(Note: If you are ministering in a telephone counseling center and someone calls who is threatening suicide, a life depends on your actions. First, get their name and location. Keep them on the line while another person dials to dispatch emergency response personal to their location. The person calling for emergency assistance should relay the exact location and the nature of the emergency–suicide in progress, threats of suicide, etc. Keep the caller talking with you, listening and encouraging them. Do not panic. Take control, believing that the Holy Spirit will speak through you. Tell the caller that you will remain on the line until the emergency workers arrive at the location. The primary objective is to prevent the suicide. Prayer and biblical counseling can follow. The type of counseling that asks “What do you think you should do about this problem” is not appropriate. You already know what they think. They believe the answer is death! Take authority on the basis of the Word of God and show them suicide is not the answer, but that God has an answer. Minister hope for the future.)
DEFINITION: Suicide is when a person chooses to end their own life and deliberately kills themselves. Assisted suicide is when you help someone commit suicide.
FACTS ABOUT SUICIDE:
Suicide destroys, so we know the thought of it and acting upon are not from God. John 10:10 confirms that it is the enemy who kills, steals, and destroys.
People consider suicide when their problems or sins seem greater than their coping mechanisms. That is why salvation through the blood of Jesus is so important. He forgives and bears your sin, grief, and pain so that you no longer have to cope with these feelings alone
Suicide attempts are usually a result of emotional issues. A great loss or tragedy can trigger suicidal thoughts–death of a loved one, loss of a business, finances, or a significant relationship, and chronic health problems are examples. Depression and unstable mental conditions also result in suicidal thoughts or attempts. Anger at others can cause thoughts of suicide to “show them” and make those who have wronged them feel guilty.
How does someone get to the point of suicide? Everyone goes through periods in their lives when they feel down. In time, the feelings usually depart and life goes on. But sometimes, difficult situations lead to feelings of depression, guilt, shame, and unhappiness that do not go away. Life becomes a great struggle filled with gloom, despair, emptiness, and hopelessness. Eventually, a person feels there is nothing to live for and seeks a way out of his pain.
Assisted suicide is sometimes requested by people who want to die because of a devastating illness. They ask someone to help them or a doctor to provide lethal medications. Some governments have made laws against this, while others endorse it as a way to “die with dignity”. This practice is also called “euthanasia”. But it is God who gives life (Job 33:4) and He who has numbered our days (Job 14:5). Hebrews 9:27 indicates that the time of one’s death is appointed. When you decide to end your own life for any reason, you are arrogantly saying you know better than God. There is nothing in the Bible that says we have to keep someone alive for as long as possible, however. If someone is terminally ill and in great pain, they should be made as comfortable as possible and comforted by the Word of God and prayer. The same God that sustained you in life, will sustain you in death. (Note: Having an order of “do not resuscitate–DNR” is not suicide or assisted suicide, nor is disconnecting life support when someone has been declared brain dead. In cases of terminal illness, mental disorders, and advanced age, such orders are merely expressing a desire for doctors not to intervene in the natural process of dying or to be kept alive artificially. God is greater than any DNR order or any disconnect of life support systems. He can still intervene and supernaturally restore life.
Suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness. The person committing suicide is thinking only of himself and what he perceives to be an end to his problems. He does not think about the mental and emotional pain and possible financial hardships he will cause in the lives of friends and relatives who are left behind. Suicide is a waste of the gift of life that God intended be used for His glory. It is a frightening finality that results from unresolved hopelessness, despair, and tragedy.
Attempted suicide is a cry for help. Suicide is an act taken by one who actually wants to die, but futile attempts at it are cries for help. Take them seriously.
Suicide is not a problem of a specific class of people. Educated and uneducated, rich and poor, young and old–all are affected by it. The tendency towards suicide cannot be inherited and does not run in families. It can, however, be a learned behavior, i.e., a person considers it because their parent dealt with their problems by ending it all.
Symptoms of suicide can include hinting about it, making a threat, actual attempts, and not rebounding properly after a significant loss or tragedy. Isolation, abandoning previous interests, and giving away cherished possessions are also signs. Increase in drug and alcohol use, depression, and hopelessness are other symptoms that a person is considering suicide. Sometimes, however, a person who has been extremely depressed seems to be happier than they have been for some time. Often, this is mistaken as a sign that the person is getting better and no longer suicidal. In truth, their seeming happiness is resulting from having made a decision to commit suicide and knowing there will be an end to their problems.
Suicide is murder, and murder is sin. It is spiritually and morally wrong for a person to rebelliously decide they have the right to end their own life by murdering themselves. Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and you must respect that (1 Corinthians 6:19). Assisted suicide–where you help someone commit this act–is also sin. You are aiding in the death of a human being, and according to the Bible murder is sin. In many nations, the law views this as a crime and there will be legal ramifications.
Suicide is not an unpardonable sin. Just as murder can be forgiven, suicide is not the unpardonable sin. God is merciful and He knows our weaknesses. If a believer had just told a lie and then dropped dead, would he be eternally lost? No. Thus, God’s grace can forgive
suicide by a professing believer–someone who loses hope and in a moment of anguish makes a terrible decision. There is nothing in the Bible that specifically addresses whether someone who commits suicide is eternally lost, but we know that salvation is not by works–it is by grace. And nothing can separate you from the love of God.
Believers are not immune from suicide. We live in a fallen world, and Christians suffer great losses and tragedies just as unbelievers do. Sometimes a believer may be so emotionally fragile that they cannot deal with their problems and they consider suicide as a way out. We cannot understand the depth of someone else’s suffering or the tragic reasons that could drive someone to commit this act. Only God knows what is in a person’s heart.
People sometimes refer to the Old Testament character, Samson, and claim that he committed suicide, but that is not true. Samson sacrificed his life to free his nation from a powerful and evil enemy. It would be similar to jumping in front of a speeding car to save the life of your child. That is sacrifice, not suicide (Judges 16). This is why Samson is listed as a hero in the Bible=s record of faithful men and women (Hebrews 11:32). Suicides in the Bible were committed by sinful men acting in desperation and disgrace. They included Abimelech (Judges 9:54); Saul and his armor bearer (1 Samuel 31:3-6); Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23); Zimri (1 Kings 16:18); and Judas (Matthew 27:5).
DEALING WITH SUICIDE:
If you do not know God, become a believer. Although believers are sometime tempted with suicidal thoughts, most often a suicide spirit manifests itself in unbelievers. Becoming a believer in Jesus Christ will make you a new creature in Christ and give you hope for the future. As a child of God, you will have God working in your behalf in difficult times. If you have never made a decision to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, you can do that right now and take the first step toward a new life. Simply pray this prayer and mean it in your heart: “Lord Jesus, I ask you to come into my life. I want to turn from living my life under my own control. Come now and live your life in me. Jesus, forgive me for my sins. I receive you as my Lord and my Savior. I will live for you and serve you all the days of my life. Amen”.
Determine what is causing thoughts of suicide. Is it a recent loss? Is it a health issue? Is it depression in general? Deal with the root causes in prayer. People often turn to suicide because they are seeking relief from pain. Jesus Christ bore your pain–as well as your sins–on the cross, so why are you bearing your own pain? Ask God to heal your pain. Do not minimize the issues that are causing your thoughts of suicide. Acknowledge and deal with them in the name of Jesus.
Share your feelings with your spiritual leader. Christian leaders can provide guidance, prayer, and encouragement through this difficult time.
Rebuke the spirit of suicide from operating. Suicide is a Satanic spirit that would take your life! Don’t let it! Rebuke every thought of it in the name of Jesus.
Know that no matter how dark things seem at the time, there is hope in the future. Things will get better. You will come through this dark time of your life. God did not promise that you won’t have problems, but He gives you the ability to face challenges through His supernatural power.
Formulate a plan for the future. With the help of a biblical counselor or Christian friend, make plans for the future. Your plan should include Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with other believers. It should also include steps to deal with issues that have contributed to the thoughts of suicide. A plan will give you hope for the future.
Read the following passages and make them your declarations of faith: Psalm 23; Psalm 28:7; Isaiah 43:2; Romans 8:28; and Philippians 4:13.
Start a gratitude journal. Each day, write down something for which you are grateful. This will keep you focused on the positive things in your life instead of the negative.
If you are a relative or friend of someone who has committed suicide, take solace in the Word of God, prayer, and comfort of Christian friends. Do not withdraw from others. Release your anger and disappointment at the person for this act, and believe that God was merciful to him/her in their desperate time of need.
WHAT GOD’S WORD SAYS ABOUT SUICIDE:
You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13)
This day I call heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years… (Deuteronomy 30:15)
I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. (Psalm 27:13-14)
Read Psalm 73 where the Psalmist expressed his despair, but ends by expressing his trust in the Lord.
Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life; you stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes, with your right hand you save me. The Lord will fulfill [his purpose] for me; your love, O Lord, endures forever–do not abandon the works of your hands. (Psalm 138:7-8)
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11)
Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, “The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.” (Lamentations 3:21-24)
For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!
Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up. (Luke 18:1)
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)
Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:19-20)
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. (2 Corinthians 12:9-10)
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (Philippians 4:6-8)
So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. (Hebrews 10:35-36)