Christian Living Ethics History

Suicide – Do People Go To Heaven If They Commit Suicide? – A.S.K 21

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BIBLE READING: Judges 16:23-31

TEXT: Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines! Th en he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Th us he killed many more when he died than while he lived. (Judges 16:30)

In December 1856 Hugh Miller, a church leader in Scotland, a man of science and a great author, got out of bed and wrote this message to his wife:

“My brain burns. I must have walked and a fearful dream rises upon me. I cannot bear the horrible thought. God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ have mercy upon me. Dearest Lydia, dear children farewell. My brain burns as the recollection grows, my dear wife farewell. Hugh Miller.”

Hugh Miller – The Christian Radical

He then went and shot himself. To this day people have speculated as to why. He was clearly in great agony – mentally and possibly physically. What happens to Christians who do that?  I don’t need to go back to the 19th Century, or to read about suicides in other countries, to know that this is still an issue today.

In my years as a minister, I have known several Christians who have committed suicide. The beautiful, intelligent young student who had everything going for her; the middle-aged family man; the minister whose life and ministry went horribly wrong. Even to think about these is heart-breaking. Suicide is a dreadful thing. It may seem like a good solution to the person who is so depressed that they do not think life worth living, but the problem is that they are not always thinking straight. Indeed in some cases, they may not be thinking at all. They forget that they are usually leaving behind a people and a community who will be distraught and in despair at their death. It’s a sin against the community. But they also forget that it is God alone who has the right to take someone’s life.

We do not normally have the right to take our own life. So yes – it is a sin. It is also a terrible testimony to the world. I recall one famous existentialist philosopher saying that he could not live consistently with his philosophy of despair because it would mean he would have to commit suicide. The trouble with a Christian who commits suicide is that it is inconsistent with our belief in the goodness, forgiveness and sovereignty of God.

But whilst we acknowledge that it is a sin against ourselves, the community and God, why would that mean we don’t go to heaven? I wonder where this idea comes from. Is it a residue of a belief that those who die with unconfessed sin are not forgiven? Is it because it is considered a ‘mortal’ or unforgivable sin? That is certainly not what the Bible teaches. In today’s passage, we read of a suicide in the Bible. Samson by pulling down the temple of the pagans upon himself did kill himself – as well as many of Israel’s enemies. I suppose that is one example where suicide is at least understandable if not excused. Giving our lives for others might also be considered a good form of suicide.

But what about those who kill themselves out of despair or to get away from the fears, darkness, guilt and problems they face? Are they committing a sin that cannot be forgiven? We need to remember that Jesus died for all our sins, past, present and future. When we become Christians, Jesus doesn’t say; ‘that’s fine. That’s the slate wiped clean. Now you had better be sure you don’t sin anymore because there is nothing more I can do for you”. If that were the case we would all be in deep trouble!

art-black-candle-695644None of us are in the position where we can look back on the life of Hugh Miller and say ‘this is why he committed suicide’. We don’t know. And when we don’t know about such personal and deep matters, we have even more reason to keep silent. We cannot judge. All we must do is seek to help those who are left and try to understand and encourage those who are thinking of suicide to realize that their lives are worth living. I don’t think that the Christians I have known who have committed suicide are excluded from heaven. The blood of Jesus cleanses from all sin – including suicide. They are with Christ. Purified, holy and happy. Their minds and bodies tortured no more. For the Lamb at the centre of the throne will be their shepherd; ‘he will lead them to springs of living water.’ ‘And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. (Revelation 7:17)

CONSIDER: How would you help someone who confided in you that they had suicidal thoughts? What would you do if you felt like killing yourself? Who could you speak to?

RECOMMENDED FURTHER READING: Gary Nelson – A Relentless Hope – Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, there is no pit so deep, that you have not been there already. You cried out in the depths of despair ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me? You understand. You know. Lord help us when we struggle with such dark despair. Help our friends and family. And may we always look to you to lift us out of the pit. Amen.

Animals in Heaven – Do Dogs Go To Heaven? A.S.K 20

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107 comments

  1. these words are beautiful pastor

    until youve experienced it you have no idea what anxiety is like

    in it to be unable to think straight no matter how hard you try because your mind is constantly racing and you are in a state of nervous exhaustion all the time and nothing can cure your problem and you can no longer function at work so you risk losing your job because your manager does not understand or simply does not care which just exacerbates the anxiety more and more

    they all think you are eccentric or incompetent at work because you behavecerratically and totally out of character at times

    it is triggered by something you can not control like the girl you love leaving you because you cannot change someone s heart

    this grief causes you to spiral out of control in constant nervous agitation with yiur mind racing erratically and bouts of nervous exhaustionwhich you can never sleep off

    the next day you are just as bad or there is a brain fig through which uou cannot see clearly

    you go through life in a dream and hear yourself speaking in conversations as though it was not you your voice seems distant like you are hearing an actor and it is not you saying those lines

    sometimes you realise you realise you are going to say something ridiculous but you cannot stop yourself and you see it all play out again like a dream

    eventuallly it hets worse and you may even break the law in a totally out of character way as you stagger through life mind racing but still in this dream state to say nothing of other physical signs like constant nervous pacing, shaking limbs and outbursts of anger at loved ones through the bad nerves

    that is what it was like for me

    i am finally on the right medication now and i am gradually improving and my real personality is returning after many years in this state but i know i still have a long road ahead of me to become a fully functional human being again

    i hope this message was all coherent and legible

    please pray for me

  2. “A Christian family friend is currently in a psych ward with bad depression. Please pray for her.”

    I just want to update you on this. She is still in hospital but she is doing much better overall. She has good days and bad days but she has a positive attitude. Thank you for your prayers, Pastor. God bless.

  3. I just read your latest Tweet, too. It is beautiful:

    “O God, who has prepared for them that love you such good things as pass man’s understanding: Pour into our hearts such love towards you, that we, loving you above all things, may obtain your promises, which exceed all that we can desire, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen”

    Thank you.

  4. I’d like to encourage people to please pray for the Japanese-American tennis star, Naomie Osaka, as she battles anxiety and depression. She is apparently a Christian. I can really relate to her at this time. I wouldn’t be able to constantly face the press with their often very negative and probing questions either. Better for her to get out of that environment.

    Please pray she heals and keeps strong in her faith in Christ.

    Thanks and God bless. xxx

    1. Yes, there seems to be a big difference between Harry and Meghan and Naomi Osaka. Harry and Meghan complain about media persecution and the impact it has had on their mental health and then straight away start courting the media and using it to their advantage when they land in the US.

      Naomi, on the other hand, is apparently genuinely hurting and is prepared to walk away from all that money for the sake of her health. I just hope and pray that girl gets well soon, even if it means she has to sacrifice her tennis career permanently. God bless her.

  5. There are some nice articles here about Miss Osaka:

    Fox News:

    “Osaka says she’s so intimidated by the media that right before talking with reporters she gets huge waves of anxiety and nervousness. The bottom line is that she wants to step away from the limelight.

    Psychotherapist Lynn Ianne called Osaka “brave” for her actions.”
    https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.foxla.com/news/naomi-osaka-withdraws-from-french-open-citing-mental-health-battles.amp

    and

    ABC Australia

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-01/osaka-withdrawal-watershed-moment-understanding-mental-health/100181014

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