Sunday, April 10, 2022

Suicide is a Very Complicated Issue

By Kevin Rutherford


    Suicide is a very complicated issue. It is one that we cannot be flippant about and careless with. This is a discussion that should always be accompanied by caution, compassion, and care. If anyone reading this article has come to such a condition that you have had thoughts of suicide, please seek professional and spiritual help. You are important.

    It is likely that in many cases the one who commits suicide is not capable of thinking in a rational manner. Perhaps a chemical imbalance or some other clinical factor is involve, creating extreme depression and an inability to think correctly. There are situations where clinical treatment can help an individual suffering from imbalances of chemicals in the brain, and as long as the individuals are receiving treatment the condition is kept under control. In some cases there have been people who have stopped receiving the treatment and have then committed suicide because they were not able to think correctly without the medicine. In such cases I would not suggest in any way the individual is lost eternally because of the act of suicide.

    There may at times be spiritual problems that lead to thoughts of suicide, but we must not assume that is always the case. Some Christians who have appeared to be very strong spiritually have considered, attempted, or committed suicide. So let me say again, suicide is a very complicated issue. It is one that we cannot be flippant about or careless with. Any discussion of suicide should be accompanied by caution, compassion, and care. In fact, we need to steer clear of broad sweeping statements that would declare every suicide an evil and sinful act.

     Consider compassion for those whose level of depression, discouragement, and despair have brought them to the point of wanting to take their own lives.

    Taking one’s own life results in extreme torment and misery for years to come for family and friends. Those considering suicide should consider the effect of this action upon others, should consider the effect of this action upon others, should consider the God given value of their lives, and should not be ashamed to seek professional help.

    Job suffered immensely. His children had been killed, he lost his wealth, and he suffered from a painful disease (Job 1-2). In fact, he suffered so much he wished he had been still born (Job 3:11-19). He desperately hoped he would die and longed for death as though death were a treasure (Job 3:20-26). His wife shared in all of the suffering except the painful disease. She encouraged Job to just go ahead and curse God and die (Job 2:7-10). She was either encouraging him to just give up on life and perhaps die that way, or she was encouraging him to commit suicide. Despite the intense suffering Job endured, he did not commit suicide. That was not the answer. That was not the right approach. Job became desperately miserable and upset as he demanded God to tell him why he was suffering. Yet, he did not turn to suicide.

    Elijah suffered immensely. He lived in a very violent and dangerous time (1 Kings 18-19). Many prophets of God, like himself, had been killed by the orders of Ahab and Jezebel. After Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal, Jezebel promised she would kill him. Elijah’s situation became so discouraging to him that he asked God to just go ahead and kill him (1 Kings 19:4). In other words, Elijah thought death may be better than having to live the way he was living. Yet Elijah did not commit suicide, and God wouldn’t take his life either.

    At one point Moses was so overwhelmed by the intense pressure and load of leading a stubborn and rebellious nation that he just wanted to die (Numbers 11:11-15). He thought death would be better than the situation he was suffering through. He asked God to kill him. Despite all of this Moses did not commit suicide.

    Job, Elijah, and Moses are all examples of righteous people who wanted to die. They wanted God to end it for them. In all three cases God left them to suffer here on this earth for a time. In none of these cases did these suffering servants of God who desperately longed for death commit suicide.

     Having said, this, if any of you reading this have considered, or are considering suicide, please seek help. God loves, you are important, and your life is important. Don’t throw away the gift of life God has given you. You are a steward over your life and you have been created to use that life in service of God. If you ever doubt your importance to God, please remember the lengths to which He has gone so that you can spend an eternity in heaven with Him someday. The suffering Jesus endured as He took the wrath and death we deserve is great evidence of your tremendous value. It is also evidence that He understands tremendous grief and pain. Don’t give up. Please seek help.

- Kevin V. Rutherford preaches for the Warners Chapel church of Christ in Clemmons, NC. He may be contacted through the congregation's website:

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