By Joe R. Price
Unquestionably, those who commit suicide were troubled in heart. Our sympathy goes out to those whose lives have been affected by the suicide of a relative or loved one. We also want to understand what God’s word says about suicide so that we can make godly decisions about it. Everyone of us will face despair and trouble in this life. Is suicide how God would have us deal with despair, pain and trouble in our lives? Are there alternatives to suicide?
The Bible does not paint a pleasant or supportive picture of suicide. While more and more people are openly advocating their “right” to commit suicide, the Bible nowhere offers suicide as an option for the right-thinking man or woman. Life is a precious gift which God has given us. We are neither to murder others, nor are we to inflict a fatal wound upon ourselves. Those who advocate suicide reveal a diminished view of life and humanity, who have been made in the image of God (Gen. 1:27; 2:7). Suicide is an act of selfishness. It does not consider its impact upon those it leaves behind.
Suicide is the result of utter despair. Experts tell us that overwhelming feelings of helpless, haplessness, and hopelessness are the warning signs of suicide. There were people in the Bible who reached a point in their lives that the only option they could see was to kill themselves. Notable among these was Judas (Matt. 27:1-5). His hopeless attitude can be contrasted with Peter, who denied Jesus three times, but repented of his sins and was restored (Luke 22:31-34, 54-62). Life is never as hopeless, and we are never as helpless, as we may think. We must learn to trust in God instead of ourselves!
Suicide is often contemplated when one sees no clear resolution of our troubles. Elijah’s life was under the threat of murder from queen Jezebel (1 Kings 19:1-4). The Philippian jailer thought his prisoners had escaped, which meant certain doom for him, so he prepared to kill himself (Acts 16:26-27). The problem is that just because we do not see a solution to our troubles does not mean there is not one — or that God is through with us here on earth. God still had many things for Elijah to do (1 Kings 19:15-18). If the jailer had killed himself he would not have been saved (Acts 16:28-34). Although Paul wanted to be with Christ, he knew there was still much for him to do in this life, so he committed himself to being faithful to Jesus (Phil. 1:21-25).
Physical suffering drives many to kill themselves while they still have life. Although Job longed for death rather than his life which at the moment was filled with pain, agony, and humiliation, he endured, and he was ultimately blessed beyond measure (Job 3; 6:8-11; 7:15-16; 42:10-17). It was not the quality of life which made Job’s life precious, it was life itself! He learned (like we must) that there are many things that God does which we must accept in faith (Job 42:1-6). If Job had killed himself he would have shown a lack of faith in God and trust in his own opinion of how things were. We should learn from Job not to think that we have all the answers. Paul did not allow his physical disability to lead him to the depths of despair and suicide, but to the heights of faith and service (2 Cor. 12:7-10)! We must trust God even when things look helpless to us. God is great and does great things for those who fear him (Heb. 13:5-6). Many astounding things have been accomplished by people who would not give up. In Christ we do not have to resort to suicide, we are more than conquerors in Christ! (Rom. 8:37-39). You are important to God, so live for Him!
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