Mental Health and the Church, Spiritual Encouragement, Suicide, Troubling Tweets

Christian Response to Suicide

A look at Christian response to suicide.

Christian response to suicide, Braxton Caner, Robin Williams, Matt Walsh, Kay Warren

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Yesterday, I tweeted this after hearing of Robin Williams’ death by suicide:

https://twitter.com/JamesHartline/status/499020239427100673

I asked him if he considered depression to be sin?
His response:

https://twitter.com/JamesHartline/status/499028075225812992

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We had more exchanges, he refused to answer my question.
I also got a personal e-mail from someone who had recently gone through postpartum depression and loss. She, too, was seeing heartless comments about suicide and the sin of depression.
***
And then this article from Matt Walsh came through my Facebook feed this morning: Robin Williams didn’t die from a disease, he died from his choice

Here’s an excerpt from Walsh’s article:

So I’m just like you, then, because I can’t stomach the thought of it. I’ve seen it in the neighborhoods where I’ve lived and the schools that I’ve attended. I’ve seen it in my family. I’ve known adults and kids who’ve done it. I’ve seen it on the news and read about it in books, but I can’t comprehend it. The complete, total, absolute rejection of life. The final refusal to see the worth in anything, or the beauty, or the reason, or the point, or the hope. The willingness to saddle your family with the pain and misery and anger that will now plague them for the rest of their lives.

It’s a tragic choice, truly, but it is a choice, and we have to remember that. Your suicide doesn’t happen to you; it doesn’t attack you like cancer or descend upon you like a tornado. It is a decision made by an individual. A bad decision. Always a bad decision.

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This is what I posted on my Facebook status today:

I’m reminded of the story of Lazarus’ death. Jesus could have raised him from the dead immediately. Instead he saw Mary and Martha and offered comfort to them. I want to have the tender heart of Jesus for hurting people.

I’m aware of 3 suicides in the past couple of weeks. A 15-yr old son of a well-known Christian leader, a mother of 2 in Oregon, and now Robin Williams. We don’t know what was so painful in their life that they chose to end their life prematurely, but there are people all around us who are in pain and could use someone to weep and mourn with them as Jesus modeled for us.

A lot of Christians blame mental health issues on sin. The people I know who have mental health issues have been harmed deeply by others through various kinds of abuse. Sometimes these folks need a little extra tender care and a listening ear. To blame suicide on “sin” is heartless and not very loving. We can do better.

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We can learn from Kay Warren, wife of popular pastor, Rick Warren, whose son, Matthew committed suicide has responded to these tragedies:

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Let us have the heart of Christ for those who suffer pain and loss.  The world is watching us. The world needs a Christ-like response to pain, not judgment and condemnation.

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209 thoughts on “Christian Response to Suicide”

  1. JeffB,

    Your heartfelt, clear words, gave me the courage to say what little I did. Thank-You again.

    Julie Anne, I am so grateful to be here at your blog. Hugs to you also.

    Like

  2. As a endless struggling to survive believer in God through His Eternal Light and Living Word Jesus Christ, I have heard so many Christians claim, that when someone commits suicide that person’s soul goes to hell. Thus, they as unjust judges pass the final judgment on such a person, not knowing the endless pain that the person no longer could endure.
    Therefore, based upon the truth of God’s Eternal Living Word, by starting with Micah 3 v 1 to 4, James 2, and 1 John 3 v 15 to 19, (which are but just a drop of God’s Truth), there are many Christians who end their lives because they were already spiritually murdered by those who deceitfully claim to be Christians and followers of God. These are they that believe in God as the demons do, but they do not serve God in deed and in truth.
    As believers in God, they want to be the self-righteous receivers from God, not knowing what serving God is all about. By believing and serving God as a servant, one becomes not a receiver, but one then becomes a giver as God supplies. This saying, with the righteous and Graceful gifts of God, His true servants and followers must serve those who are in need with God’s Perfect Love. Thus, not being masters of greed, but being His servants by sowing fruitful seeds in Spirit and in Truth. ( Matthew 5 v 20, Psalm 12, Psalm 49, Proverbs 21 v 13, Proverbs 28 v 27, Isaiah 58 v 6 to 11, Matthew 25 v 31 to 46, Luke 10 v 30 to 37, Luke 16 v 19 to 31, and much, much more.).
    On my last leg of my earthy body life, struggling to survive and just longing for the crumbs that fall from the rich man’s table, daily I experience the pain how Christians pluck off my skin and the flesh from my body. With greed, they eat my flesh and break my bones, and chop my bones to pieces as for the pot, becoming what God claims them to be in 1 John 3 v 15 to 17.
    Being drained and extremely tired of years of suffering, my mind has planted the seed of suicide. Being a believer in God with continuous pleading and crying before Him, should I end my life, it will not be because of so called depression, it will be because of physical and spiritual oppression and murder from those who falsely claim to be children of God.

    Like

  3. Daisy,
    Thank-you for authoring this piece and sharing it with all of us. What an excellent piece of writing from your heart in ministering and helping all of us, including myself, in understanding suicide. I believe you have pointed out the “heart of man growing cold” as spoken of in 2 Timothy 3:1 concept in such a way that the average every day person can understand……if they truly desire to understand, that is.

    This is exactly “how” ministry works, when we can be authentic about the human condition in understanding one another through our shared experiences, in offering each other hope through the greatest gifts of all…..”but the greatest of these is love.”

    Please keep writing Daisy……..you are ministering to me and I love you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thank you, Katy.
    I know Julie Anne sometimes blogs about mental health topics.

    I just find so much of Christian writing (on other sites, or from churches) to be very bad on this subject.

    Many Christians don’t understand suicidal ideation, anxiety, or depression (or other psychological problems), or the solutions they present are just so off base. I think many Christians do more harm on some of these topics than good.

    And I’m shocked when any time news hits of a celebrity who committed suicide, there shortly after appears a lot of editorials (usually by Christians, but sometimes by secularists) who INSULT the victim!

    I really don’t see how it’s loving to speak ill of someone who was hurting so bad emotionally/ psychologically that they took their own life, but it happens all the time. After a celebrity suicide, you’ll see people write that the person was a coward, selfish, weak, etc. It sends a poor message to those of us who’ve dealt with suicidal ideation for a long time.

    Like

  5. I think this is a secular source, but the advice is ten times better than the standard, naive, boiler plate Christianese advice usually given, such as,
    “If you don’t feel joy but feel suicidal, you need to read your Bible more and trust in Jesus! Or, you need to accept Jesus because a “saved” person cannot feel suicidal but only inner pace!”
    (gag me)

    _Practical Advice on How to Help A Depressed (Possibly Suicidal) Friend by C. Madden, PhD_

    Like

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