Christian Biblical Counsel: SUICIDE

Background

A suicidal person feels he or she has exhausted all possible options. Life has no meaning, no purpose, no future, so why continue to endure its extreme unhappiness, anguish, hopelessness, and despair? The obsessive belief that nothing will ever change for the better leaves him or her feeling helpless, with the conviction that death is the only way out.

Such a person is a victim of depression, tortured with feelings of unworthiness, sin and failure, deep guilt, and the need to be punished. Many things condition this person for the depressed state that can lead to suicide or attempted suicide: anger, envy, jealousy, fear, guilt, self-pity, sexual deviation, drugs, alcohol. It should be obvious to the helper, then, that root causes leading to such a crisis are likely to be deep and possibly of long duration. Many of these do, in fact, reflect back to childhood and therefore point to the need for prolonged professional counseling with a Christian psychologist or psychiatrist.

Although not all the problems of the suicidal person are spiritual, the ultimate problem for any person’s life is separation from God, solved only through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without this relationship with Christ, there can be no real solutions or healing. As a person experiences all that is involved in the new life in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)—forgiveness, freedom from guilt and fear, a sense of fulfillment and well-being, new motivation to live—forces for radical change are set in motion. This is where the helper can be of real service: guiding the inquirer into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Some people threaten suicide in order to get attention and sympathy. They want someone to listen to their hurt and frustrations. Others are beyond this point and seriously have self-destruction in mind. It is only natural that you will feel inadequate when confronted with this kind of challenge; however, you should try to help, remembering that our resources come from the Lord. He will be reaching out in love and power through you. Be motivated by the promises of Scripture that “with God all things are possible” (Matthew 19:26), and, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God . . . and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

 

Helping Strategy

When talking with a suicidal person, two main goals should be kept in mind:

• Share the Gospel as a source of hope. A new relationship with Jesus Christ can bring about change.

• Gather information about the concerned party for possible emergency procedures.

 

Helping the Suicidal Non-Christian:

1. Unobtrusively, but as early as possible, you should determine if the individual is really suicidal. Has he or she taken pills or poison? Is there a loaded gun which he or she threatens to use? As the conversation develops, try to obtain the person’s name, address, and telephone number; the name of a relative living in his or her area; and the name of a pastor and a church. Always solicit information in a casual, friendly way in order to avoid arousing suspicion.

2. Speaking with a suicidal person demands the greatest tact and patience. Be prepared to listen! Let your inquirer do most of the talking until you get the complete picture. Punctuate the conversation with an occasional question to keep it flowing. If he or she makes a statement, seek a further explanation of how he or she feels. Or, ask what has led to that particular conclusion. The phrase, “Tell me about it,” is often helpful.

3. As the conversation permits, offer words of encouragement to the suicidal caller. Stress that he or she has called the right place, because we are friends and are willing to listen. Suggest that God can help in revealing solutions and that He really cares and loves.

4. Do not minimize any feeling or conclusion the person may express about his or her problems. He or she should be permitted to vent all the storedup anger, tension, and sense of desperation. Do not contradict any statement made, except to disagree with the proposed “solution.” If he or she says that life is not worth living, believe it! Probably for him or her in this present state, it isn’t. Avoid such statements as, “Oh, come now, things can’t be all that hopeless,” or, “You are not as bad as you would like me to think.”

5. Assure the individual that there is a solution for his or her problems and there is hope! If he or she will permit God to intervene, He can forgive all the past, making things right through Jesus Christ. Jesus understands suffering. He was maligned, mistreated, and murdered. He truly cares about what happens to us. He loved us so much that He died for us. Christ will come to us where we are—to our level of need, no matter how sinful and hopeless we consider ourselves to be—in order to lift us up and beyond our despair. Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, NIV).

 

6. Share “Steps to Peace with God,” – Christian Biblical Counsel: STEPS TO PEACE WITH GOD

7. If the caller receives Christ, offer the assurance that this experience can be the catalyst for real change: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” (2 Corinthians 5:17, NIV).

8. Explain that to help bring about this change, he or she needs to begin to read and study the Bible. Offer to send – Your New Life In Christ Bible Study for help in getting started.

9. Encourage prayer, because communicating with God is very important in effecting change. We can turn over to God all our emotions and our problems through prayer: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7, NIV). Also share Philippians 4:6. Suggest writing these references down so he or she can look up the verses easily.

10. Encourage seeking new friendships by identifying with a local Bibleteaching church. This will provide opportunities for worship, fellowship, Bible study, and service, all of which are important in the person’s attempt to redirect the focus of his or her life.

11. If you are involved in a telephone ministry center, ask the person if your supervisor might call the following evening. With this offer, he or she will have something to look forward to. Ask what would be a convenient time to call.

12. Ask if the person would like a visit from a pastor, if such a contact could be arranged. Do not promise that it will happen, but state that we will do what we can. If it seems unlikely that you will be able to set up such a meeting, encourage the caller to personally make such a contact. Whatever the case, suicidal calls should be followed up if at all possible.

13. If the inquirer doesn’t make a commitment to Christ, encourage him or her the best you can. Explain that he or she can act on what you have shared at any time. The door of access to God is always open. Recommend making contact with a local pastor for counseling. Immediacy is important.

 

Helping the Suicidal Christian:

Christians are not immune to suicidal thoughts or attempts. Unresolved or unconfessed sin, or a crisis situation such as a deep disappointment, the death of a loved one, a divorce, loss of employment, loss of health, or a nervous breakdown can precipitate depression severe enough to lead to such an attempt.

 

1. As with the non-Christian caller, determine as early as possible if the individual is really suicidal. Has he or she taken pills or poison? Is there a loaded gun which he or she threatens to use? As the conversation develops, try to obtain the person’s name, address, and telephone number; the name of a relative living in his or her area; and the name of a pastor and a church. Always solicit information in a casual, friendly way in order to avoid arousing suspicion.

2. Remind the Christian that God always loves and cares: “For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Hebrews 13:5).

3. Remind him or her also that we are God’s children (quote John 1:12).

4. Emphasize the truth that God still forgives. Share “Restoration,” emphasizing Proverbs 28:13 and 1 John 1:9. Confession results in forgiveness and restoration of fellowship.

5. Encourage him or her to look only to the Lord and not at the present problems and circumstances (Matthew 14:27–32; Proverbs 3:5–6).

6. Suggest that it is important to get into God’s Word: hear, read, study, meditate, and memorize.

7. Remind him or her that prayer is a valuable resource and an essential part of a Christian’s life (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Philippians 4:6–7).

8. Recommend becoming involved in a Bible-teaching church as an important step in recovering emotional stability. Such identity permits fellowship with caring people who worship and work together.

9. The telephone helper could at this point ask if the inquirer would like a call from a supervisor the following evening. This will give him or her something to look forward to.

10. Pray with the inquirer that God will come to him or her with new meaning, with a new measure of hope and trust.

 

Scripture

Proverbs 3:5–6

Matthew 11:28

Matthew 14:27–32

2 Corinthians 5:17

Philippians 4:6–7

1 Thessalonians 5:17

1 Peter 5:7

The Billy Graham Christian Worker’s Handbook; World Wide Publications, 1984, 1996

Suicide Prevention

Hope When Life Seems Hopeless

by June Hunt

Does life seem impossible? Have you been struggling with thoughts of suicide? Could you possibly have begun to believe a lie? The lie is that “self-inflicted death is better than God-given life.” The Lord has compassion for your every concern and will deal with you only in truth. Jesus said,

“You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

(John 8:32)

I.     Definitions

A. What Are the Forms of Suicide?

Just to hear the word suicide evokes a myriad of feelings ranging from shock and sadness to bewilderment and grief. The initial response to suicide is often, “Oh no, why would anyone commit such an impulsive, irreversible act? Suicide has snuffed out a precious life forever!” Yet in reality, suicide is many-sided … not always instantaneous … intentional … or even self-inflicted. However, most important is to understand God’s heart on life and death—on your life and death.

“I have set before you life and death.… Now choose life, so that you and your children may live.”

(Deuteronomy 30:19)

•     Suffering Suicide

—  Suffering suicide is a deliberate act of killing oneself in an extreme state of despair.

Biblical Example:

Judas hanged himself in remorse after his betrayal of Jesus.

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse.… So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3, 5)

•     Successive Suicide

—  Successive suicide is the deliberate act of slowly killing oneself by prolonged, self-destructive behavior. (“You’re killing yourself with your drinking.”)

—  Successive suicide usually involves a deliberate denial of the dangerous consequences resulting from self-indulgent behavior.

—  Some examples are smoking, alcoholism and misuse of other drugs and prescriptions. Scripture describes the foolish one who brings about his own death by continuing to indulge in destructive behavior against the advice of others.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

•     Supported Suicide

—  Supported suicide (also called assisted suicide) is a deliberate plan of killing oneself to avoid a painful or undesirable future and is acted out with the assistance of another person.

—  Supported suicide, though premeditated, is not self-inflicted, but executed by someone else.

Biblical Example:

King Saul requested his soldier to kill him with a sword in order to avoid the consequences of his military defeat.

“Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.’ But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.” (1 Samuel 31:4)

•     Symbolic Suicide

—  Symbolic suicide is a deliberate act of killing oneself influenced by a ritualistic custom or a sense of honor that is characterized by excessive identification with another person, family or nation.

—  Some cultural examples are hara-kiri, kamikaze pilots, suttee and suicide bombers.

Biblical Example:

After King Saul committed suicide, his armor-bearer likewise took his own life.

“When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.” (1 Samuel 31:5)

•     Spiritual Suicide

—  Spiritual suicide is an act of killing oneself by making a deliberate decision to disobey the revealed will of God.

—  Spiritual suicide results when anyone disbelieves the claims of Christ. (In the 19th chapter of Matthew, the rich young ruler failed to receive eternal life because of disbelief.)

Biblical Example:

Adam and Eve willfully chose to disobey God’s command and ate from the tree of knowledge. This act resulted in death to themselves and all their descendants.

“And the Lord God commanded the man, ‘You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.’ ” (Genesis 2:16–17)

B. What Are the Feelings Related to Suicide?

Although Scripture does not specifically use the word suicide, it does describe the spiritual and emotional state of those who committed suicide, as well as those who desired to take their own lives.

•     Fear of torture and death—King Saul

“Saul said to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.’ But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it.” (1 Samuel 31:4)

•     Fear of being left behind and murdered, or misplaced loyalty—Saul’s armor-bearer

“When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.” (1 Samuel 31:5)

•     Fear of revenge for igniting mutiny against David—Ahithophel

“When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.” (2 Samuel 17:23)

•     Fear of humiliation—Abimelech (assisted suicide)

“Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, ‘Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, “A woman killed him.” ’ So his servant ran him through, and he died.” (Judges 9:54)

•     Revenge toward oppressors—Samson

“Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, Samson said, ‘Let me die with the Philistines!’ Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.” (Judges 16:29–30)

•     Fear of revenge and being murdered—Zimri

“When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him. So he died, because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord and walking in the ways of Jeroboam and in the sin he had committed and had caused Israel to commit.” (1 Kings 16:18–19)

•     Severe guilt and remorse for betraying Jesus—Judas

“When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty silver coins to the chief priests and the elders. ‘I have sinned,’ he said, ‘for I have betrayed innocent blood.’ ‘What is that to us?’ they replied. ‘That’s your responsibility.’ So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3–5)

•     Fear of severe punishment—Philippian jailer (suicidal intent)

“The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, ‘Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!’ ” (Acts 16:27–28)

Since fear is such a powerful catalyst, when you first have thoughts of suicide, take this proverb to heart:

“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

(Proverbs 29:25)

C. What Are the Fables about Suicide?

What you believe about suicide can be critical. Your thoughts about suicide will shape your response if you have suicidal feelings. You need wisdom to discern what is false in these fables. Wisdom will help you understand and apply God’s truth.

“The teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.”

(Proverbs 13:14)

•     Fable: “Suicide is the unpardonable sin.”

Fact: Nowhere in the Bible is suicide presented as the unpardonable sin. The unpardonable sin is the unwillingness to yield to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit, which leads to salvation through Jesus Christ.

“But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin.” (Mark 3:29)

•     Fable: “The tendency to commit suicide is inherited.”

Fact: No evidence exists of a genetic or biological tendency toward suicide. However, suicide can be a “learned behavior” that is passed down through family environment.

•     Fable: “Everyone who commits suicide is mentally ill.”

Fact: No, not the majority. Of those who commit suicide, 25 percent are mentally ill.

•     Fable: “People who talk about killing themselves never do.”

Fact: Take any threat of suicide seriously. Of those who take their own lives, 80 percent have warned someone.

“The heart of the discerning acquires knowledge; the ears of the wise seek it out.” (Proverbs 18:15)

•     Fable: “Never talk about suicide with deeply depressed people—it could give them ideas.”

Fact: You can assume that most depressed or very anxious persons have given some thought to taking their lives. For a person considering suicide, having someone to talk with can be a powerful preventive.

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” (Proverbs 16:21)

•     Fable: “Christians who commit suicide lose their salvation.”

Fact: According to the Word of God, once you have believed in and relied on Christ as your Savior, you have a promised guarantee of eternal life.

“You also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” (Ephesians 1:13–14)

•     Fable: “A deeply committed believer would never commit suicide.”

Fact: The hopelessness that can accompany severe stress can also strain a person’s faith. Like the godly prophet Jeremiah, even the most sincere believer can become engulfed in suicidal despair. When he was being tormented and his life was threatened, Jeremiah lamented:

“Cursed be the day I was born! May the day my mother bore me not be blessed! Cursed be the man who brought my father the news, who made him very glad, saying, ‘A child is born to you—a son!’ May that man be like the towns the Lord overthrew without pity. May he hear wailing in the morning, a battle cry at noon. For he did not kill me in the womb, with my mother as my grave, her womb enlarged forever. Why did I ever come out of the womb to see trouble and sorrow and to end my days in shame?” (Jeremiah 20:14–18)

•     Fable: “Once people attempt suicide, they will always be weak and unable to face difficulties in life.”

Fact: A suicidal crisis usually lasts only for a brief duration when compared to a person’s whole life. Most people learn from their lowest moments. Those who turn to the Lord for love and acceptance, he rescues from destruction.

“Surely it was for my benefit that I suffered such anguish. In your love you kept me from the pit of destruction; you have put all my sins behind your back.” (Isaiah 38:17)

Actually we are each born from the seed of Adam—doomed to continue in sin and destined for death. But we no longer have to be slaves to this self-destructive tendency. In Christ we have a new inheritance and a legacy that provides power over sin and purchases for us eternal life. (See Biblical Counseling Keys on Identity and the book Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes.)

“There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death.”

(Romans 8:1–2)

II.    Characteristics

A. Path of Potential Suicide

Every sheep needs a shepherd … it’s a matter of life and death. When a sheep is crossing a stream, if its wool coat becomes saturated with water, the top-heavy sheep topples over. The sheep is called “cast down.” Without the aid of a shepherd, this sheep literally cannot stand up. Soon the sheep will die.

Be aware of the three stages of being cast down. If you become so heavy-laden that you fall with the weight you are carrying, you too need the Shepherd—you need a strong hand to help you up—it could be a matter of life and death.

“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

(Isaiah 53:6)

Three Stages of Potential Suicide

#1 Downcast: Early Stage

•     Dejection

•     Change in eating and sleeping habits

•     Avoidance of family

•     Decline in work or school performance

•     Anxiety

•     Inability to concentrate or make decisions

•     Boredom

•     Lack of interest in the future

“Why are you downcast, O my soul? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise him, my Savior and my God.”

(Psalm 43:5)

#2 Distressed: Advanced Stage

•     Depression

•     Withdrawal from family and friends

•     Rapid mood swings

•     Physical problems, self injury, anorexia

•     Self-pity

•     Excessive absences from work or school

•     Apathy

•     Neglect of personal appearance

“Surely no one lays a hand on a broken man when he cries for help in his distress.”

(Job 30:24)

#3 Despairing: Danger Stage

•     Hopelessness

•     Abusing alcohol/drugs

•     Deep remorse

•     Isolation or morose behavior

•     Previous suicide attempts or threats of suicide

•     Giving away personal possessions suicide

•     Organizing personal affairs; making a will

•     Sudden change from depression to will cheerfulness (indicating being at peace with the decision to commit suicide)

“Why, O Lord, do you reject me and hide your face from me? From my youth I have been afflicted and close to death; I have suffered your terrors and am in despair.”

(Psalm 88:14–15)

B. Picture of Painful Thinking

Rarely does a person commit suicide on impulse. Friends and family often think the loss of their loved one resulted from an isolated moment of despair. Yet suicide usually occurs after a long process of destructive, deductive thinking.

“How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?”

(Psalm 13:2)

•     Suicidal Thinking

—  “There is nothing left in life I care about. It is pointless to go on living.”

—  “I can’t face the future. The only thing to do is escape.”

—  “Things will never change. Death would be better than this.”

—  “My life is completely out of control. I have to get the upper hand.”

—  “It won’t really hurt anyone else. Actually, I’ll be doing everyone a favor.”

—  “I’ve done all that can be done. There is only one thing left to do.”

—  “Soon it will be all over, and then I will have peace!”

Those who have lost hope finally come to the conclusion that death is the only logical solution to their problems. This is a lie. Satan is the father of lies and the author of such futile thinking. Ultimately suicide is a deliberate choice to believe Satan’s twisted reasoning that taking your own life is the most reasonable way out.

“He [the devil] was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.”

(John 8:44)

Note: If you are experiencing any of these physical problems, be sure to consult your health care professional.

III.   Causes

A. The Great Escape

Suicide is the desperate attempt to get out of what seems to be an intolerable situation. It becomes the way of escape from the pain of living.

Excessive Loss

•     Loss of spouse

•     Loss of employment

•     Loss of finances

•     Loss of desired goals

•     Loss of a romance

•     Loss of intact family

•     Loss of reputation

•     Loss of friend to suicide

Social Isolation

•     Lack of involvement in social activities

•     Lack of acceptance by family and friends

•     Lack of meaningful relationships

•     Lack of relationship with God

•     Feeling unloved

•     Feeling insignificant

•     Feeling abandoned

Critical Illness

•     Chronic pain

•     Major surgery

•     Chronic depression

•     Terminal illness

Abusive Background

•     Sexual abuse

•     Physical abuse

•     Mental and emotional abuse

•     Satanic involvement

Psychological Disorder

•     Clinical depression

•     Multiple Personality Disorder (Dissociative Identity Disorder)

•     Chemical imbalance

•     Neurotic attempt to get attention

•     Unbalanced desire for revenge

Excessive Guilt

•     Extreme remorse over sin

•     Legalistic religion

•     Unnatural sexual deviations

•     Perfectionism

•     Shame of feeling defective

•     Failure to meet unrealistic expectations

If you feel trapped in torment, you must refuse to focus on suicide. The true escape is to see the Lord as your Savior. Release all your pain to the Redeemer—each hurt, each pain, each care—and He will release you.

“My eyes are ever on the Lord, for only he will release my feet from the snare.”

(Psalm 25:15)

B. Root Cause

God created every person with an inner need to feel significant … yet the desire to live slowly dies in a heart that can no longer see clearly and feels lost with no reason to live or nothing to live for. As the candle of hope is extinguished, that inner sense of purpose is snuffed out by overwhelming despair.

     Wrong Belief: “Life is hopeless. I see no purpose to go on living.”

Right Belief: Since I choose to walk by faith, not by sight or feelings, I’m placing my hope in the Lord, knowing He has His purpose and plans for my life.

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

IV.  steps to solutIon

A. Key Verses to Memorize

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

(Psalm 62:5–6)

B. Key Passage to Read and Reread

When you feel that you’re drowning in the depths of despair, know that other godly people have felt the same sense of hopelessness. For example, the prophet Jeremiah emotionally “hit bottom,” yet he also had the wisdom to look up to the Lord and find hope. These are his honest words:

“I remember my affliction and my wandering, the bitterness and the gall. I well remember them, and my soul is downcast within me. Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.’ ”

(Lamentations 3:19–24)

C. How To Find Hope When You’ve Lost All Hope

When you are weary … when life isn’t worth living … when you’ve lost all hope, what do you need to know? You need to know the Burden-bearer—you need to know Jesus. He wants to be the Shepherd of your soul. His compassionate comfort extends to all those who have lost all hope.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

(Matthew 11:28)

When you are weary, how do you receive this rest within your soul? Allow these four truths to set you free:

Hope #1:

God offers real solutions for your problems.

Sometimes when you don’t know how to solve a problem, you can feel helpless because you have no direction. For example, if your wristwatch stops, you may not know how to fix it, but a skilled watchmaker would. The One who created the universe with all its intricate parts—the One who created you with all your intricate parts—knows how to fix whatever is not working. He will direct you in the way you should go.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” (Proverbs 3:5–6)

Hope #2:

God loves you with an unconditional love.

God loves you with agape love. Agape is a Greek word that means He has a commitment to seek your highest good no matter what you do or don’t do. The Lord says:

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with loving-kindness.” (Jeremiah 31:3)

Hope #3:

God offers the solution for your sin.

The Bible says sin separates us from God. But Jesus doesn’t want you to be separated. He desires to have a meaningful relationship with you. Jesus, who is God, took on human form, came to earth, lived a sinless life and chose to pay the penalty for your sins. When He was crucified on the cross, His blood was the purchase price to pay for the full forgiveness of your sins. Today, you can receive forgiveness when you humble your heart, confess your sins and trust in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)

Hope #4:

God offers you permanent peace through a life-changing relationship with Jesus.

The word Lord means “master, ruler, owner.” Are you willing to entrust your life to the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that He is trustworthy to always do whatever is best for you? Jesus demonstrated unconditional love toward you. He died on the cross, paying the penalty that you should have paid. That’s real love … sacrificial love!

You can trust and rely on Jesus to make sense of your life, to teach you truth and show you the way. Jesus said:

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

You can enter into a personal relationship with Christ right now by praying a prayer like this:

God, I need help in my life. I need You in my life. I admit that I have sinned. Please forgive me for my sins. Thank You, Jesus, for dying on the cross to pay the penalty for my personal sins. Please come into my life to be my Lord and my Savior. I give You control of my life. Make me the person You want me to be. In Your precious name, I pray. Amen.

D. Hope for the Suicidal Believer

Have you come to the conclusion that life is not worth living? Did you ride that “merry-go-round of the mind” seeking answers, only to get off and find nothingness? Maybe you’ve lost all desire to hope. Your heavenly Father knows what you are feeling. He desires for you to cry out to him. God is waiting to respond to the honest heart that can offer nothing but a flicker of willingness.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

(Psalm 51:12)

Seven Scriptural Reasons to Say No to Suicide

Reason #1:

Suicide rejects God’s offer of inner peace.

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6–7)

Reason #2:

Suicide rejects God’s sovereignty over the length of your life.

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.… Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (Psalm 139:13, 16)

Reason #3:

Suicide rejects God’s right to be Lord over your life.

“Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” (1 Corinthians 6:19)

Reason #4:

Suicide rejects God’s commandment not to murder.

“You shall not murder.” (Deuteronomy 5:17)

Reason #5:

Suicide rejects God’s ability to heal your hurts.

“Heal me, O Lord, and I will be healed.” (Jeremiah 17:14)

Reason #6:

Suicide rejects God’s plan to give you hope.

“ ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ” (Jeremiah 29:11)

Reason #7:

Suicide rejects God’s power already in you to make you godly.

“His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” (2 Peter 1:3–4)

E. Willing to Be Willing

Even if you do not want to live, all you need is the willingness to be made willing. God can use the tiniest thread of hope as your lifeline.

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.”

(Psalm 51:12)

Lord, Make Me Willing …

•     To Be Broken

“O God, I’m at the end of all my resources. My heart feels overwhelmed with despair.”

God’s Response

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (Psalm 51:17)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, that I have reached the end of my own self-effort.”

•     To Be Yielded

“I see no hope or no one to help me. My mind is made up that death is the only answer.”

God’s Promise

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:7–8)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, that evil has no power in Your presence … that I am safe when I focus on You.”

•     To Be Willing

“I am not even willing to try. I have no desire to go on living.”

God’s Promise

“So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, for Your supernatural power that can touch and change my heart.”

• To Be Assured

“God, I feel so completely alone. Can anything relieve this terrible loneliness?”

God’s Response

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.” (Isaiah 43:2)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, that I am never alone. Thank You for being with me even when I don’t feel that You are walking with me.”

• To Be Guilt-free

“I have even passed the point of tears. My heart seems to have no room for forgiveness … for myself, for others or even for You.”

God’s Response

“He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” (Proverbs 28:13)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, that as I confess my anger and bitterness, I receive cleansing from You. Then I’m able to forgive those who have hurt me deeply.”

•     To Be Accepting

“Even if I could forgive, I cannot accept these miserable circumstances that will never change.”

God’s Promise

“I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, for giving me the desire and power to accept life as it now is and let go of the why’s.”

•     To Be Grateful

“Am I actually to be grateful? I could never feel gratitude for my life or what I endure.”

God’s Response

“Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:18)

Prayer

“Thank You, God, that You don’t expect me to feel grateful. All You want me to do is to trust You with Your plans for my life.”

•     To Be Hopeful

“Secretly, I am afraid to have hope. What if I begin to hope, then nothing really changes?”

God’s Promise

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” (Romans 5:1–5)

Prayer

“Thank You, God. I will choose to trust You and put my hope in You. I will not trust in things as they seem to be but will hope in the unseen power of Your love.”

F.  Lifeline of Hope

How can you be rescued in an ocean of despair? Be prepared before you are overwhelmed by wave upon wave of hopelessness. With or without the help of others, you can equip yourself ahead of time by making a Lifeline Crisis Card. Choose what is appropriate for you from the following suggestions, then outline steps you will take when you find yourself in an emotional crisis. Give a copy to your family or friends and keep a copy with you at all times—in your billfold, car, desk, medicine cabinet and kitchen cupboard. When you first begin to feel your heart sinking … Reach out for your lifeline!

“Find rest, O my soul, in God alone; my hope comes from him.”

(Psalm 62:5)

Crisis Card

•     When in crisis I will pray:

“In you, O Lord, I have taken refuge; let me never be put to shame; deliver me in your righteousness. Turn your ear to me, come quickly to my rescue; be my rock of refuge, a strong fortress to save me. Since you are my rock and my fortress, for the sake of your name lead and guide me.” (Psalm 31:1–3; pray verses 1–9, 14–24.)

•     When in crisis I will recite Scriptures aloud:

“Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me, for in you my soul takes refuge. I will take refuge in the shadow of your wings until the disaster has passed.”

(Psalm 57:1; also read Psalm 27 and 28.)

•     When in crisis I will claim God’s promises:

“My comfort in my suffering is this: your promise preserves my life.” (Psalm 119:50)

•     When in crisis I will listen to Christian praise music and Scripture songs:

“Sing to the Lord, you saints of his; praise his holy name.… Weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:4–5)

•     When in crisis I will consider how special it is to be a child of God:

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1)

•     When in crisis I will question myself:

—  “Why do I feel the need to hurt myself?”

—  “What do I think I will accomplish through this?”

—  “According to God, is this the truth or a lie?”

—  “Are my actions and desires reflecting my true identity in Christ or are they coming out of my past experiences?”

—  “What effect would harming myself have on those who care about me?”

“Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place.” (Psalm 51:6)

•     When in crisis I will make positive affirmations:

—  “I’m worth being treated with goodness and kindness—I am a child of God.”

—  “God loves me and has a purpose for my life. I am also loved by others.”

—  “Because God has a plan for me, I will treat the body He gave me with kindness and respect.”

—  “Even though I can’t see the future, I will walk by faith, not by sight.”

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8)

•     When in crisis I will review encouraging words:

—  Read aloud positive letters and notes from friends and family.

—  Review positive thoughts of why it’s worth it to heal.

—  Recall those who believe in me and my growth.

—  Remember what others have said about why there is hope for me.

—  Rehearse God’s promise:

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” (Deuteronomy 31:8)

“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” (Proverbs 25:11)

•     When in crisis I will not

—  act on impulse

—  take any action that is harmful or even potentially harmful to myself, others or property

—  drive my automobile if there is a possibility of driving recklessly

—  act rashly

If in doubt as to whether an action is harmful, I will ask myself:

•     “Would God approve of this?”

•     “Would the people I love approve of this?”

•     “Would the people who care about me approve of this?”

If the answer is NO! then I must not do it! If I would hurt innocent people whom I care about, then … I must not do it! No rationalizations or excuses, just Do Not Do It!

“You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised.”

(Hebrews 10:36)

•     When in crisis I will call:

After going through the steps above, if I am still in a crisis, I will reach out and call others who will be helpful and truthful. They can help me regain perspective. I will continue to go down my call list until I have reached someone. I will state directly, “I am calling because I am in an emotional crisis.” I will honestly discuss the feelings and events that led to the crisis and possible solutions. I will continue making phone calls, including repetitions, until the crisis is resolved, no matter what time of day or night.

—friend   
—relative   
—friend   
—relative   
—friend   
—therapist   
—doctor   
—church   
—pastor   
—crisis   hot line   
—suicide   prevention   

“If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!”

(Ecclesiastes 4:10)

• “If I am still in crisis after completing these steps, I will ensure my physical and emotional safety by getting myself to a safe environment where I am not alone.”

—  I will make arrangements to be with a friend or supportive person.

—  I will go to a public place where harming myself is difficult.

—  If all else fails, I will go to a hospital emergency room and tell them I am at risk of harming myself. I will make it clear that I do not want to check in, but that I simply want to sit in the waiting room for a little while so I can guarantee that I will not act upon my impulses.

—  If I have honestly worked through these steps and am still in trouble, then I am truly in a crisis situation that may require hospitalization for my protection.

“Listen to advice and accept instruction, and in the end you will be wise.”

(Proverbs 19:20)

I   can make it safely through a crisis. In God’s eyes I am valuable, and my life   and safety are important! 

G. Giving Hope to the Hopeless

The one most essential lifeline you can provide to someone suicidal is HOPE. You may feel fearful and inadequate for becoming involved with someone who is suicidal, but God may draw you into their life to be a reflection of His love and guidance. Consider such a divine encounter to be a candle of hope to someone living in darkness.

“Anyone who is among the living has hope.”

(Ecclesiastes 9:4)

Where There’s Life, There’s Hope!

“We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.”

(Hebrews 6:19)

Honestly Confront

•     Take all talk of death and suicide seriously.

•     Ask the direct question, “Are you thinking about suicide?”

•     Express your concern.

•     Seek to find out what problem is causing the pain.

•     Ask, “How have you been coping with the pain?”

“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” (Proverbs 20:5)

Offer Options

•     Acknowledge the fact that life is hard.

•     Point out that choices in life often consist of unpleasant possibilities.

•     List possible options on a sheet of paper.

•     Rank the options in order of preference.

•     Communicate God’s purposes for suffering. One purpose, for example, is compassion: “Many people are hurting just like you. They feel desperately alone, assuming that no one understands their pain. You know what it is like to hurt. Your personal pain enables you to have a ministry of compassion. You are being prepared right now to be a lifeline of hope for someone else who feels hopeless.”

“No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)

Present a Contract

•     Build a relationship by showing your care and willingness to help.

•     Ask if the person would be willing to make a contract with you:

“Will you promise that if you are considering harming yourself, you will call me before doing anything?”

•     Be sure to obtain a signature.

•     Make a commitment to stay in contact.

“Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

(Galatians 6:2)

Enlist Help

•     Encourage the person to have a physical checkup.

•     Seek a trained counselor or therapist.

•     Call a minister.

•     Contact the Suicide Crisis Center.

•     Help make arrangements for hospitalization.

“Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.” (Proverbs 15:22)

H. Comfort for those Caught in the Aftermath

“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

(Psalm 34:18)

The emotional fallout from suicide is more devastating than you can imagine. Few of us are capable of coming alongside and comforting those who suffer the aftermath. Tormenting emotions cause survivors to spiral through the process of grief, and their haunting question of Why? is never really answered. Even when suicide strikes within our own boundary of relationships, most of us fear we are inadequate to face the reality of such a tragedy!

A Grief Like No Other

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

(Psalm 147:3)

•     Shock  “This   is a mistake. I saw her just a few hours ago.” 
•     Rejection  “He   thought death would be better than living with me!” 
•     Guilt  “I   should have done something to prevent this.” 
•     Anger  “How   could she do this to me?” 
•     Shame  “What   will I tell others?” 
•     Fear  “Is   something wrong with our family?” 
•     Sadness  “I   keep dreaming I’ll get to be with him again.” 

Be a Friend Like No Other

“There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

(Proverbs 18:24)

•     Be Honest  Express   your own feelings of grief and confusion. Don’t hide from the truth or be   afraid to use the word “suicide.” 
•     Be Present  Be   willing to just “be there.” Your presence is enough! 
•     Be Listening  Hear   the heart and encourage the survivor to express feelings. 
•     Be Accepting  Accept   all the emotions, no matter how offensive the feelings may seem. 
•     Be Nonjudgmental  Refuse   to pass judgment on suicide, but encourage the survivors to trust in a   compassionate God. 
•     Be Forgiving  Let   survivors see vulnerability and forgiveness in your life. They may feel the   need to confess and receive God’s forgiveness, especially if they are   experiencing guilt. 
•     Be Spirit-led  Be   a servant of the Holy Spirit. Trust Him to give you the appropriate words to   say. 
•     Be Prayerful  Offer   to pray if the survivor seems receptive. Commit to lifting the whole family   up in your personal prayers. 

I.  Do’s and Don’ts … for Family and Friends

Words can wound and words can heal. Those whose hearts are heavy with thoughts of suicide need true healing. Be aware of the power of your words.

“Reckless words pierce like a sword, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.”

(Proverbs 12:18)

Don’t trivialize talk of death with, “Quit talking that way.”

Do … Be willing to listen—really listen. “I want to hear what is really going on in your heart and life.”

Don’t minimize emotional pain with, “It can’t be that hopeless.”

Do … Ask questions. “When did you first feel this way?”

Don’t ignore feelings. “You shouldn’t feel that way.”

Do … Draw out feelings. “Tell me how you really feel.”

Don’t contradict statements of low self-worth. “You can’t be that bad.”

Do … Communicate, “Everyone has failed, but that does not make them a failure.”

Don’t promise, “I will never mention this to anyone.”

Do … Explain, “Because I care, I can’t be sworn to secrecy. I love you too much.”

Don’t give a dare like, “Go on and kill yourself.”

Do … Remove all impulse weapons such as guns and poisons.

Don’t blame something or someone else. “It’s his fault that you feel this way.”

Do … Realize that God knows the injustices, yet we all choose how we respond. Will we act responsibly or react irresponsibly?

Don’t attempt to “cheer up” with comparisons. “Many others are much worse off.”

Do … Appeal to the heart. “Are you aware of how devastating suicide is to those left behind? Those whom you love and who love you will all blame themselves.”

Don’t offer quick solutions. “Just put the past behind you.”

Do … Help initiate medical evaluation as soon as possible.

Don’t give the assurance, “Your problems will soon be over.” They could get worse.

Do … Admit the fact that life is hard. Say, “Although I don’t know how long the dark tunnel is, I’ll be your friend each step of the way until you come into the light.”

Don’t refer to depressed people as unspiritual.

Do … Confirm that everyone’s heart has been “pressed down”—that even your heart has been depressed.

Don’t get into theological arguments.

Do … Earnestly pray for wisdom for every person involved and give assurance, “God will never leave you or forsake you.”

“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.”

(Proverbs 16:21)

J.  Turn from Feeling to Healing

Focusing on feelings of despair, hopelessness and rejection will inevitably lead to depression and possibly even to suicidal thoughts. Replace those negative, self-defeating thoughts with constructive thinking by occupying your mind with uplifting activities. Above all, if you are thinking about suicide, call your pastor, a suicide prevention center, a counselor or a trusted friend. They want to help you.

Activities to Help Dissuade Suicidal Thoughts

 Walk, jog, bike or swim.  for physical release 
 Lie down or take a nap.  for physical renewal 
 Take a long hot shower or bubble bath.  for physical soothing 
 Curl up with a heating pad.  for emotional warmth 
 Play with a pet or cuddle a stuffed animal.  for emotional comfort 
 Journal or draw feelings.  for emotional release 
 Watch an inspiring movie.  for emotional enjoyment 
 Play Christian praise music.  for spiritual inspiration 
 Read a Christian book or biography.  for spiritual pleasure 
 Memorize a verse of Scripture.  for spiritual focus 
 Work a jigsaw or crossword puzzle.  for mental stimulation 
 Do indoor or outdoor chores.  to remove depressing clutter 
 Clean a refrigerator, cabinet, closet or   drawer.  to feel productive 
 Prepare a grocery list, selecting healthy   foods.  to meet physical needs 
 Organize coupons and go shopping.  to meet practical needs 
 Take prescription medicine as needed.  to meet medical needs 
 Go to the park and people-watch.  to enjoy others 
 Sort through clothes to give to the needy.  to be thoughtful of others 
 Volunteer at a ministry, church or charity.  to give of myself to others 
 Call a friend and offer help.  to reach out to others 

There is surely a future hope for you, and your hope will not be cut off.

(Proverbs 23:18)

K. My Contract of HOPE

The following is a solemn binding contract. This contract cannot be declared null and void without the written agreement of both parties.

I promise that if I should consider harming myself, I will talk with you before I do anything destructive.

I sign my name as a pledge of my integrity.

Signature         Date

Signature         Date

“Anyone who is among the living has hope.”

(Ecclesiastes 9:4)

Life   with Christ is an endless hope. Life without Christ is a hopeless end.CHOOSE LIFE!

 

SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beattie, Melody, ed. A Reason to Live. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1991.

Blackburn, Bill. What You Should Know About Suicide. Waco, TX: Word, 1982.

Blocher, Henri. Suicide. Translated by Roger Van Dyk. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1972.

Bloom, Lois A. Mourning, After Suicide. Looking Up. Cleveland, OH: Pilgrim, 1986.

Hewett, John H. After Suicide. Christian Care Books, ed. Wayne E. Oates. Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1980.

Hunt, June. Counseling Through Your Bible Handbook. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Forgive … When You Don’t Feel Like It. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2007.

Hunt, June. How to Handle Your Emotions. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Hunt, June. Seeing Yourself Through God’s Eyes. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishers, 2008

Johnson, Theodore M. “Suicide.” In Baker Encyclopedia of Psychology, edited by David G. Benner, 1130–133. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1985.

Lindsay, Gordon. Why Do They Do It? Dallas: Christ for the Nations, 1972.

Lukas, Christopher, and Henry M. Seiden. Silent Grief: Living in the Wake of Suicide. New York: Bantam, 1990.

Meier, Paul D., Frank B. Minirth, and Frank B. Wichern. Introduction to Psychology and Counseling: Christian Perspectives and Applications. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1982.

Stevens, John. Suicide: An Illicit Lover. Denver, CO: Heritage House, 1976.

Strom, Kay Marshall. Helping Women in Crisis: A Handbook for People Helpers. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1986.

Tada, Joni Eareckson. When Is It Right to Die? Suicide, Euthanasia, Suffering, Mercy. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.

Walton, Rus. Biblical Solutions to Contemporary Problems. Bentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1988.

Welter, Paul. How to Help a Friend. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1984.

White, John. The Masks of Melancholy: A Christian Physician Looks at Depression & Suicide. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1982.

Wright, H. Norman. Crisis Counseling: What to Do and Say During the First 72 Hours. Updated and expanded ed. Ventura, CA.: Regal, 1993.

Wright, H. Norman. Training Christians to Counsel. Eugene, OR: Harvest House, 1977.[1]


[1] Hunt, J. (2008). Biblical Counseling Keys on Suicide Prevention: Hope When Life Seems Hopeless (1–24). Dallas, TX: Hope For The Heart.

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2 thoughts on “Christian Biblical Counsel: SUICIDE

  1. G. M. Matheny

    Suicide hurts every one you love! I heard a man once say that “People do this because they want to hurt others.” But some are just trying to stop their own hurt. These should consider that all their brothers and sisters will be hurt by this (deeply hurt), their Mom and Dad will be hurt by this, their children will be hurt by this, their friends will be also. Not only will they be saddened by it but then they have to explain why their relative took his or her own life. People who have had a relative do this are said to have “Joined a secretive society of grievers”. Why secret, because they do not like to talk about it, there is a certain shame attached to it. The only ones who will talk about it to you are those who have suffered the same, and then they come to you or phone you and say, “I know how you feel.”
    This as other sins start in the mind, change your thought life! If you have obsessive thoughts, you can’t stop thinking about it, or anything, then “overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21). Start reading large portions of the Bible (out loud if necessary) and “cleanse your self”! (John 15:1-3, 17:17)

    Reply
    1. Karen

      Years ago, I would have told you that I would never have even considered suicide – it just wasn’t an option. But I hadn’t yet experienced the excruciating pain that leads a person to the point of making that ultimate decision.

      What I beg of you to try to understand though, is that, although you may be well meaning, & think you will “bring us to our senses” or something of the like, telling a suicidal person that they are selfish because they are hurting the people they love simply causes MORE pain. We know that. And we are already wracked with guilt & pain.

      It is also received as a statement of “your pain is not as intense nor as important as someone else’s.”

      Now, I realize that the Godly thing to do is to put others first, but imagine you were in a car accident & your leg was severed from your body. Would your first thought really be for the guy in the other car? Be honest. That is the kind of pain I experience, only it’s not visible to you, (or others) so you discount its validity or intensity.

      What should be & what we do, as humans, often are 2 very different things, & like a wounded animal, we strike out when it hurts, even sometimes (often) at those we love or those who are trying to help us.

      I will agree with you that most of us do not attempt suicide in order to hurt others. Frankly, I find that ludicrous. How would killing myself to hurt another be gratifying to me? It doesn’t even make sense. No. As for myself & many others with whom I have spoken, it is the only option we have left (& yes, we have tried everything else we could think of) to eliminate the pain.

      Also, I hear all the time that suicide attempts are simply a “cry for help.” In some cases, that may be. I can only speak for myself on this one. I did all of my “crying out” for years before my first attempt. When I finally made my decision, I was done asking for help. My intent was to die.

      Lastly, I would like to address the idea of “cleansing” my thoughts by reading large chunks of the bible. Again, I am convinced that your advice comes from a place of wanting to help, but here are my problems with this solution:
      A) When a person is profoundly depressed, mental focus is extremely difficult. Reading even a paragraph from a children’s novel would be taxing, much less large chunks of the bible.
      B) You, yourself, use the term “obsessive” thoughts, & say “you can’t stop thinking about it.” You are correct, & this is something that typically cannot be resolved on one’s own. The most prudent course of action in this case is to seek the help of a “professional,” whether that be a counselor, psychiatrist (I sincerely advise against relying only on a family doctor at this point.) or a trusted pastor.

      I have attempted suicide 4 times in my adult life. I have suffered with depression since I was a child. I do not know why I am burdened with this disease, & I do not understand why God has chosen not to let me die, but perhaps while I am still here, I can help someone be able to understand their suicidal loved one just a little better, & in doing so, improve both lives just a little. I can only hope.

      Well, if you made it this far, thanks for listening. I wish you the best.

      Reply

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