professing Christians ignore Scripture and begin to give and take advice by what seems right in their own eyes. If we're true Christians, then we must resign ourselves to do it God's way. We don't think on ourselves, our lot in life, or our troubles, we think on how to glorify God and the things which God prescribes. Not about "poor me, what can I do about poor me," rather we think on, "what can I do today to better serve God." God has promised that if we do, His peace of mind will be with us. Do we believe it, or do we () believe that these phrases are just words? If we think God's words are cheap, then what makes us think that we are true believers anyway? That is the real question? There was one discussion I had with a friend who said:
"I suppose the question would be whether or not God would allow a true believer to commit such a grievous sin. I would tend to think not, but I don't know.."
This is an excellent point. Can a Christian commit suicide? We don't know for sure but judging from all the Biblical texts, we do know that it is not something that God winks at, nor is it the Spirit of true Christianity. To tell someone that they're going to heaven if they commit suicide (and believe me when I tell you, many do say that) is a misnomer, assuming far too much. A Christian committing suicide is like rebelliously rejecting God's promises to not place more than we can bear upon us and retorting, "God has put more on me than I can bear in this life." That of course is a direct contradiction to what God has promised He would not do. Yet just another example of the Scriptures constantly ignored in favor of humanistic reasoning.
1st Corinthians 10:13
These are the pertinent Scriptures that are often avoided by those who substitute psychology, humanism, world views and philosophies for Biblical counsel. We can understand (though not condone) the grieving loved ones' neglect of such verses, but learned theologians counseling potential victims should know better (James 3:1), and as teachers will be judged more severely. God says He 'WILL NOT' put upon Christians more than we are able to bear, only that which is common to man. Along comes the unrighteous to rewrite or twist this to mean maybe He will, but not necessarily. However, that passage is unambiguous and is a clearly written promise, and who are we to argue with God and call it an overstatement? Who are we to ignore that promise in our self-serving desire that we comfort others? Is God a faithful (truthful) God who will not suffer Christians to be tried [peirazo] above what they can bear, or is God someone whose words are untrustworthy and empty? That is the relevant question for the serious, conscientious Christian. Is the Spirit able, and if so, is He not willing?
- "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will NOT suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."
God does not leave His people in despair, as despair is the mind-set of those who don't have the comforting Spirit of Christ. Can we be brought to the very brink of suicide, and God withhold us from committing it? Absolutely! For there are lessons to be learned in all our transgressions, trials and tribulations. But God promises that with these trials, He is faithful to make a way out of it so that we can bear it. Consider the servant David as our example. He was in great despair, depressed, brought so low that he sorrowed all day long.
- And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.
- And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."
He was troubled to the point of having this great turmoil in his heart, and yet he never gave up hope, instead he called upon the Lord, whom he knew was the source of his help (Psalms 121:1-2). This is the mentality of the true believer. That God is their help in time of despair, not the grave and not death.
- "I am troubled; I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long.
- For my loins are filled with a loathsome disease: and there is no soundness in my flesh."
Did King David feel that killing himself was the answer? On the contrary, he turned to God for help to lift him up from his low state of depression. Always he depended upon God's promises, and that is where he put his trust and his hope.
- "Forsake me not, O LORD: O my God, be not far from me.
- Make haste to help me, O Lord my salvation."
When David was laid low in the dust, he prayed for renewal of life, asking God to preserve his life according to His word and promise. This is (generally speaking) the rampant problem today. Christians (that is to say, professed Christians) are not really looking to God for their help, rather they are looking at themselves and saying "why can't I fix this, why can't I get out of this, poor me, I am without hope." Their eyes are not on the prize, they are always placed on themselves. The emphasis is always on them, and never on the power of God as their help and hope.
- "My soul cleaveth unto the dust: quicken thou me according to thy word."
In other words, David understood that this was the God of his strength. Christians will survive suicidal tendencies by doing two things. They reduce their mental anguish by laying those thoughts down at the cross (Philippians 4:8) and leaving them there. They increase their ability to cope by leaning upon the strength (Psalms 19:14; Psalms 31:4; 2nd Corinthians 12:9) of Christ, rather than their own. We can give our burdens to Christ, or we can attempt to carry them on our own shoulders. So many Christians burden themselves in trying to deal with this alone, without Christ as their help. Yet if they humble themselves, lay all their burden down, then in truth they don't have a care in the world. The problem is, people will not do that. They would rather let trials drag them down that they may wallow in self-pity.
- "Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance."
1st Peter 5:6-7
In prayer and supplication they must make their requests known to God, placing their eyes upon Him and not themselves. For faith in Christ is an integral part of being a true Christian, and that is what we must not lose sight of nor minimize in our sorrow and compassion. The light of the body is the eye. So let us exhort them (as Paul did) to keep their eyes on the prize, for this world is not our comfort zone, it is simply a way station. Often in our depression, we forget that this is not our home and we are just strangers and pilgrims passing through. We've got a job to do and we weren't promised a rose garden in doing it. Indeed what we were promised were trials, temptations, tribulations, reviling and persecutions (John 16:33, Luke 6:26).
- "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
- Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you."
2nd Timothy 3:12
So it's not, "woe is me," it should be "blessed am I" who suffers persecutions. Our Lord declared blessed are those who men revile and persecute and say all manner of evil against. We don't lose hope over such things, we take up our cross and we follow Him. We are clearly told that whosoever will not forsake all for the sake of Christ "is not worthy of Him (Matthew 10:37-38)." That because in our weakness we are made strong in the power of Christ. These are the things that Christians of our day seem to have lost or forgotten. Their first love (agape) is to be charitable in the sharing the gospel message with others, not for their own comforts and desires. Our weaknesses are not something to despair over, but to joy in.
- "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution."
2nd Corinthians 12:10
There is no opt-out suicide clause for believers who abide in the Covenant of God, and there are no justifications by situation ethics. Moreover, how would the Holy Spirit of God guide us without moving us to where He wants us to go? Seriously, even a guide dog moves the blind to safety, does he not? God is much more careful of those under His care than a guide dog, and so to assume that God does not take that kind of action within Christians is to ignore all the pertinent Scriptures that clearly illustrate that God does.
- "Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ's sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong."
For it is God that works in you "both" to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13; Hebrews 13:20-21). In other words, God works in you to do his will. Thus, is it His will that you murder yourself? That words in Philippians 2:13 translated "working" and "do" are both [energeo], meaning 'being active,' the one effectually moving you. It's where we get the word "energy." Clearly God illustrates that He is not an idle passive God, He is a God who works within us and is actively moving us to work to do His will. That's not what I say and it's not the humanistic philosophy of modern theologians, that's what the divine God inspired written. If we're going to ignore all the passages of Scripture that we don't like, of course we can believe anything we want. We can then come to any unbiblical conclusion to suit our personal or private tastes. However, if we're truly seeking truth and looking to what God desires and declares, then all Scripture must be taken into account when formulating beliefs and doctrines.
- "Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
- For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure."
There are some theologians who understand these things, but who respond by saying that we can't take this type view because we all have a certain lack of trust in the Lord sometimes. This may be true, but are we to use our own weakness as justification for murder? Just because someone did not trust in the Lord at some point doesn't equate to, "suicide victims are most likely saved." We may have not trusted in the Lord at some time, but we didn't kill ourselves, did we? The reason we didn't was because of the Grace of God who was working in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). That is the truth that some theologians seem determined to ignore. We do not reach that point of total despair precisely because of the Grace of God in us wherein He 'keeps' His faithful promise not put upon us more than we can bear. Either that, or God was not truthful when He promised that He wouldn't. So again, who are we going to believe? Psychiatrists, philosophers, new age seminary graduates, or the word of God. Lest we forget, God's grace is more perfectly seen (2nd Corinthians 12:9-10) when we are weak, that we may remain strong rather than cowards in the face of trials.
It is only in Christ that we are as a lion rather than a coward when facing the trials of this world. This world (and I'm talking about the professed Christian world) is so enamored by their own vanity and ability to solve every problem by thinking it out themselves, that God and His word comes as an afterthought. Things are always about I, or me, or what we do, what I did, What we can't do, how I chose God, How we must move because God won't do it for us, etc., etc. But the 'I' is the real problem here. All is pride and vanity saith the preacher. Trust and belief in the word and the faith in the Lord to carry it out, is not insignificant in anything. It's an essential part of true Christianity.
- "The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion."
- "The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower."
These are the things that faithful ministers of God's word should testify to Christians. They don't counsel them that they can murder themselves, or that it's not peculiar for a Christian to have no hope, or have no trust in the Lord to overcome and still be saved. A Christian committing suicide is the sin of forsaking his God, his God's law, and his God's ordained commission. He's throwing in the proverbial towel. In essence he's saying, "I'm tired of the work that Christ has given me to do in this world and I choose to quit and go home." Harsh? Of course, because it's true. More often than not, the professed suicidal Christian has never even been working for Christ in the first place, merely parroting the line that 'they are Christian.' A true Christian doesn't faint in well doing, He endures. Here is the patience and faith of the saints (1st Peter 2:19-21). That again is one of the evidences of true Christianity. If we lack this, what makes us think that we are true Spirit filled Christians?
- "Blessed is that man that maketh the LORD his trust, and respecteth not the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies."
2nd Corinthians 4:16
Our spirit within us is renewed and invigorated day after day because Christ dwells within us and gives us the necessary strength to persevere. Are we to think that His Spirit abandons us or fails to renew us the day when we need it most? God Forbid! That may be the implication in some theologian's words, but it is not what we would expect in accordance to Scripture. He has said that He will never leave nor forsake us, so has that become a meaningless phrase in our day? As true Christians we wait upon the Lord, we do not throw up our hands in anguish, we endure our trials in desperate times specifically because of the strength of Christ within us. So then, understanding this, what do we have that sustains us? Is it faith or lack of faith, is it belief, or unbelief?
- "For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day".
Hopelessness and being distraught to the point of murdering oneself, these are not the evidences of a true Christian. They may be the evidence of one who has very little (if any) faith, or of those who have an external, shallow or superficial relationship with Christ, but not of faith. In fact, I would say it is more the evidence of one who has taken his or her eyes off Christ, if they ever had them there to begin with. Are those who run and yet become weary, or are those who walk and faint accounted sainthood? Or are these those who have not mounted up with eagle's wings, nor really waited upon the Lord, but who have contrarily sank low in deep despair and given up the ghost. We cannot in all good conscience ignore these things for the sake of saying euphemistic things that people want to hear.
- "But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."
In conclusion, I know there will be those who will no doubt claim that we are un-compassionate in testifying to this, but far from it. For true compassion is in encouraging repentance for neglect and sin, and exhorting that we turn away from error. It is not in saying "Peace, Peace when there is no Peace," or speaking in deceit things smooth to the ear, just to placate or be men pleasers. Discipline may seem harsh, but in reality it is compassion unto righteousness.
- "Which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits:"
Those who would like to confuse the issue in bringing up the relatively small group of people who kill themselves because they are physically in tortuous pain as terminal hospital patients. Even in that, do we ignore the fact that the Christians of old endured as much and more excruciating pain (they didn't have today's medications), or who endured the horrors of evil men in tortures, and yet would not waver in their faith one inch from the will of the Lord? Choosing instead to be tortured to death, rather than say a few words which would save their very lives or bring to an end their torture? Are we to cast this strength in Christ off as an aberration of Christianity, and the weakness of these people today who commit suicide as an understandable, excusable act of true Christians? I don't think so. To do so denies all that God declares He will do for us, and demeans all that the church which has gone before us has endured in faith. When we lose hope, we loose our anchor. How then are we still moored safely and abiding in Christ? Christians of all people should know better than this.
- "Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby".
All the fore-mentioned Scriptures mean nothing to those who choose to ignore them in favor of humanistic reasoning. Nevertheless, faithful Christians that have hope as their anchor know that it is sure and steadfast to those in true belief. We know that to lack this hope is a terrible sin. It is in essence, to have no foundation or anchor. So then, how do we answer the question of "Can A Christian Commit Suicide?" I say theoretically and hypothetically, yes. However, is it likely that they were actual Spirit filled and saved Christians? We must Biblically say, probably not.
- "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;"
In any case, the state of those after death is not really our business as it is the Lord who will judge. Our Christian work is to tend to the living. Thus, to the living we say that all evidence is that a true Christian will not commit suicide. Therefore contemplating suicide may be evidence that one is not truly saved at all, and therefore still under the wrath of God. Let every soul contemplating suicide think hard on these things. Let them ask themselves why they would abandon God because of their mental anguish? Do they truly have the mind of Christ? We are "sent" with a mission and it's not over until God calls us home. It's not over when we decide we don't want to live anymore because God (implicitly) placed upon us more than we can bear in direct contradiction to His Promise. It's not over until sovereign God Himself decides to call us home. He is our strength in life, not our burden. If we have a burden we cannot bear, it's because we have not laid it upon Christ. And to be sure, how can one seeking to carry his own burden, get into the Kingdom of Heaven?
...may the Lord who is merciful beyond all, give us the wisdom to discern the truth of His most Holy word.
Copyright ©1999 Tony Warren
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