Suicide is "the act or instance of taking one's own life voluntarily and intentionally especially by a person of years of discretion and of sound mind" (Webster's Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary, p. 1180).
Our concern in this current article is to address suicide and to attempt to demonstrate why it should not be the pathway for a man or woman to take.
Mentioned In The Bible The term "suicide" is not included within the text of our standard version Bibles. However, actions which our society would label "suicides" are set before us within the pages of the Bible in the following cases:
King Saul and his armorbearer (I Samuel 31:4-5);
Ahithophel (a counsellor or advisor to the rebellious son of David, Absalom) (2 Samuel 17:23);
Zimri, one of the wicked kings of Israel (I Kings 16:18-20);
Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Jesus (Matthew 27:5). Some have placed also Samson (of Judges 16:4-31);
and the Philippian jailer (of Acts 16) in the list.
Aside from Samson's death, none of those set before us in the Bible associates any glory or honor to one who chose to follow this course of action. Samson's case appears very unique among those listed because he was able to abolish a lot of the enemies of God's people through his death, and furthermore because he prayed for one last surge of strength to be able to work this feat.
Paul's plea to the Philippian jailer "do thyself no harm" gives us better insight into how God views such a consideration.
B. Suicide Is Not The Answer
One writer stated: "Suicide is trading one set of bad circumstances for another, even worse set of circumstances" (Jeffrey L. Smith, sermon outline). In the balance of this article, we want to suggest some thoughts that we hope will reinforce your value for life, and your desire for living. Please weigh them very carefully and prayerfully.
1. Life Isn't Worth Living
Life is a special gift of God, a stewardship, a privilege. Think for a moment about how much most people are prepared to spend in seeking medical help to extend their life. Doesn't that demonstrate that there must be something to life that is worth having or keeping?
Man was created in God's image (Genesis 1:26-27). Often this thought occurs because we are bringing too much into this present day. Jesus taught us to live one day at a time, we are not to carry yesterday's burdens into today, nor are we to borrow trouble from tomorrow (Matthew 6:34). If you focus only on today, and take one small step at a time, the challenge will not seem so overwhelming.
2. Nobody Cares!
Never, never forget that God cares, that Christ cares, that others care. Far more people care for you than you might ever imagine. Don't deprive them of an opportunity to help or to show that they care. Open up, and let them know of your concern and your fears.
3. There's just no way out of these problems
Most problems have a solution, but we have to look for it. Sometimes, in frustration, we foolishly think that there is no solution. What we need is some input from someone else, a more objective consideration of our situation. We might cite the Philippian jailer in this regard. He believed that his prisoners had escaped and that he would die at the hand of the Roman officials, and so was ready to end his life. Paul stopped his actions and stilled his hand. What he found through listening to Paul's teaching was a new approach to life and living.
4. They Hurt Me, I'll Show Them Vengeance is a fearful thing. Suicides don't usually hurt those that the victim thought they would hurt. Instead, they tend to hurt and harm innocent people, those who loved and cared deeply for the one who took such action. The Bible teaches that "vengeance" belongs to the Lord (Romans 12:19). God will one day set the matter right, you must have trust and confidence in that. Sometimes, we have imagined much more hurt or harm than has actually taken place. Instead of accepting that as part of the luggage of life, we harbor it in our minds and hearts and like a burning ember (hot coal) it burns deeper and deeper. Those who have treated us wrongfully, or who have hurt us deeply will be moved to do something about it if we are not removed from the scene.
5. This Will End All Of My Problems
That is a false concept. Debts that have seemed insurmountable to you will now fall on your heirs and dependents, you have added to their stress and strain. But, aside from those physical things, there is something greater that must be considered. The Bible teaches that after death comes judgment (Hebrews 9:27). What will we say to God?
6. I'm Afraid To Face Tomorrow
Tomorrow is just another day. So many of our problems and concerns center on things that really don't happen anyway. No one knows what tomorrow may hold (with the exception of God) but we do know that we will handle whatever comes then. Borrowing problems, fretting and stewing are robbing me of the joy of today. I have the beauty of the world around me, the warmth of the sunshine, the freshness of the air after the storm passes, the friendly smiles and helping hands of today to comfort, strengthen and encourage me. Let me see them and rejoice in them.
7. I Can't Go on In Life Alone!
You don't have to. One of the greatest blessings that any of us has is directly related to the coming of Jesus Christ to this earth. He came to demonstrate the manner of life that would please the Father (Matthew 3:17; 17:5). He came to call the hurting, the searching, the suffering, the sin laden, the lost to a greater, better, richer, fuller life (Luke 19:10). He offered (and offers today) to help bear our burdens, carry our load (Matthew 11:29-31). With his help you can face the problems of today, and have solutions for tomorrow. He has not promised to remove every challenge, or every difficulty, but He will help you cope with them, and provide you with blessings that will sustain you and keep you.
C. The Blessings Of Christ Can Be Yours
Think of the blessings that are directly related to Christ.
a) A right relationship with God. You will become His child, part of His family (Galatians 3:26-27).
b) Your sins can be forgiven if you believe in Jesus (John 8:24); repent of your sins (Luke 13:3) and are baptized into Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38).
c) You have the promise of eternal life through Him at the end of a life of faithfulness (Titus 1:2; 2 Timothy 4:6-8; Revelation 2:10).
d) You have access to God's throne through prayer (Hebrews 4:15-16).
e) You have Christ as your mediator (pleading your case before God) (I Timothy 2:5).
f) You also have fellow Christians who will pray for you (Acts 8:24); be concerned about you (Galatians 6:1) and help bear your burdens (Galatians 6:2).
Could we help you find that peace, that comfort, and that strength through Christ? Christ holds the answer to life's uncertain ways, the strength in time of need, the assurance when a kind word would be appreciated, a guide to direct our footsteps and a promise that is greater than all our sin, our despair or our discouragement. Let us help you find that through Christ. Contact us today.
By Brian V. Sullivan
Return to the General Articles page
Home / Bible studies / Bible Survey / Special Studies / General Articles / Non-Bible Articles / Sermons / Sermon Outlines / Links / Questions and Answers / What Saith The Scriptures /Daily Devotional / Correspondence Courses / What is the Church of Christ / Book: Christian Growth / Website Policy / E-mail / About Me /