Suicide Is Not A Solution
Comedian Rodney Dangerfield often joked that he got no respect. One of his famous one-liners was, “I called suicide prevention…they put me on hold.”
In real life, suicide is no laughing matter. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, each year more than 32,000 Americans take their own lives. Just a few days ago, megachurch pastor and “Purpose Driven Life” author Rick Warren suffered a terrible tragedy. His 27-year-old son Matthew died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after a lifelong struggle with mental illness.
I can relate to people who contemplate ending their lives. When I was in eighth grade, I experienced much name-calling and physical abuse from my classmates. Going to school had become so traumatic I wanted to die. If my father had a gun, I probably would have shot myself. I considered swallowing poison but fortunately was too scared to follow through with that.
A couple months before giving my life to the Lord in 1991, I was driving on the freeway one night when suddenly I had recurring thoughts of taking my own life. Two days later I ended up meeting a woman God used to get me back into church. Looking back, I now realize those suicidal thoughts were a demonic attack.
There are people in the Bible who struggled with the will to live. Elijah and Jonah both wanted to die after experiencing disappointments with their ministries. While they went on to do the work of the Lord, other characters in the Bible ultimately committed suicide…
• King Saul drifted away from God, lost a key battle, and killed himself before the Philistines could capture him. Saul’s armor bearer did likewise (1 Samuel 31:4-5).
• A royal advisor named Ahithophel regretted his defection from King David’s side to Absalom’s side and hanged himself (2 Samuel 17:23).
• After reigning Israel for only seven days, King Zimri saw his throne was about to taken and burned down his palace around himself (1 Kings 16:18).
• Judas Iscariot killed himself after being overwhelmed with remorse for betraying Jesus (Matthew 27:1-5; Acts 1:18-19).
One might argue Samson should be included on this list, even though his final act of causing the temple to collapse could be seen as a heroic sacrifice against Israel’s enemies (Judges 16:23-31).
I’ve met Christians who believe individuals who kill themselves will spend eternity in hell since one of the Ten Commandments is “You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13). Personally I believe suicide is forgivable if committed by someone who had faith in Jesus. I know a man who had a teenaged daughter with serious health issues. She died in the hospital after intentionally unplugging herself from a life support machine. It’s possible this girl got a glimpse of heaven and desired to be with the Lord more than winning the battle against her disease. She should not be judged by the same standard as someone who intentionally murders another person.
Nevertheless, God gave us life and should be the One who decides when it’s time for us to go home to be with Him. 1 Corinthians 6:20 says, “For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” So if you’re dealing with thoughts of hopelessness, don’t forget that God created you for a purpose and has a good plan for your life. Regardless of whatever challenges you’re facing, He will provide a way for you to emerge successful.
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” - Jeremiah 29:11