This afternoon, I learned that someone – a Christian – I have known for almost twenty-five years committed suicide.
And over an hour later, I am staring at that sentence and trying to figure out the words that should come next.
I always thought his wife could be a beauty queen. He was a father to eight and an active volunteer in church.
And here… another 15 minutes have passed and the words will not come.
I am confused. Christians are not supposed to commit suicide. Right? “The joy of the Lord is our strength” and all those other Scriptures and hymns that speak of peace tell us that God is a very present help in times of trouble. (Psalm 46:1) Then, you have humans who blog about how depression is not the cause of death but that if you are depressed, you just need to get closer to God.
Like I said… I’m confused. And more than a little angry, but not at those who seek escape from the tortured thoughts. No, I am mad at Satan who “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5:8)
I have been depressed for the majority of my life. I’ve heard those suicidal whispers. Even in the midst of walking with the Lord.
Or, am I wrong? Am I less of a Christian because I struggle with depression? Are those who commit suicide not really Christians? Something inside me screams, “Absolutely not!” I am a Christian and Christians do commit suicide. Why? Because although we are sinners saved by grace, we live in a body made of flesh and until we see God face to face, we will struggle with our flesh.
Even Jesus knew we would struggle as he warned the disciples, “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” (Matthew 26:41)
And Paul… he witnessed a war within himself.
14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice; but what I hate, that I do.16 If, then, I do what I will not to do, I agree with the law that it is good. 17 But now, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. 18 For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. 19 For the good that I will to do,I do not do; but the evil I will not to do, that I practice. 20 Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me.
21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (Romans 7:13-24)
If Jesus saw the struggle we had and Paul fought the tendencies of the flesh, how can we pass judgment on others who struggle with a battle in the mind? Does Jesus provide healing? Yes. Is it easier to avoid sin when we are walking closely with the Lord? Yes. But how can we consider ourselves beyond the need for warnings and above the struggles even Paul experienced? And if we hold ourselves in such high regard, what gives us the right to pass those standards – interpretations beyond the Word of God – onto others as law?
So, I guess my confusion doesn’t come from why Christians commit suicide but from how we as living Christians can be so self-righteous that we assume to have the answers for such a great trauma.
Personally, I do not have the answers, but until I do, I will continue to pray for those who struggle with whispers from the enemy.
As I debate with myself and these details, I am willing to consider your thoughts. The comments are open.
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