Suicide is Painless
through early morning fog I see
visions of the things to be
the pains that are withheld for me
I realize and I can see…
The game of life is hard to play
I’m gonna lose it anyway
The losing card I’ll someday lay
so this is all I have to say.
The sword of time will pierce our skins
It doesn’t hurt when it begins
But as it works its way on in
The pain grows stronger…watch it grin, but…
A brave man once requested me
to answer questions that are key
‘is it to be or not to be’
and I replied ‘oh why ask me?’
and you can do the same thing
if you please.
‘Cause suicide is painless
it brings on many changes
and I can take or leave it if I please.
© Columbia/CBS Johnny Mandel (music) / Mike Altman (lyrics)
Each of us knows someone who has committed suicide or attempted suicide. It is no longer a passing fancy. 30,000 people every year. (2001 data from suicide.org) One person commits suicide or attempts suicide every minute. People choose to end their life early, because of seemingly insufferable physical, mental, emotional, relational, financial or spiritual pain. None of us are immune to the beckoning call to short circuit life’s miseries. Perhaps most recent in the minds, is the suicide of actor Robin Williams. We are not here to debate the efficacy of this final curtain call. We are here to remind Christians of their intrinsic heritage and worth.
II. Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?
Some Christian’s believe that suicide is the unpardonable sin mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew:
“The man who is not on my side is against me, and the man who does not gather with me is really scattering. That is why I tell you that men may be forgiven for every sin and blasphemy, but blasphemy against the Spirit cannot be forgiven. A man may say a word against the Son of Man and be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit cannot be forgiven either in this world or in the world to come!” (Matt 12:30-32 J. B. Phillips)
Everyone has to die once, then face the consequences. 28 Christ’s death was also a one-time event, but it was a sacrifice that took care of sins forever. And so, when he next appears, the outcome for those eager to greet him is, precisely, salvation. (Hebrews 9:27-28 The Message)
Simply, there is NO sin, including suicide that Jesus didn’t die for (past, present or future) that you can name. Taking God’s name in anger? Forgiven. Murder? Forgiven. Prostitution? Forgiven. Suicide? Forgiven. The only sin that cannot be forgiven is rejecting the “Wooing of the Spirit” as Dr. Charles Stanley so aptly puts it. If a person wilfully rejects the message of the Holy Spirit, this is the unpardonable sin. In the end, God grants the individual his desire to be eternally separated from him. “God’s choice is to let man decide their own eternal destiny, because the invitation is given to all.” (Richards, L. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Il. Victor Publications)
Doesn’t the Bible say you shouldn’t kill? There’s a commandment about that. No, the commandment from Exodus says: “You shall not murder. (Exodus 20:13 NIV) Soldiers kill the enemy. Murder is the WILLFULL pre-meditation of taking the life of another.
Further proof, is left as an exercise for the reader to perform.
III. Eternal consequences of Suicide (lose rewards)
Be glad then, yes, be tremendously glad – for your reward in Heaven is magnificent. They persecuted the prophets before your time in exactly the same way. (Matt 5:12 J. B. Phillips)
Anyone who meets a testing challenge head-on and manages to stick it out is mighty fortunate. For such persons loyally in love with God, the reward is life and more life.. (James 1:12 The Message)
You’ve all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You’re after one that’s gold eternally.
I don’t know about you, but I’m running hard for the finish line. I’m giving it everything I’ve got. No sloppy living for me! I’m staying alert and in top condition. I’m not going to get caught napping, telling everyone else all about it and then missing out myself. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 The Message)
The Christian that commits suicide forfeits any rewards God would have bestowed upon them, because they did NOT finish the race. The eternal consequences are unfathomable. Remember our rewards are in Heaven, for the life we lived as the ambassador of Christ.
What about Jesus’ life. Jesus said “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.” (Luke 22:42 NIV) Jesus was obedient to the will of the Father. But what would have been the eternal consequences if Jesus had said: “My life is meaningless. I am going no where. This suffering has no purpose. I’ll take the easy way out and commit suicide.” Stop! Let that sink in for a moment.
What would have been the eternal consequences of suicide? if Jesus had committed suicide, to avoid Cavalry’s cross?
- Mankind would still be lost.
- Mankind would still be in sin.
- Old covenant sacrifices – sin NOT atoned (paid for); it would only be covered.
- No Holy Spirit to guide us.
- No mediator between God and Man.
- No eternal life. (John 3:16)
Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God. (Heb 9:15 The Message)
IV. What gives our life value? (Relationship with the Creator of the Universe)
“Relatively few of us experience the blend of contentment and godly intensity that God desires for each person. From the outset, we find ourselves on the prowl, searching to satisfy some inner, unexplained yearning. Our hunger causes us to search for people who will love us. Our desire for acceptance pressures us to perform for the praise of others. We strive for success, driving our minds and bodies harder and farther, hoping that because of our sweat and sacrifice, others will appreciate us more.
But the man or woman who lives only for the love and attention of others is never satisfied — at least not for long. Despite our efforts, we will never find lasting, fulfilling peace if we have to continually prove ourselves to others. Our desire to be loved and accepted is a symptom of a deeper need — the need that often governs our behaviour and is the primary source of our emotional pain. Often unrecognised, this is our need for self-worth.” (Mc Gee, R. (1992). The Search for Significance Devotional, Houston, Tx. Rapha Publications, page 16)
- “God doesn’t really care about me.
- I am an unlovable, worthless person. Nobody will ever love me.
- I’ll never be able to change.
- I’ve been a failure all my life. I guess I’ll always be a failure.” (op cit. Page 14)
What about suffering? This may be one of the most important values of suffering. If life on earth were a constant joy, why would we fix our hope fully on the grace to be brought to us at Jesus’ return? If life on earth were without difficulty, how would we remain sensitive to our need for God? If life on earth were without trials or persecution, how would we be forced to choose between commitment to Christ, and comfort or ease?
As Peter said, suffering does have value. It reveals the genuineness of our faith, and brings praise to the Lord.” (Richards, L. (1990). The 365 Day Devotional Commentary. Wheaton, Il. Victor Publications, pages 1108-1109)
I am reminded of the true story of my friend Ian. It was the first time I had ever visited Tucson, back in 1996. The last night I was with Ian, I said, “Ian, I want to ask you a very hard question. It is hard for me to even ask this question. You don’t have to answer if you don’t want to.”
“I’ve seen you suffering with this affliction, and there is nothing I or medical science can do to alleviate your condition. You WILL die. Ian, what has stopped you from putting a gun to your head, and ending it all? The words just spilled out of my mouth. I gasped. I thought, “Oh my God, what did I just say to him?”
Without hesitation, Ian said, “Because I know that God will heal me. Either in this life, or the next.” Ian received the ultimate healing a few weeks later. He understood the value of his relationship with God, EVEN through a time of great adversity. He never gave up. He refused to take the easy way out, even though his body was racked with pain.
- The belief that God is NOT omniscient (knows everything).
- God is NOT omnipotent (in control of everything).
- God is NOT omnipresent (God is everywhere).
If a person talks about suicide: take it seriously. If they joke about suicide: take it seriously. Eternity is in the balance.
Many suicidal people I have talked to, feel that they have no value; no self-worth or self esteem. They believe the lie: self-worth = my performance + other people’s opinion.
God is able to offer succour to anyone who trusts in Him. God does NOT bring us to Disneyland in the midst of a trial. God provides just enough shade, a broom tree, so that we can rest and go one more step.
Our performance and others’ opinions will always fluctuate. We need to anchor our beliefs in something far deeper than man’s opinion. Because Jesus didn’t short-circuit God’s will, and died on the cross for you and for me, this is what happens the moment we become a Christian:
- All your sins are forgiven: past, present, and future. (Col 2:13-14).
- You become a child of God (John 1:12, Romans 8:15)
- You receive eternal life (John 5:24).
- You are delivered from Satan’s domain and transferred into the kind of Christ. (Col 1:13)
- Christ comes to dwell with you (Col 1:26; Rev 3:20).
- You become a new creation (2 Cor 5:17)
- You enter into a love relationship with God (1 John 4:9-11)
- You are accepted by God (Col 1:19-22)
(op cit, page 187)
This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. (1 John 4:9-11 The Message)
Let’s personalise scripture. Let’s change John 3:16 to this:
“This is how much God loved [ME]: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that [I should NOT] be destroyed; by believing in him, [I] can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling [ME] how bad [I] was. He came to help, to put [ME] right again. [IF I TRUST] in him [I WILL BE] acquitted; [BUT IF I] refuse to trust him[, I WILL CONTINUE BEING] under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of [MY] failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when [I AM] introduced to him.” (John 3:16-20 The Message)
We have a choice. We can build our self-esteem on our performance and other’s opinions, or begin to reshape our self esteem, based upon Christ’s atoning (payment in full) sacrifice to buy you and me back from “the wages of our sin.” (Rom 6:23)
What does the Bible say about Suicide:
But Paul shouted to him, “Stop! Don’t kill yourself! We are all here!” (Acts 16:28 New Living Translation)
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255