By John Isaac Edwards
According to an Associated Press article in the Louisville Courier Journal, Hallmark Cards Inc. is adding a new dimension to its card collection. Hallmark is making a sympathy card for those who lose someone to suicide. “There was a resounding response for this kind of card,” said company spokeswoman Rachel Bolton. The card has a light blue background with a cloudy skyline across the front. At the bottom, a lone sailboat sits on calm water. The message inside describes someone fleeing from life and the impossibility of knowing that person’s suffering. It also seeks to reassure the reader that “our compassion- ate Creator” understands and “already has welcomed” the loved one home.
The attitude of our society toward suicide is changing. More and more people are accepting it, feeling more comfortable with it, and are condoning it. Even well respected physicians are assisting in the process today. It is time that we ask, “What is God’s attitude toward suicide, and what does the Bible have to say about it?”
Now reaching epidemic proportions, suicide is currently the third leading cause of death among teenagers in the United States. Nearly 30,000 Americans commit suicide each year. For every completed suicide, it is estimated that as many as 50 to 100 suicide attempts are made. In the past three decades, the suicide rate among teenagers 15-19 years of age has tripled. One out of four high school students has contemplated suicide in the last year. These figures, furnished by Los Angeles Unified School District Student Health and Human Services Division, underscore the magnitude of the problem and the urgent need to seek a solution to the suicide epidemic.
Suicide In The Bible
There are seven recorded cases of suicide in the Bible.
Six are found in the Old Testament and there is one in the New Testament.
1. Abimilech. “Then he called hastily unto the young man his armourbearer, and said unto him, Draw thy sword, and slay me, that men say not of me, A woman slew him. And his young man thrust him through, and he died” (Judg. 9:54). He was slain by his armourbearer, but he ordered it done.
2. Samson. “And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all his might; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that were therein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than they which he slew in his life” (Judg. 16:30).
3. Saul. “Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it” (1 Sam. 31:4).
4. Saul’s armourbearer. “And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him” (1 Sam. 31:5).
5. Ahithophel. “And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his ass, and arose, and get him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father” (2 Sam. 17:23).
6. Zimri. “And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died” (1 Kings 16:18).
7. Judas. “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself”
(Matt. 27:5). Luke recorded, “Now this man purchased a ﬁeld with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he
burst asunder in the midst, and all his bowels gushed out” (Acts 1:18).
None of these was a faithful child of God!
What Causes People To Commit Suicide?
There are many common traits among persons who commit suicide. Depression, lack of social support, stress and anxieties, publicity, grief over departed loved ones and a desire to join them, lack of self-control, to escape responsibility, sickness and disease, and on and on it goes.
What’s Wrong With Suicide?
1. Suicide is self-murder. Paul told the Romans, “For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill,
Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is brieﬂy comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself” (Rom. 13:9). Among the works of
The ﬂesh in Galatians 5:19-21 is “murders” and the Holy Spirit revealed, “that they which do such things shall not
Inherit the kingdom of God.” It is just as wrong and sinful to kill self as it is to kill another! John recorded, “But the
Fearful and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and
All liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with ﬁre and brimstone: which is the second death” (Rev. 21: 8). Does that sound to you like the Creator already has welcomed them home? 2. Suicide is destruction of another’s property. Some may reason, “It is my life and my body and I’ll do with it what I please.” Well, that’s really not the case. Paul asked the Corinthian Christians, “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). When you take your life you are bringing an end to something that
belongs to God!
3. Suicide is a sin you can’t repent of. Jesus said, “I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish”
(Luke 13:3). Once you’re dead it’s too late to make things right with God!
The Answer To Suicide
There is only one answer to suicide — being a faithful Christian. Take the Lord’s yoke, not your life! Jesus invites, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall ﬁnd rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light” (Matt. 11:28-30). God is a compassionate Creator who knows your every trouble, heartache, and sorrow and he cares. Peter wrote, “Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you” (1 Pet. 5:7). Turn to the Lord, not the bottle, pills, a knife, or a gun!