suicide and Jesus’ story

I don’t know how many suicides there have been in Chamberlain or Brule and Lyman counties in 2023, but the Department of Health says there’s been 192 in the whole state of South Dakota last year, and 202 the year before. Some people contemplate suicide, others grieve the suicide of a loved one. I don’t know anyone who has committed suicide, but I know people whose loved ones have. I can tell you what the Bible says. I know we weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15) and we weep together. Christians are not immune from weeping.

Suicide is complicated. Ask six people, “Why?” and you’ll get seven answers. It involves pain, suffering, sadness, and depression. It’s about relationships, alienation, and loneliness. Maybe there are biological causes and drug-related issues. It has to do with the issues of life, and life is hard; you know this if you’ve been alive for any amount of time. Christian counselor Jay Adams said if you could narrow it down to one thing, the one answer to, “Why?”: no hope.

From the Bible’s perspective, God’s perspective, we have hope. Life in Christ is hopeful. It’s true that suicide affects both believers and nonbelievers, even believers and followers of Christ struggle and commit suicide. But there is hope. You don’t have to. The Bible is pro-life and life-affirming. Every human life is made in the image of God (Genesis 1:26-27) and every life is valuable; your life has value. God is the creator and giver of life, “For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them (Psalm 139:13-16).” Have hope. Choose life.

Suffering is real and hard, though. Job, Paul, Moses, Elijah, Jonah, Solomon, and others all suffered and wanted to die. They hated life, despaired of life, yearned for death, but they hung in there. Suicide is not the proper choice. It is sin, and although God forgives sin, we do not commit sin to receive more grace. Let me be clear: suicide is a sin BUT NOT the unforgivable sin. All sin – past, present, and future – is forgiven, through faith in the death and resurrection of Christ. There is therefore now NO condemnation for those in Christ. But suicide is not the answer to your problems.

If you are thinking of suicide today, stop. There is help and hope in Christ. We focus on a future grace to get through the hardships of today. Christ is a sure and steady anchor when the winds of today blow hard. I encourage you to pray, come to church, read your Bible, get with people who can love you and listen to you through hard times. If you are grieving a suicide, there is a lot of confusion, anger, guilt, and fear. Many questions are unaswerable. We face these times in faith, with faith, through faith, and by faith. There are people who will stand by you and weep with you.

Our culture celebrates death. Why is suicide so awful, but assisted suicide, euthanasia, and abortion are celebrated and encouraged? I tell you a better story: God celebrates life, glory, and beauty, and He values every human life. Your life. Our lives are broken because of sin, but God sent His son to save, restore, and make new. Believe and follow Him today. Be born again. He gives hope. I invite you to be part of His story. He is the remedy to the problem of suicide.