Jesus Did It!
By: Norm Rasmussen
Suicide is Satan's ploy to short circuit everything God desires for you to realize in eternity! The bottom line regarding suicide: Every person thinking about committing suicide fails to understand just how much deceptive influence Satan has been allowed by God ... because God has given us free will ... to have over the human mind.
God has warned humanity a great deal in the New Testament Bible about Satan's deceptive influence. I would strongly encourage you to read the following writing, to gain some better understanding of just how vicious the battle is between good and evil -- the battle for YOUR soul: http://www.precious-testimonies.com/Exhortations/a-e/armor.htm
Here is a valuable, precious link for those who are contemplating taking their life: http://www.behindthebadge.net/suicide/index-3.html
I would also STRONGLY encourage you to read the following insightful writing by Grantley Morris. What he shares I agree with totally.
Pain or depression or strong emotional pressure make it exceptionally difficult to make a decision that we will not end up deeply regretting. An indication of this is found in an amazing discovery regarding failed suicide attempts. Eighty-five percent of people resuscitated after suicide attempts report being glad to be alive. This is staggering. Let’s explore why.
These are people who, shortly before, had so strongly considered life not worth living that they had made a deadly serious attempt to end their lives. Since that moment of deep despair, they had suffered such a devastating physical assault on their bodies that they had actually been clinically dead. After such an ordeal, they would surely feel physically worse than before and besides feeling ill and possibly in pain, many would have a wrecked body or disfiguring scars to add to their woes. Emotionally, they could also be expected to feel worse than when they had decided to kill themselves. If they had felt like failures before, they now had the shame of a failed attempt to add to their list of apparent failures. They could be expected to feel very foolish. Nevertheless, despite these added reasons for despair – things getting worse, not better – such a huge majority were glad that their suicide attempt had failed. Even though their problems had increased, they suddenly saw that they had very nearly made the worst mistake of their lives.
Tragically, few who get so close to death, get a second chance to come to their senses.
You might feel completely alone and abandoned by God, but reality can be very different from how we feel. So intense is God’s personal love that your anguish hurts him. He is so deeply touched by your emotional or physical pain that it becomes his pain.
No matter how unbearable life may currently seem, the God of the impossible, who loves showering people with exquisite surprises, has good things planned for you. Even if you were to die naturally soon, there can be astounding eternal compensations for not supplanting God and wrecking his loving plans by taking things into your own hands.
For some of us, suicide is like a pain so blinding that it blocks out most rational thought. This cruel affliction comes close to (and sometimes probably succeeds in) rendering its victims temporarily insane.
I have a dear friend who sometimes feels driven to suicide. She is a superb mother to her boy. So intense is their loving devotion to each other that it is hard to conceive of a better relationship. And yet when the urge to kill herself overwhelms her, this devoted mother is so unable to think straight that she cannot see that her death would hurt the son who loves and needs her. As people have tragically plummeted to their death because drugs have convinced them that they can fly, my intelligent friend becomes insanely duped into thinking that by killing herself she would be doing everyone a favor. When the cloud lifts and she can again think clearly, she is appalled at what nearly happened.
Suicide can be a delusion so seductive that it can feel like an irresistible compulsion. As powerful and mind numbing as it seems, however, this hideous thug – the ultimate thief, attempting to con us out of absolutely everything – is only bluffing when it gives an aura of irresistibility.
The Almighty has vowed never to permit any temptation – not even a terrifyingly powerful and deluding temptation to commit suicide – that is too strong for a Christian to resist (1 Corinthians 10:13). Nevertheless, I doubt that there is a mature Christian on the planet who has not at some point been satanically fooled into imagining that a certain temptation is irresistible or that the sin is of little consequence. Likewise, some dear, vulnerable people are satanically tricked into thinking they cannot resist the urge to kill themselves.
Some Christians have convinced themselves that they are helplessly enslaved to substance addictions that are a slow form of suicide. Thankfully they have months or maybe even years in which to come to their senses and make the joyful discovery of the liberating power available to them through Christ. In tragic contrast, the catastrophic consequence of actual suicide is instant and irreversible.
Death plunges us not into nothingness but into the endless consequences of how we have treated the precious gift of earthly life that God has entrusted to us. Death is a one way trip to eon after endless eon in which to regret or rejoice in our earthly actions.
When no one seems to care or understand our plight, life feels like a meaningless waste. The staggering reality, however, is that this is the very time when we are most likely to be divinely viewed as spiritual achievers, gain eternal acclaim and multiply our never-ending heavenly reward. Jesus emphasized that it is what we do that no one knows about that wins us eternal reward (e.g. Matthew 6:1-6; Luke 8:17; John 5:44).
I’m not for a moment suggesting that you willfully remain in icy aloneness by keeping your feelings and sufferings secret. Our spiritual enemy is a beast of prey that tries to isolate an individual from the flock in order to devour it. To change the metaphor: everything seems more dreary and scary in the dark. Dark secrets lose their power to haunt us when brought into the light by sharing them with wise Christians. Nevertheless, times when, despite our best attempts at fellowship and wise counsel, no one seems to understand, are our opportunities for spiritual greatness.
Contemplating suicide is a time of stupendous opportunity. Yes, we could slip up – opting for suicide would plunge us into shame – but only when life is tough do we face unique glory by choosing life. To explain, let me quote from what I’ve written elsewhere:
Consider Scott and his team, who struggled to the South Pole only to discover their honor of being the first to reach the Pole was lost forever. Amundsen had beaten them by about a month. To add to the futility, they endured further blizzards, illness, frostbite and starvation only to perish; the last three dying just a few miles from safety. Yet today their miserable defeat ending with death in frozen isolation, witnessed by not a living soul, is hailed as one of the greatest ever epics of human exploration and endurance.
Every fiber of my being is convinced that their glory is just a shadow of what you can achieve. Though you suffer in isolation and apparent futility, with the depths of your trial known to no one on earth, your name could be blazed in heaven’s lights, honored forever by heaven’s throngs for your epic struggle with despair, illness, loneliness, or whatever.
The day is coming when what is endured in secret will be shouted from the housetops. Look at Job: bewildered, maligned, misunderstood; battling not some heroic foe but essentially common things – a financial reversal, bereavement, illness; – not cheered on by screaming fans, just booed by some one-time friends. If even on this crazy planet Job is honored today, I can’t imagine the acclaim awaiting you when all is revealed. Your battle with life’s miseries can be as daring as David’s encounter with Goliath. Don’t worry that others don’t understand this at present. One day they will. And that day will never end.
As astounding as it seems, the times when we teeter on the edge of suicide are the very times when we stand on the brink of spiritual greatness, if we refuse to throw in the towel by choosing the cowardly path of defeat that is suicide.
If you feel suicidal, you deserve an abundance of love, comfort, understanding and encouragement. That’s the role of the links at the end of this page, and if this is what you crave, it might be best to go straight there. This page has a different focus: the question of morality and God’s view of suicide.
As already suggested, strong emotions fog our minds, rendering good decision-making frightfully difficult. And deciding whether to kill oneself is one of the most perplexing, and certainly the most critical, decision anyone can make. When considering the morality of a highly emotive subject we need to keep our heads as cool as we can manage. So although I lament the fact that this webpage might seem clinical, I think it needs to be.
For emotional support rather than a cool-headed, Bible-based examination of this matter, please go to the links at the end of this page.
TEMPTATION PROVES HOW BAD THE TEMPTER IS - NOT HOW BAD WE ARE
As staggering as it seems, the holy Son of God was tempted to worship Satan (Matthew 4:9). So no matter how gross the temptation, the fact that we are tempted does not detract from our Christlikeness. Temptation proves how bad the Tempter is, not how bad we are. Not only was Jesus tempted in every way that we are (Hebrews 4:15), Scripture says all of us suffer the same types of temptation (1 Corinthians 10:13).
The urge to end one’s life comes to the godliest of us. Both Jeremiah and Job wished they had never been born (Jeremiah 20:14-18; Job 3:1-23). Jonah, Elijah, and Moses not only wished they were dead, they asked God – some even pleaded with him – to kill them (Jonah 4:3,8,9; 1 Kings 19:4; Numbers 11:15). So did Job (Job 6:8-9; 14:13). Jesus feels for everyone suffering this devastating oppression. The exalted Son of God knows and understands.
We only have to glimpse Jesus agonizing in the Garden of Gethsemane to know that obeying God can be torturous for a while. Eternally, however, the situation was stunningly different. It was for the joy set before him that Jesus endured the cross (Hebrews 12:2). Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning (Psalms 30:5). By clinging to life, you are destined not for pain or regret but endless joy and fulfillment.
An integral part of this temptation, however, is black feelings of hopelessness and inability to think clearly. The satanic goal is to hinder us from realizing what is actually at stake. A goal of this webpage is therefore to empower you to see the issues clearly. So what follows is not a digression into theory but a plunge into the heart of the matter.
The temptation to commit suicide is like a scalpel that exposes our heart. It cuts to the driving force of our entire lives. Although the Tempter (Satan) tries his hardest to conceal it, the issue is whether we place our faith in the Almighty’s infinite wisdom and selfless love for us, or whether we let ourselves become so deluded as to believe that our own genius and concern for our welfare outstrips that of the glorious Lord of perfection. Is the Almighty a foolish, selfish tyrant, or does he truly want the best for us and have the power to deliver? Will we choose God as our God or will we set ourselves up as our own god?
If God is our God, then life is about the pursuit of our happiness – as the creative Genius, maker of every good thing, defines it. That means having on our side the God for whom nothing is impossible. It means choosing a life free from eternal regret; investing in those things that will fill us with endless joy and fulfillment, no matter what the short-term cost.
Making ourselves god, however, leaves us floundering with our own limited powers and ignorance of the future. At best, we end up with an illusion of short-lived ease that ruins our long-term (eternal) good. Rejecting God’s ability to know what is best is condemning ourselves to a shriveled existence.
Even if we had the stupendous intelligence of God, we could not make an intelligent decision as to when it would be best to end our lives because only the Almighty has all the facts on which to base that decision. He alone knows the future. Only He knows how long our earthly life will be if we entrust this vital decision to Him, and how filled with joy and fulfillment and achievement we will end up, and how a longer life will influence our eternities and the lives and eternities of others.
Every good thing we have ever enjoyed and can ever enjoy comes from our Maker. To reject him and set ourselves up as god is the height of selfishness. We don’t even have to consider this, however, to realize that to make God our God is the smartest thing we could ever do. Is it us or God, who in terms of knowledge, wisdom, ability to meet our deepest needs, and longing to give us the best, deserves to be God of our lives? Do we have infinite knowledge? Can we understand ourselves and our full potential half as much as God understands us? Do we have the power to impart supernatural joy or the knowledge as to when it would be better to withhold it for a while? So it boils down to this question: Is God perfect in love, or can we love ourselves better than God loves us?
WE EITHER SERVE GOD, OR RUIN OUR POTENTIAL FOR GREATNESS BY SERVING SOMETHING LESSER
Genuine love is utter unselfishness. Real love means a total devotion to the happiness of the loved one, no matter how severe the cost is to the lover. Jesus showed us the heart of the Father when he not only sacrificed his pleasure but endured unspeakable agony for our sakes. That is the heart of the Almighty – selfless devotion to your happiness, no matter how much it costs God. The Lord is infinitely more devoted to your long-term happiness than you are. The challenge of Christianity is to make God your God by putting your faith in the integrity of his character and his devotion to you. We cannot serve two masters. We either serve God, or ruin our potential for greatness by serving something lesser. We decide either that God has our best interests at heart or that we are smarter and more loving towards ourselves than the One who made us and sacrificed his all for us.
If God is unloving and you can think more clearly than God and can see your future better than him, then by all means ignore the fact that you owe him everything and set yourself up as god. Then you can pretend your life is really yours. Then you can kill yourself the moment you meet your first challenge. But at least have the sense to see that this involves spurning God’s love and trashing his infinite knowledge. It involves rejecting him as your God, since being a Christian means acknowledging that your life is not your own to take, both because God made you and because Christ paid the ransom to reclaim your life from the Evil One’s clutches.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 . . . You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.
Or, in the brutal words of the One who loves us tenderly:
Luke 9:23 Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”
You either belong to God, in which case he will look after you for all eternity, or you decide to take your destiny into your own hands, which gives God no alternative but to leave you to your own devices for all eternity. If your life is not your own then you have no more right to murder yourself than you have to murder anyone else.
Is it really so hard to trust the One who upholds the universe – the God who gives all to all, and gave his all for us?
To become champions, athletes must endure pain and tough training sessions. In any field of temporary value, it is by sacrificing ease and comfort, and embracing hard work and tough assignments that people become great achievers. Likewise, for the glory of achievement that lasts forever, it is only by embracing hard times that we can reach our full potential and eternal acclaim.
Just as Jesus’ greatest glory was the suffering he voluntarily endured, so it is with us. To outsiders your suffering might seem inescapable, but the possibility of suicide renders what you endure voluntary and so makes your endurance praiseworthy, both now and forever.
God wants his loved ones to excel – not just so that he can be thrilled with us, but for our sake. He longs for us to exult in an eternity free from regret; basking in the glory and fulfillment of having overcome the odds and achieved the highest.
If earthly life were meant to be a picnic, we would have much to complain about. In passage after passage, the Bible indicates that at least sometimes in our earthly lives we can expect life to be almost unbearable. In the words of the apostle Paul, ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men’ (1 Corinthians 15:19). For our short stay on this planet, we live in a war zone – on what is probably the most significant spiritual battlefront in the entire universe. We live in the deadly clash between good and evil, where not just lives, but the eternities of billions hang in the balance. We either battle the fiercest and most evil and underhanded enemy the universe has ever seen, or we ourselves become enemies of God, enslaved by evil and doomed to eternal defeat and ruin.
One of the things making life so exciting and meaningful is that the stakes are so high, and part of what makes life such an adventure is that the path to greatness is strewn with booby traps and deception.
NO MATTER HOW INSIGNIFICANT YOU ARE TEMPTED TO FEEL, YOU HAVE A VITAL ROLE TO PLAY IN THIS SPIRITUAL BATTLE IN THE PIVOTAL POINT OF ALL HISTORY
You are a champion in the making. You are intended to have the resolve of a warrior; willing to endure the worst horrors as you fight for the greatest cause there has ever been. No matter how insignificant you are tempted to feel, you have a vital role to play in this spiritual battle in the pivotal point of all history.
God has staked his reputation, and his Son’s life, on his commitment to turn everything touching your life into something beautiful. If you stay with God on life’s roller coaster you are hurtling towards everlasting joy. No matter how frighteningly out of control the ride seems, nor how certain you feel that it could only end in agony, you are safe. Like any speeding roller coaster, however, terrifying disaster is certain should you bail out before the divinely planned end of the ride. The scarier the ride, the more vital it is that you don’t bail out.
Scripture insists that real life has nothing to do with ease or short-term happiness. The easy way, declared Jesus, leads to destruction (Matthew 7:13-14). The Christian life is so challenging in the short term that Jesus warned us to count the cost before deciding to follow him. The way some modern Bible teachers present the gospel you would think the Christian life is so painless that there is no cost to count. Jesus’ promise was that if the innocent Son of God suffered hate, slander and physical torment, we can expect no less (Matthew 10:22-25; John 15:19-20). Peter mentions being physically tortured and goes on to say, ‘But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God.’ Remembering that he is talking about severe bodily suffering, burn his next words into your brain: ‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps' (1 Peter 2:20-21). Later he writes, ‘Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude . . .’ (1 Peter 4:1).
Having discovered that obvious physical persecution can be counterproductive and actually strengthen the church, Satan’s hate-crazed ghouls often favor mental oppression to neutralize Christians. Regardless of tactics, however, the forces of evil are as determined today as they ever were in biblical times to torment their enemies and take out faithful Christians.
It is because, at least at some point, life is so horrific for the typical Christian, that Revelation is peppered with such Scriptures as:
Revelation 2:10: Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution . . . Be faithful, even to the point of death
Revelation 14:12: This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God’s commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Revelation 13:10: If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.
Then, near the climax of the book, Revelation lists those who end up in hell. Note who tops the list:
Revelation 21:8: But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars – their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.
The cowardly are those who do not heed Revelation’s plea to persevere when faced with severe suffering. Rather than stay faithful to the call of God on their lives, the cowardly avoid pain or terrifying situations. Tragically, these are the ones who end up in hell, along with murderers, perverts and so on. All of them could have let Christ sweep them to heroism, had they held on that little bit longer.
Countless thousands who have ended up grateful to be alive, owe their lives to the fear that no matter how torturous earthly suffering can be, it is only temporary, whereas hell’s torment never ends. As vast as this eternally grateful throng is, it is eclipsed in size many times over by the enormous number of people who have benefited from the extended lives of those who through this motivation resisted suicidal urges. So whether they realize it or not, all of humanity owes an incalculable debt to the belief that willful death is not an escape, but a terrifying trap from which there is no escape. Nevertheless, we have noted that what motivated Jesus and New Testament Christians was not fear of endlessly suffering even more torment, but love (for God and people) and the certainty of future joy for those who endure. In the long-term, life is thrilling and fulfilling.
SCRIPTURE AND MANY OTHERS AFFIRM THAT NOT ONLY WILL WE BE COMPENSATED FOR OUR PAIN - IT IS THE VERY PAIN THAT BRINGS US ETERNAL GLORY ... IF ONLY WE HOLD ON
Despite in the same letter reeling off an appallingly long list of his own off-the-pain-scale traumas and tortures, Paul declared, ‘For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.’ (2 Corinthians 4:17). Like a speck of pepper in an endless banquet, life’s agonies will be swallowed up by eternal joy – for those with the courage and wisdom to cling to Christ all the way. Moreover, that Scripture and many others affirm that not only will we be compensated for our pain, it is the very pain that brings us eternal glory, if only we hold on.
Even when it seems like a horror story, life has a fairy tale ending in which the victorious get to live happily ever after. But let’s not confuse the short-term with the long-term. The never-ending reward is not despite our hardships but in proportion to our hardships. This is why Jesus said blessed are the poor, the mourning, the persecuted, and so on. Those who hold on despite the gloom will reach the pure joy of the other side. Moreover, they will be ecstatically grateful for all eternity for the unique rewards their every hardship bought. Like mountain climbers, war heroes and inspirational achievers who overcome severe disabilities, the very hardship is the source of their glory.
Paul and Barnabas devoted themselves to ‘strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.’ How? By declaring that, ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God’ (Acts 14:22). This is the inspired summary of their entire message.
‘In this world you will have trouble,’ promised Jesus (John 16:33). ‘Dear friends,’ wrote Peter, ‘do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering, as though something strange were happening to you (1 Peter 4:12). The tragedy is that we have so slipped from biblical Christianity that Christians in the western world are indeed surprised when hard times start. The early Christians had it drummed into them by Jesus and then by all the apostles, that severe suffering is an integral part of the normal Christian life. They understood that suffering is an inevitable consequence of following our suffering Savior. We, in contrast, are caught unprepared when tragedies strike and instead of thinking, Yes, this is exactly what God promised in his Word, we feel abandoned by God, having wrongly supposed modern preachers to be expounding God’s Word when they promise a life of ease prior to receiving our eternal reward.
Scripture tells us to rejoice when severe testing hits because that is our moment of glory. When things seem unbearable it is our opportunity to display our love for the Lord and manifest all the character traits he has built into our lives. It is our chance to win never-ending honor and glorify the One who gave his all for us. It is also our opportunity to experience miracles.
The Bible is filled with the miraculous, but healing miracles only came to those who were sick, and miracles of deliverance only to those in desperate situations. With us is the God who ordained that every night ends in sunrise and the dawning of a new day. He is the One who turns our mourning into dancing and our despair into delight. He loves showering us with blessings. Delays in those blessings, however, give us even greater blessings because having to hold on in faith when it seems God will never respond, builds into our lives faith more precious than gold (1 Peter 1:7). So to give us the best of both, God delights in giving us glorious surprises at times when they seem least likely. Furthermore, oppressive situations are our opportunity to receive the comfort of the Lord, which has the added bonus of empowering us to minister to others.
2 Corinthians 1:3-5: Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God. For just as the sufferings of Christ flow over into our lives, so also through Christ our comfort overflows.
The Bible is emphatic that living by faith is what makes a person a Christian. An airline pilot is not worthy of the name until he has proved he can fly by faith in his instruments when fog or darkness renders him unable to see beyond his cockpit. Likewise, your opportunity to prove yourself worthy of Christ’s name comes when dark thoughts or gloom render you incapable of continuing, except by faith in your Lord.
Moreover, if life seems to offer nothing but agony and you refuse suicide just because you do not want to offend God, then simply by choosing to live, you are joining the ranks of God’s heroes. The source of your pain or despair might be non-spiritual, or you might even be suffering the consequences of past sins. That makes no difference. If the only thing keeping you alive – and hence keeping you exposed to more earthly pain – is your commitment to Jesus, then when you suffer, you are suffering for Jesus’ sake as surely as the great apostle Paul was suffering for Jesus when Christ-hating thugs were flaying his back to shreds.
DON'T DOWNPLAY THIS TRUTH
Please don’t downplay this truth. None of us can think clearly when reeling in pain or despair, but do your best to think it through: if the only thing keeping you from killing yourself is your resolve to be true to Jesus, then every trace of pain you suffer while you remain alive is as much for Jesus’ sake as the suffering of any Christian martyr. You will probably not be acclaimed on earth, but you’ll be honored by heaven for all eternity.
This truth seems unbelievable to anyone harassed by feelings of insignificance and hopelessness. It also seems unbelievable because we live in a world that is vastly different to the next one. Jesus pronounced that in the life to come there will be astounding reversals to people’s status, because God’s values are so different to those of this world. People exalted in this world – and even many exalted in the church – will be brought low, and many of those despised and overlooked and forgotten down here will be raised high.
To suffer for the One who suffered for us is not only heroic and the height of love, it is the greatest privilege. This again is almost impossible to grasp without a spiritual revelation. I’ve had glimpses of it (explained in a link below) and the early Christians certainly had this revelation. While still bleeding from their flogging, they rejoiced that they were counted worthy to suffer for their Lord (Acts 5:40-41).
We know that Jesus could have prevented his death by calling upon angelic intervention, rather like a martyr might have the option of avoiding death by denying his Lord.
Jesus’ death was obviously unique. No other death could atone for the sins of the world. In fact, Scripture indicates that any other human sacrifice is an abomination to God. And Jesus’ sacrifice had to be a willing sacrifice or it would have been ineffective in removing our sin.
Jesus explains his unique position when, speaking of his life, he said, ‘I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father’ (John 10:18).
For him to have avoided death would have been to act in rebellion against God. The spiritual fate of the entire world depended on it. Nevertheless, Jesus did not take his own life. Even though suicide would have been a very tempting way of avoiding the torture he suffered, he refused to spare his agony by killing himself.
In a book that records rape, murder, incest and almost every other despicable act known to humanity, it would be extraordinary if suicide were omitted. Every biblical instance I have found, however, is of people who, like Judas, had gone disturbingly off the rails spiritually. We know that Judas, by the way, was grossly mistaken in gambling that death would be better for him than living. Instead of ending his miseries, suicide must have plunged Judas into something far worse. We know this because Jesus said it would have been better for Judas never to have been born (Mark 14:21). Jesus surely was referring to what the betrayer would face after death because Scripture gives no hint that Judas’s earthly suffering was so great as to exceed the sum total of his better times.
In many of the few cases of taking one’s own life that Scripture mentions, it was by people like Abimelech, who were already so close to death that they shortened their lives by just a few moments.
Judges 9:52-56 Abimelech went to the tower and stormed it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’” So his servant ran him through, and he died. . . . Thus God repaid the wickedness that Abimelech had done to his father by murdering his seventy brothers. (Emphasis mine)
He’s not quite the ideal role model.
Another man who hastened his death while dying on the battlefield was King Saul, the demonized (1 Samuel 16:14) loser who was continually trying to kill David – his son’s best friend, God’s chosen king and ancestor of the Messiah. Just before his death, in defiance of God – who wouldn’t speak to him – Saul consulted a medium. He knew this to be a practice so anti-God that he himself had banished mediums from the land.
2 Samuel 1:6-9,14-16 “I happened to be on Mount Gilboa,” the young man said, “and there was Saul, leaning on his spear, with the chariots and riders almost upon him. When he turned around and saw me, he called out to me, and I said, ‘What can I do?’ . . . “Then he said to me, ‘Stand over me and kill me! I am in the throes of death, but I’m still alive.’ “So I stood over him and killed him, because I knew that after he had fallen he could not survive. . . .” David asked him, “Why were you not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” Then David called one of his men and said, “Go, strike him down!” So he struck him down, and he died. For David had said to him, “Your blood be on your own head. Your own mouth testified against you when you said, ‘I killed the LORD’s anointed.’”
This man’s motive might have been to spare a dying man pain in response to the man’s own pleading, but to David it was akin to murder and warranted the death penalty. Like Saul, all Christians are anointed by God.
Interestingly, the way Saul died was typical of the way he had lived. You may recall that he lost favor with God by taking matters into his own hands because he considered God’s timing too slow, when the difference was only minutes anyhow. Saul was waiting for Samuel to make an offering to the Lord, but Samuel was taking longer than Saul thought he could wait. So in his panic, Saul assumed a responsibility that belonged only to those to whom God gave it. Just as he was finishing, Samuel arrived.
1 Samuel 13:13-14 “You acted foolishly,” Samuel said. “You have not kept the command the LORD your God gave you; if you had, he would have established your kingdom over Israel for all time. But now your kingdom will not endure; the LORD has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him leader of his people, because you have not kept the LORD’s command.”
How different Saul’s future would have been, had he only left the matter in God’s hands a few moments longer.
Confessions of a Suicidal Missionary
Suicidal thoughts often hound a missionary in Latin America. She has been diagnosed bipolar (manic-depressive). For any of us, she believes, the temptation to commit suicide is as much of the devil as Jesus’ temptation to hurl himself over the temple precipice (Luke 4:9). Even though the thought, like a home invader, breaks into her mind, she is convinced that allowing the intruder to remain there, unchallenged, is as wrong as entertaining anti-God thoughts. She writes:
It’s been estimated that up to 20% of people with bipolar ‘successfully’ commit suicide. That’s an incredibly high number. But that means that 80% don’t.
I believe that the initial fleeting thoughts of suicide can easily occur as a part of mental illness. It’s very difficult to resist the almost tantalizing pull that the idea of ‘escape’ offers. But these thoughts aren’t from God. Even though we’re not to blame for the thought entering our minds, the temptation to commit suicide is from hell. To entertain it, to mull over it, to allow myself to indulge in the idea that ‘I don’t have to live anymore’ is, quite simply, sin.
So if the initial thought isn’t my fault, what in the world can I do about it? Many times I can’t stop the illness from plunging me into depression, but I can choose what kinds of things I do in response to that depression.
I can choose to stay away from fatalistic readings. I can choose not to allow myself to think of ‘tying up loose ends,’ not to research methods, and not to do all the other things that people who are about to die have to take care of. I can talk to, or e-mail, a friend. I can pick up the phone and call my doctor. I can choose to remember the promises I’ve made as a safeguard against suicide.
In short, I can choose behavior that I know leads to life and hope instead of sliding down the easy slope of fatalism, cynicism, and despair.
Is Suicide the Ultimate Sin?
My heart breaks for anyone so distressed that suicide seems attractive. This compassion fogs my own mind, almost as much as pain fogs the mind of someone contemplating suicide. I long to offer a million excuses for the person who commits suicide. I am painfully aware that had I been in that person’s shoes I might have been not a fraction braver. In predicting how I would cope with a crisis, I am no smarter than Peter who mistakenly insisted he would never deny his Lord.
Splattered through my life have been so many days that it might total years in which I have daydreamed about how preferable it would be to cease to exist. But unless I put my sympathy on hold, how can I hope to help anyone considering suicide who wants to see clearly what is at stake? So if anything I say sounds cold or harsh, please understand that I have other pages (listed below) that seek to offer comfort. This page, however, is my attempt to serve hurting people by helping them pierce the swirling mental haze that accompanies suicidal thoughts and so see moral issues more clearly.
The enemy of our souls, although deluded by pride, is a ruthlessly cunning, mind-bogglingly intelligent, master of psychological warfare. He cannot lessen God’s love for us, nor weaken a single promise of God. Nevertheless, this despicable swindler will employ all his deceptive genius to try to fool us into losing sight of our glorious future and our Lord’s loving goodness. Satan is the originator of the baited trap. He makes the hideous seem beautiful, the recklessly dangerous seem safe, the foolish seem wise, and good seem evil. His deception focuses on the following areas:
1. The lie that your trial is unbearable.
God has promised that as you put your trust in Jesus, you will always be able to overcome (1 Corinthians 10:13). No matter how bleak a picture the Deceiver paints, exciting things are ahead for everyone who refuses to surrender to the Evil One’s lies.
It should come as no surprise that the forces of darkness lusting after our eternal destinies use black depression as one of their favorite weapons of mass deception. We cannot always choose which feelings will wash over us, but what we decide to believe is always our choice.
2. The lie that you are alone in this trial.
Our Savior has faced all temptation and overcome. Millions have placed their faith in him and proved that he is stronger than any temptation. Even when Christians become so dejected that they no longer think they are part of the body of Christ – God’s family throughout the world – they still belong (1 Corinthians 12:15-16). And if one part of that body suffers, all suffer (1 Corinthians 12:26). Far more people than you imagine, would care about what you are going through, and long to support you, if you told them. More significantly, God understands. Your secret pain is like a knife in God’s own heart. He weeps for you and longs to be with you every second of every day.
3. The lie that the sin is so inconsequential that you might as well do it.
This third deception has been the primary focus of this webpage. As I seek to remove the Deceiver’s sugar coating to reveal the true nature of the sin, please do not take what I say as an attack on anyone battling suicide. If suicidal thoughts have been coming your way, the fact that you are still alive is most likely a significant triumph on your part and as you take to heart the truths I share, you are headed for greater victories still.
There is a real sense in which suicide is the ultimate rebellion against God. It is not only refusing to obey God on one important issue, it is knowingly putting ourselves in a position where we will deny God our service and obedience on every single issue every moment of every day for the rest of the life we would have had.
But we don’t have to take that cowardly, anti-God path. We can entrust our earthly lives – and hence our spiritual destinies – into the care of the One who suffered unspeakable agonies to ensure we make it. By this trust we move from what would have been endless regret to incomprehensible reward that compensates us so disproportionately that we will forever rejoice over our trials.
4. The lie that the enduring the trial is pointless.
To glimpse reality through the thick smog of despair is beyond the power of human eyes. Reality is spectacularly different to what the suicidal person thinks he sees. It does not matter how pointless life seems, if it is because of Jesus that you choose to endure the apparent futility, then even if you do nothing but stay alive it means you are suffering for Jesus. That will pay dividends for all eternity.
If sacrificially saving for a down payment on a mansion, or grueling training for Olympic gold, or studying hard for a law degree, is investing in your future honor or prosperity and temporary happiness, pain endured now by resisting the urge to kill yourself is investing in your never-ending reward. Regardless of what it initially feels like, nothing is more meaningful or important than investing in your eternal fulfillment.
Trials do us so much good that they are irreplaceable; building within us things of eternal worth that nothing else could achieve.
Evil, Christ-hating powers feature heavily in trials, and yet the final word belongs to the Almighty, whose glory is to secretly manipulate vile forces that rage against both him and his loved ones. In his divine genius, the One who gave his all for us, turns his hate-crazed enemies into unwitting agents of righteousness that further God’s longing to bless us with Christlikeness.
Suicidal thoughts truly are our invitation to greatness.
When One’s Heart Feels Like a Pit of Despair A young man’s triumph in the midst of agony
When Things Get Tough: Nothing to Live For A comforting, uplifting series of pages. Follow the links
Deliverance from Sleep Paralysis How one man’s fantasies of suicide opened him to demonic attack
Life’s Mysteries Explained Understanding God’s ways
Insights into Suffering The unexpected joy of suffering for Christ
God Isn’t Fair? How could God be fair when some people get a raw deal?
Spiritual Secrets Dying to self is more exciting than we could ever dream
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THE TRAGIC LIE OF SUICIDE