Sunday, January 10, 2016
This morning a friend asked me to address suicide and my thoughts on this topic.
It's a very personal topic for me.
My niece took her life several years ago and the thoughts of her are still near to all of us. Suicide leaves questions for those have chosen it and for us left behind.
Why did they do it? Was their life that bad? How could they leave us like that? And for us left behind, will the pain ever diminish?
As one author described it "suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem." If only they had asked for help, if only they had waited till morning, if only.....but all we have are unanswered questions that leave us empty and hurting.
And, in the area of faith and eternity these questions arise,
Is suicide a sin?
Can someone who commits suicide be forgiven?
Many have written that this is an unforgivable sin because we don't have an opportunity to repent of it. It's a final choice, taking our lives into our own hands, leaving us no opportunity to repent.
One wrote that this situation leaves the person without forgiveness...doomed.
But let me address this topic in light of what Jesus did on the cross.
(Let me make clear that I'm speaking in reference to a Christian who would take their life. If we are speaking of a person who hasn't trusted Christ we have a completely different discussion to work on.)
Here are a series of questions that will help us get to some basic answers, are you ready? (If you want all the scripture references do ask, but I'm leaving them out for the sake of brevity.)
1. When Jesus died on the cross how many of our sins did he die for? If you know the bible the answer has to be "all of them". (Do you remember his last words? "It is finished." The total price was paid....it's called "grace".)
Hebrews tells us Christ died "once for all." (7:27, 10:10, 12, 14) What that means is that he made one sacrifice for all men, for all time, for all sins.
2. Now, if he died for all sins, when he died how many of your sins were still future? If you're thinking, you have to respond, "all of them!"
3. So, when you trusted him as savior how many of your sins did he forgive? You can see where I'm going, can't you? Again, you will have to reply, "all of them!"
I'm sure you are asking what does this have to do with suicide? But be patient, we will get there....you can't deal with such a difficult issue so easily.
One person wrote that when you commit suicide you don't have a chance to repent and they are right, but based on what I have asked you already, what does repentance have to do with forgiveness?
Did you understand the implications of what I just asked? IF you have trusted Christ then all your sins, past, present and future are forgiven already. All of them! Even my last choice of taking my own life.
Some will quote 1 John 1:9 in this discussion. I've heard it many times as a response to grace, but read this verse in context and you will see it's a once for all verse- "he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from ALL unrighteousness."
1 John 1:9 fits perfectly with what we have discussed already.
Repentance is important, but it's a response to forgiveness, not a way of getting it. Forgiveness was done at the moment you trusted Christ. Repentance is the right response on my part to sin and deals with my relationship with God, not my forgiveness.
Am I giving approval to those thinking about suicide? Not at all!
It's a sad, terrible, painful choice that scars those left behind....but for the one who has chosen, in that dark moment, to take their own life and not trust God with the days ahead, they will still find themselves with the Lord, forgiven of sin, regretting their final choice to not trust God with the situation they faced.
Is a Christian who commits suicide forgiven and in heaven? YES!
Do they regret their choice? YES! Because, in light of eternity, they realize they didn't wait to see what God could do with their terrible situation.
I'm sure my niece wishes she could undo her choice, but she can't and we live with the pain....missing her daily.
Are you thinking about taking your own life? Please don't! Get help, tell someone, wait till morning...you will never regret the choice to trust God, but for the dear saint who is so broken that they sin and commit suicide you will see them in heaven. And we will rejoice at a wonderful savior who provides all we need, even when our last choice is the worse one of all.