Compassionate Love Blog: Displaying compassion for those who fight mental illness, addiction, and abuse (c)2018 Nancy Virden, Always the Fight Ministries
In a church two years ago, after sharing my story of recovery after a suicide attempt and discussing major depression, a member approached and said, “Suicide sends people to hell because it is a sin, and there is no time to repent.” This sentiment was once more prevalent. Most often today, surviving loved ones and pastors talk about God’s mercy and understanding.
I am asked frequently whether people who die this way go to heaven. It is not my intention to cop-out and avoid this important discussion. Nevertheless, I would rather ask a different question.
Who is God?
God is Holy. This means that in him there are no sin, wrongful motives, evil thoughts, or anything of the like. Our mockery and disbelief prevent us from knowing him, they do not diminish his holiness.
We are to reverently serve him because he IS. In him we move and breathe and have our being. He merely spoke and the world began. Let us stand in awe of him!
This is not to say he is angry and vengeful. On the contrary, his nature is love and goodness. Relying on him, on his unfailing love, is to know blessings of peace and joy, even in times of pain. However he is just, and does respond to evil with judgment.
Like a child who wants to copy daddy, we begin to mimic our Father God when we trust him and learn to obey his instructions. Looking elsewhere for the value, mercy, love, freedom, and rescue that only God can provide is not only foolish, but sin. It hurts him, others, and ourselves.
This is not to say that one who fails to measure up to God’s high standards is doomed. On the contrary! God knows who he created. You and I are not lost on him. He saw every one of our days before one of them happened and made us anyway. That is love! His promise of eternal life with him is for any who will accept salvation offered through his Son Jesus. In other words, he made a way out.
Spiritual lostness has a solution
It is simple and free. The famous line that often showed up on T-shirts or signs at football games, “John 3:16”, refers to a quote by Jesus .
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
In four basic parts, it says: (a) the world, that’s you and me and everyone who has ever lived, exists on purpose; (b) God loves the world; (c) God sees we are lost, floundering away from him and his love, and sends a solution – Jesus. Jesus is God’s only monogenes, or one-of-a-kind, (note the capital S), Son. He too is holy. His was the only sinless life, so his is the only life that can serve as our Savior; and (d) the reason for all this drama is so the world may live with God apart from the evils and disappointments of this life forever!
Once again, that is not to say we cannot reject the gift. Most do. Consequences are pain and death, if not for the present, then in the future. Yet preferring the instant to the real, people pursue false gods. These are things, activities, or people we place ahead of God as our authority, and source of strength and satisfaction.
False gods will never serve us well because the very fallible humans who want to depend on them, are their designers. Mistaken, self-serving god-makers will never produce any object of worship that rises above themselves. We do not follow false gods because we love them – we worship false gods because we love ourselves (and not in a good way).
Sin is what separates us from God, not pain
One’s relationship with God through Jesus is personal and close when nurtured by repentance, love for him, and time spent with him. God is close to the needy, the brokenhearted, and the oppressed. By following his way we are never alone whether we hurt physically or emotionally, or in any other form.
Does God condemn forever people who die by suicide? Once again, my opinion does not matter. The Bible is very clear that what causes unbelievers to perish for eternity is rejection of Christ. Refusal to have faith at all – not believing God exists – is the first part, and denying the Son as our source of salvation is the second.
As for people who follow Jesus, closely even, and die by suicide – did they reject Christ? It is not sinful to suffer. No one is cast aside by God for having uncomfortable emotions.
Unbelief is not defined strictly by actions, but mostly by the heart. In pain, to whom does one cry out? If a mind is overwhelmed, is it possible the heart is still faithful?
Your answer lies in learning to know the God of the Bible. I know where I stand for eternity, and I know what he asks of me. Do you?
Let’s make no mistake!
Regardless one’s eternal destiny, suicide is not the type of death or legacy that brings honor to God’s name. Those left experience damage, and feel angry, sorrowful, and wrenched with a lifetime of the question why. Copycat suicides are common. The one who died by suicide is remembered and celebrated always with an asterisk of doubt. But… he killed himself. But… she left me. But… I wasn’t enough to save my loved one. But… why didn’t God stop it?
The legacy of finding help and utilizing all the offered resources is one of inspiration and hope. The fight is worth it. Knowledge is invaluable. Understanding how depression works is life-saving. We have options for survival.
God sees. God knows. God loves.
Today’s Helpful Word(s)
NOTE: I am not a doctor or mental health professional. I speak only from personal experiences with and observations of mental and behavioral health challenges. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are struggling emotionally today or feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. (for international emergency numbers, go here ), or go to your nearest emergency room. Do not be alone. Hope and help are yours.