Monday, October 26, 2015

Sympathizing & Preventing Suicide; How Could God Allow Suicide?


Introduction

            Since we did not bring ourselves into existence, we cannot exit this existence voluntarily via suicide. Suicide is a sin, no doubts. But we should sympathize with those having suicidal thoughts. Not just sympathize, but act proactively and positively in Christ’s power.  

Sympathizing With Suicide

            Suicide predicated on certain circumstances may appear thoughtless and hasty e.g. inability to pay debts, failing an exam, rejected by spouse, death of a close relative or friend. Aftermath of these occurrences could be resolved by suitable therapeutic interventions; spiritual included. 

            Certain other situations could invoke greater sympathy:

BEING A BURDEN

            Being a burden to others is a horrendous evil.

            Consider a person constantly being blamed for his prolonged painful ailment by his relatives and friends, who are being burdened beyond their abilities. In this context, isn’t it apt if this ailing person considers committing suicide so to deliver his relatives and friends from their [needless] burden?  

            Similarly a child could be deemed a failure by parents. This child could then contemplate suicide as a means of escape from being constantly ridiculed by the very people who are to love him.

            Would not these situations invoke greater sympathy upon the person with suicidal thoughts?  

PERPETUAL PAIN

            Those living in seemingly unending pain could think of suicide as a means to escape pain e.g. victims of constant physical abuse, prisoners of war tortured to the realms of inhumanity with absolutely no hope for survival.

            There are those in similar instances of unbearable pain. They receive maximal goodness from families and friends but seek suicide for not being able to continue living in unbearable pain.

            How can we not sympathize with those in perpetual pain having suicidal thoughts?

MENTAL ILLNESS

            Another acute instance of sympathy is upon those suffering from illnesses such as Depression and Schizophrenia that could cause suicide. Unless proper treatment is offered, patients suffering from such mental disorders could commit suicide for no fault of theirs.

THEOLOGICAL ESCAPISM

            A person in constant pain MAY seek to commit suicide so to release himself or his friends & relatives from unnecessary burden.

            Christian theology could aid this person’s suicidal thought process:

            1. A believer of Christ does not lose his salvation through suicide.

            Although suicide is a sin, the Bible does not mention anywhere that a believer who commits suicide would go to hell. A believer is saved by faith in Christ. Suicide will not condemn this believer to hell.

            2. A believer of Christ will enter heaven upon death. Heaven is an eternal abode without pain and evil.

            Hence, a believer in constant pain could seek to commit suicide so to escape from existential pain to an eternal heavenly abode with only joy and happiness.

            3. Hence, a believer who commits suicide merely hastens his exit from his painful existence to a painless and joyful eternal abode.

            We could recount more instances where could sympathize with those fostering suicidal thoughts. It’s a given that those who commit suicide have given up hope and scope for living since peaceful existence seems nonexistent.

God Will Allow Suicide

            To state that God will allow suicide is not implausible. God has legitimate reasons to allow suicide.

            The Bible unequivocally states that evil will reign for a period of time. Christianity is not about living a jolly good life. God never assured that Christian life would be a painlessly peaceful life. God will not intervene to save all people from every horrendous situation. This is a given.

            The Bible emphasizes believers’ constant struggle against powers of evil (Ephesians 6: 12). Therefore, Christians should not be surprised by evil’s gruesome and horrendous onslaught.

            God does not intervene to purge man’s freewill. The man in pain freely chooses to commit suicide and God would not prevent this act.  

            A believer of Christ does not lose his salvation if he/she commits suicide. So an absence of negative eternal ramification legitimizes God’s acquiescence to suicide.

            God allows Christians to suffer. The Bible is replete with instances of believer’s suffering, “…there were others who were tortured, refusing to be released so that they might gain an even better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. They were put to death by stoning; they were sawed in two; they were killed by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated—the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, living in caves and in holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised, since God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect” (Hebrews 11:35b-40, NIV).

            Hence, it is a given that God will allow suicide.

Conclusion: Prevent Suicide

            When believers suffer, they should seek God. God comforts us when we seek HIM.

            There are many testimonies of believers living rather peacefully in horrendously painful situations. Those who live horrendously painful lives testify that they derive their strength to live from Christ.

            The Bible emphasizes that believers can receive God’s mighty power, “Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes.” (Ephesians 6:10-11, NIV; cf. Ephesians 1:18-19; Colossians 1: 10-11).

            Those who commit suicide do not realize that there is an extraordinary power that God has to offer especially to endure these horrendously painful situations. We cannot ignore the fact that the suffering believer could be at fault for not appropriating this incomparable power of God. But we should be cognizant of the constant suffering that is a legitimate reason for the believer’s ignorance of God’s mighty power.

            So, if a believer commits suicide, it would be unwise to attribute the fault of suicide upon the believer or God. If we are eager to ascribe the fault upon someone, then the fault most certainly rests with us and the local church.

            We ought to be cognizant of the needs of people in our domain. The local church, being rich with spiritual gifts, should direct people with suicidal thoughts towards Christ through its constant presence, prayer, support and encouragement.

            We are the agents of suicide prevention. We should be present with those who are in utmost pain. We should selflessly, compassionately and graciously direct those suffering to receive God’s mighty power and comfort. May we know who are suffering in our domain and may we be agents of life, Christ’s power and comfort to those suffering with suicidal tendencies. 

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