Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Suicide and Eternal Damnation: Who Is Going to Hell?

posted by Beyond Blue

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Group Beyond Blue member SurvivorForce started a discussion thread called “Are we damned if we commit suicide?” at Group Beyond Blue on Beliefnet’s Community. He wrote:  

I have heard that some believe suicide is unforgivable, and that God will condemn a person if they commit suicide.
Does God not know that we are human, with limits, with needs to escape, and our endurance is maxed?
Is it really a sin, or is it a way of coping with an impossible world that has imperfect solutions to imperfect problems?

I have wondered that question so many times. My former therapist told me that, with her religious clients, she would often stroke a depressive’s fear of hell and eternal damnation as a motivator for hanging in there. It was somewhat successful with me. I was afraid that if I took my life my soul would be trapped in a purgatory of sorts, saddled with the same issues I have now and unable to move on. 

But I can’t see how God would punish people like my godmother, my Aunt Mary Lou, who simply ran out of hope. I choose to believe that God embraces those persons who, in my opinion, died from their illnesses just as cancer victims died of theirs, that God would show them nothing but loving compassion since he knows how much they suffered, and that they merely wanted the pain to end. 
The Catholic Church once condemned all those who took their lives to hell. But they have changed that. Paragraphs 2280 to 2283 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church say this: 

Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obligated to accept life gratefully and preserve it for his honor and the salvation of our souls. We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. 

Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God. 

If suicide is committed with the intention of setting an example, especially to the young, it also takes on the gravity of scandal. Voluntary co-operation in suicide is contrary to the moral law. 

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. 

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.


One of the most compassionate and educated voices about suicide in the Catholic community is priest and bestselling author Ronald Rolheiser, who devotes a column every year to this issue. Following is one such reflection: 

Every year I write a column on suicide because, among all forms of death, it’s still the one we struggle with the most. How can suicide happen? What makes a person take his or her own life??? 

Suicide, no doubt, is the most misunderstood of all deaths and leaves behind a residue of questions, guilt, anger, second-guessing, and anxiety which, at least initially, is almost impossible to digest. Even though we know better, we’re still haunted by the feeling that suicide is the ultimate act of despair, a deed that somehow puts one outside the family of humanity, the mercy of God, and (in the past) the church’s burial grounds.?? 

When someone close to us commits suicide we feel both pain and shame. That’s why suicides are often not reported publicly. An obituary is more likely to say that this person “died suddenly”, without specifying the cause of death. This reticence to admit how our loved one died speaks deeply about both the pain and shame that we are left with after the suicide of a loved one. To lose a loved one to death is painful, to lose a loved one to suicide is also disorienting.?? 

What needs to be said about suicide? A number of things need to be re-iterated over and over again:??

 First, that suicide, at least in most cases, is a sickness, a disease, a terminal illness that takes a person out of life, as does any terminal illness, against his or her will. In essence, suicide is death through emotional cancer, emotional heart attack, emotional stroke. That’s why it’s apt to say that someone is “a victim of suicide”. Suicide is a desperate, if misguided, attempt to end unendurable pain at any cost, akin to throwing oneself through a window and falling to one’s death because one’s clothing is on fire. Suicide is an illness, not a sin.?? 

Next, those left behind when a loved one commits suicide should not unduly second-guess themselves, anxiously examining over and over again what they might have done differently, why they weren’t more present, or how they somehow failed the one who committed suicide. Part of the anatomy of the disease is precisely the pathology of distancing oneself from one’s loved ones so that they cannot be present to the illness. When a loved one commits suicide we can’t help but ask ourselves: “If only I had been there! Why was I absent just on that morning?” But we weren’t there precisely because the person committing suicide did not what us to be there and picked the moment, the venue, and the means precisely with that in mind.?? 

Besides, we’re human beings, not God. People die from accidents and illnesses every day and all the love and attentiveness in the world sometimes cannot not prevent someone we love from dying. Suicide is a sickness and, like cancer, sometimes cannot be cured by any amount of love and care. Knowing this isn’t an excuse to rationalize our failures, but it can give us some consolation in knowing that it wasn’t our neglect or inattentiveness on a given day that led someone we love to suicide.?? 

Finally, we should not have undue worry and anxiety over the eternal fate of our loved ones who commit suicide. Why not??? 

First, in most cases, as we know, suicide victims have cancerous problems precisely because they are over-sensitive, wounded, too- bruised to be touched, and too raw to have the normal resiliency needed to deal with life. Their problem is not one of pride and strength, but rather of shame and weakness. What drives them to do this act is not the arrogance of a Hitler, but the weakness of an illness.?? 

That’s why we can make a distinction between “falling victim to suicide” and “killing oneself”. The former is done out of illness, the latter is done out of pride. On the surface they might look the same, but there’s an infinite moral distance between being too bruised to continue to touch life and being too arrogant to continue to take one’s place within it.?? 

And God, more than anyone else, understands this. God’s understanding and compassion are much deeper than ours and God’s hands are infinitely gentler than our own. If we, in our imperfect love and limited understanding, have some grasp of this, shouldn’t we be trusting that God, who is perfect love and understanding, is up to the task and that our loved ones are safe in God’s hands and God’s understanding??? 

Any faith that connects itself to a God worth believing in doesn’t have undue anxiety as to what will happen when God, finally, face to face, meets a bruised, gentle, over-sensitive, wounded, ill, struggling soul. Indeed, we have many scriptural references as to what happens, namely, God, who can descend into any hell we can create, goes straight through our locked doors, enters into the hell of our paranoia, illness, and fear, and gently breathes out peace.

You can read Ron Rolheiser’s other reflections on suicide by clicking here. 


To read more Beyond Blue, go to www.beliefnet.com/beyondblue, and to get to Group Beyond Blue, a support group at Beliefnet Community, click here.


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Lynn

posted August 29, 2008 at 12:18 pm


I believe People just get tired,for what ever reason, they are exausted by their job of living , so to speak. They need rest and to be where nothing negitive exists. This world can be so very taxing, so very critical, so very negative. Hope springs eternal, at least that is what they say.I say hope is the elusive butterfly, some may catch it , others do not. I pray that those that have gone seeking rest find it thousand fold, to all that remain may the elusive butterfly land upon you often throughout your life and stay for extended visits.



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nillawafer

posted August 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm


suicide leaves those behind in the worst place. we worry “is he okay?” or “is he in heaven or resting in a peaceful place?” if he is resting in a peaceful place, is that all i have to do to escape the pain and daily mundane drudgery of living? he avoided prison and possibly rape as he was a small man and had talked of childhood sexual abuse in his last year of life.
after my husband’s suicide my daughter attempted several times. she became a cutter and cut herself up, too. she has a big x scar over her heart.
my son has expressed at times fantasies of ending his life in a violent way.
i almost died when a falling rock crushed my skull when i was twelve. i remember the peaceful place calling to me, but my father found me and hauled me out of the mountains. ouch! i was screaming “let me die!” how much i would rather have gone on to that other place. no pain. so i know how the desire to end the pain feels. that temptation to go that place is always there, so but i have the word “hope” in big playful letters above my kitchen sink as a reminder that we can never know when the tides may turn and joy return. my mother, who survived the scorn of her nazi neighbors always says she sticks around to see what will happen next. she is curious!
i don’t believe we could go to a hell to be punished for suicide, but i imagine a soul could go through a “purgation” or “hospital” of sorts where it could work out the pain that was felt and understand another way to cope and the pain and existential confusion caused for those left behind.



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marilyn

posted August 29, 2008 at 2:50 pm


this is a question i deal with alot in my life.some days i get so tired i dont feelas if i can go on anotherday.but all i ever here is that same thing if yoy commit suicide your damed to hell.not that i dwell on the subject but i just always feellike that is what keeps me fighting the fear of Gods rejection so i quess not really knowing maybe what saves some peoples lives.



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Stephen Joseph Sciucco Sr.

posted August 29, 2008 at 4:03 pm


hello to anyone who relate 2 this story i am/was a happily married man/parent 21 years ! my wife who i love more than anything asked 4 a seperation in may i was/am devastated she is doing ok? since this time i have been depressed beyond words my wife /friend/lover has had other thoughts not uncommon as i am told. but 4 me the end of my world? i have not been able 2 recover it is august the worst summer i have ever exp what do i do ? i love being married i cook /clean/work/etc im a good man worship my wife she is a wonderful person/mother/friend but is 47 years old and not happy at home her career has consumed her unfortunately my fault/her fault or any fault at all what can i do im 50 yearsa old and in need of good company i miss her dearly we still live together but only as room mates help me please. thanx 4 listening a very sad and lonely man on a friday afternoon b4 a holiday weekend any advice .



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Ann

posted August 29, 2008 at 7:55 pm


Stephen, You are in a difficult and complicated place right now. My husband left me after 23 years of marriage. I thought my life was over. I am here to tell you that I survived and so can you. I think it would be difficult to continue to live together if she wants to end your relationship. I think you need to get a good counselor ASAP. I attended a Divorce Care class at a church in town and it really helped. After the initial shock wore off I made myself get out and start doing things. I ended up meeting the person I am married to now. We have been married for seven years. There is life after divorce. This holiday weekend you really need to get out and be with friends or family. Don’t just sit home by yourself and dwell on things.
On the subject of suicide, I have been that low and Praise the Lord my suicide attempt was not successful. It has almost been one year since my attempt and I am back to feeling really good. Depression and mental illness run in my family. My youngest brother committed suicide back in 1993. I had a hysterectomy and went off of my antidepressant. Not a good combination. The antidepressant I was on had horrible withdrawal side effects. I just couldn’t seem to find any relief from my depression. We tried many medications. We tried light therapy. We tried hormone therapy. Nothing was helping. I had had to quit my job because of the anxiety and depression. I was afraid to be alone. I was afraid to go out in public. I was even afraid to see my own kids and grandkids. Finally two doctors had mentioned ECT (electro convulsive therapy or “shock therapy”) to me and I had thought it was a stupid idea. It even made me mad but I got to the point that I was so desperate that I would try anything. So I began ECT and Praise the Lord it worked for me. I have a little memory impairment but it has been well worth it. Without it I don’t think I would be alive today. My suicide attempt was because I could see no hope and I was totally nonfunctional and in so much emotional pain. It is hard for anyone that hasn’t been there to understand. The best thing you can do for someone who is depressed is to get them help.



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Stephen Joseph Sciucco Sr.

posted August 30, 2008 at 7:47 am


thank you very much 4 your insight i really do appreciate it.



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Anonymous

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:18 am


This is an issue I had to address over and over with my son and his circle of friends after one of their number committed suicide at thirtten. I well remember the anguish in their young voices when one of them would actually voiice the fear of M being in Helland suffering for all eternity primarily because he couldn’t ask for forgiveness for that final desperate act. I told the boys that while I did believe that suicide was a sin, I also thought G-d understood that it was also a manifestation of illness and that I personally couldn’t picture a loving, merciful G=d punishing a sick individual by damning him to Hell. It didn’t make me very popular with some of the other parents who thought differently, but it DID seem to comfort these poor eigth graders who were so broken by M’s final choice. I can recall asking another mother if she could see herself punishing her son for being sick if he got a bad case of chicken pox that couldn’t be healed. In my mind, our own parental love pales beside God’s, so if we couldn’t punish illness, how could He? I still believe that. As mortal parents, everything we feel and do emotionally for our children is only a shallow imitation of God’s love and grace towards us. How can ANY parent believe capacity for love and forgiveness outclasses the very author of those attributes? In addition, since Christ already paid the ultimate price for ALL of our sins, how could G-d single out suicide alone as unforgiveable or not covered by grace? Families and friends of those who take their own lives have ENOUGH pain to deal with without having this issue hanging over their heads, and yet someorganized religions insist on throwing this particular log on the fire!(pun intended)Is it not also sinful for us to elevate ourselves to a position of “topping G-d’s great love for us?



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Cathy

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:51 am


I struggled with this yet again this week and a friend from my online support group pulled me back from the despair. As I’ve written here before, I never had these problems prior to the anti-depressant Paxil. Before then I always found strength and suicide was just simply not part of my language, and I knew how to laugh and feel genuine moments of happiness in the midst of despair. But this drug so screwed up my brain and body that I don’t know how much longer I will be able to hold on. The physical withdrawal alone left me exhausted, followed by months of akathesia, insomnia, crippling anxiety and adrenaline rushes that went from day to night. Would God condemn me for taking my own life? I don’t know. All I know is that right now he’s not listening to me and I am truly in despair. I don’t see an end to this.
A young girl committed suicide one night about a month ago. I believe she was 19. She had been placed on an AD for mild anxiety and she began to deteriorate. The doc kept upping the dose and one night she was sitting at her computer getting ready for bed. At some point she decided to just get up and hang herself with an electrical cord. No note, nothing, no indication that this was going to happen. According to her parents, she had not been suicidal prior to taking this drug. I don’t believe this precious child is going to hell. I have read about too many of these stories. So many lives lost in this manner as a result of these drugs — thousands now, young and older. How could God condemn these people to hell forever?
My mom was a schizophrenic who committed suicide at the age of 39. Although she was not in my life past the age of 9 and me and my siblings lives with her for three scary years, somehow in spite of my fear I always felt that she was in great pain. I heard about her suicide when I turned 21. I’ve thought about it many times and about my own feelings for my mom who couldn’t be a mom. I thought about her parents — my grandparents — who I had the misfortune to spend a decent amount of time with. I believe my mom was an abused child and I think there was a possibility that her father sexually abused her. She had two sets of twins a year and three days apart — a pretty difficult feat for one so fragile, and this is when the mental health problems started. She was blessed with a gorgeous voice and was also a gifted pianist. She never used these gifts for the benefit of the world. I don’t know why, but I suspect this, too, had something to do with her parents. I used to watch her from a doorway or hide behind a chair, and listen to her play Grieg and Chopin. A 6-year-old child knows when someone is happy. She was happy in those moments, really happy.
No, I don’t believe my mom is in hell. She suffered too much in life for God to let her continue to suffer in eternity. I am glad that the Church is finally becoming compassionate about many things. How different from the rigid one-step-wrong-and-you’re-a-goner mentality. I went back to Sunday mass last July and I’ve done a lot of reading of the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles and the Letters, and I see so much love and compassion. I have to admit to being selfish — I need some of this love and compassion and help to come my way.



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Iris Alantiel

posted August 30, 2008 at 10:05 am


Here’s what I believe: suicide is actually not a way out. I understand why people do it, believe me. I’ve considered it at my most depressive times. But I believe that whatever is blocking us is happening for some reason, and we don’t get a detour – if we kill ourselves to escape it in this life, we’ll still have to deal with it in some form at the next stage. Eventually, there’s no way around the painful circumstances of this life except through them. If someone you love has been lost to suicide, they’re not forever lost like the Church once taught, but I do believe that they will have to find a way to deal with whatever prompted their actions. It helps them learn and become stronger souls, so it’s a good thing. I believe.
Also, as someone who’s had that kind of depression, I do believe in Hell. It’s the place depressive people are trying to get out of – that place where hope, love, support, peace, and God seem utterly impossible. I’ve been there. I don’t think anybody deserves that for eternity. Eternal damnation needs an expiry date.



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Anonymous

posted August 30, 2008 at 12:59 pm


Cathy,
Like many of my fellows here on Beyond Blue, I subscribe to the belief that death is not the real goal of suicide; these people just want some relief from the pain they’re in. Unfortunately, they chose a permanent solution to what may well be a temporary problem, one from which there is no returning for a change of heart. Having first considered suicide as a ninth grader, I DO understand how deep that pain can run and how impossible relief seems in terms of continuing to live. It’s a frightening state in which to live, but like the previous post, I can’t believe that God could sentence one of his beloved children to that kind of eternity,ESPECIALLY after sacrificing his only begotten son to pay for our sins.



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Lou

posted August 30, 2008 at 9:24 pm


This is very interesting reading! I think many of us have toyed with thoughts of suicide in our lowest moments. As someone recently posted, being mired in depression IS being in hell….lonely, isolating, dark, and scary.
I’m very comforted by what Father Benedict Groeschel (sp?) has stated on of his televised programs. I don’t know exactly when this show of his was aired, but a viewer called in with questions about the fate of a family member or friend who had committed suicide. Father Groeschel, a very loving and comassionate man, said he believed what Sister Faustina has said in her diaries….that Jesus told her that He calls to everyone at the moment of death and offers them His Divine Mercy.
I believe this too and it sure helps me through the darkness. Also, I’m so grateful I stumbled upon this blog tonight…what a blessing. We may not be able to control our moods and feelings but we are NOT alone as we slog through the darkness and uncertainty. Many thanks to all of you for sharing and inspiring me to do likewise. I was feeling so alone and defeated just moments before reading the posts before mine and now I feel rather cheerful…and in GOOD company! Praise be to God for His tender mercies. Thanks again, Lou



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Ann

posted September 1, 2008 at 10:59 am


Cathy,
I too was in great despair after discontinuing an antidepressant. Mine was Effexor XR and it has a horrible withdrawal for many people. My brain could not seem to heal from it and I continued in misery and despair for over a year. I also had a lot of extreme anxiety and was nonfunctional. I took an overdose last September which was unsuccessful and now I am glad I am still alive. I tried many different things as I said in my previous post, different antidepressants, hormonal therapy, counseling, psychiatric hospital stays but ECT was what finally got me back. It doesn’t work for everyone but it really worked well for me. If you have tried everything and nothing has worked you might want to consider ECT.
Ann



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Barbara

posted September 1, 2008 at 11:01 am


Iris — I agree with your statement. My counselor during one of my periods when I toyed with suicide as an escape from all the pain I was in asked me why he thought that dying would put an end to it. He gave me his opinion that we would still be the same people after death, and have to deal with the problems we faced in life.
The Catholic idea of purgatory fits into that idea – that the troubled soul is not yet ready to enter the Presence of God. Purgatory is meant to prepare us for that moment. We commonly see it as punishment, but it is said that the souls experiencing purgatory also have joy because they know they will enter the Presence of God.
I like CS Lewis’ “Great Divorce,” which puts for the idea that we are still who we are after death, and that we must make the choice to leap into the merciful “arms” of God. The same things that hold us back in our earthly lives, must be overcome to receive Mercy when we die. A good reason to deal with things this side of the Pale.



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Randy

posted September 1, 2008 at 11:23 am


I just had to jump in here and say that depression for the most part of humanity is due to what we are thinking . I totally agree that your brain chemistry can get unbalanced . I truly believe that life experience’s can cause emotional let down,i.e.,depression .
For the great masses of humanity , I personally believe it is what we tell ourselves in our thinking . Out point of view .
Another thing , in America where we have so many luxuries . We forget what we do have and are not experiencing happiness and joy .
What we American’s have is a plentiful food supply . There are thousands of people in the Philippine’s that get to eat 2 or 3 times a week .
There are people in the Philippines that die because they do not have a doctor that can cure their child’s dengue fever .
There are small islands that do not have any stop lights not to mention food .
What you think is wired to how you feel , how you feel is linked to what you do , what you do is linked to your outcome , your outcome is linked to your situation . Change what you think and your situation will change .



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ilibertyi

posted September 1, 2008 at 1:32 pm


No matter how much I change my thinking, I will still have manic-depression. I use all the tools in my mental tool box, but unfortunately, sometimes the problem is my mind. The very thing I need to use to be well is what’s sick. Hard to think that away.
I think as Christians, we are forgiven for all our sins whether it be gossip, theft or suicide. God cannot damn his child for being in pain. He can only welcome him into his presence and into his loving arms. I don’t believe in purgatory, but I do believe that hell is when and where we are separated from God. Depression surely does that.



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Bob

posted September 1, 2008 at 5:18 pm


Today (Labor Day) marks the one year anniversary when I was shot at by a drunken attorney shooting off guns in his back yard. I was driving to the the pizza place to get a pickup for my family get together. It is still amazing to me that the bullet did not hit me – it should have gone right through my head, based on the bullet hole in the back window of my truck.
For awhile, I had hoped that this was a message of new hope, renewal and change in my life. Unfortunately, most things are even worse than before. I feel spit upon by the world in spite of my efforts. You know, if that bullet had gone through my head, my son would have the insurance policy to go to college, and my wife would have good care in a nursing home. I am still waiting for a word, a sign from God that I was spared for a reason, not to continue being beaten down by an evil world.



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Ann

posted September 1, 2008 at 7:16 pm


Randy,
You are talking about a totally different type of depression. You evidently have never experienced the kind of depression that some of us on here are talking about. Someone could have walked in and handed me three million dollars when I was severely depressed and I would have still been just as depressed as I was before that. When you have your brain chemistry messed up – positive thinking is just not going to get it. The depression that causes suicide is a disease just like cancer or diabetes, etc. The fact that we are Americans and have so many luxuries does not have anything to do with it. I hope you never learn what this type of depression is like. There is no way to describe it so that other people can understand it who have not experienced it or have not had family members experience it.
Ann



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John Burrell

posted September 1, 2008 at 8:46 pm


I believe the reason Jesus never spoke on this subject is because He knew those of us who suffer with depression do not need one more worry to concern ourselves with. I think any therapist who thinks it would be a successful tool is sadly mistaken, and the patient would be much better served with a simple, but truthful, “I don’t know.”



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Larry Parker

posted September 1, 2008 at 10:24 pm


Randy:
I **think** I know what you are trying to say, but your words come across as incredibly condemning and kicking people when they are down.
I **hope** what you are trying to say was this:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/06/magazine/06suicide-t.html



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Lori

posted September 3, 2008 at 12:42 am


I think that article by that priest was excellent.



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Patti

posted September 4, 2008 at 1:04 am


I’ve been in that state of mind three separate times in my life. Feeling,at first,ashamed for wanting your life to end,selfish for knowing the pain it would case your loved ones……to REALLY believing that your loved ones and the world in general would be so very much better without you and your problems in it.I had genuinely convinced myself that being alive was causing my loved one extreme pain..To me that’s what is so terrifying,to honestly believe my death would really be the solution.
Three suicide attempts,three failures….(of which I am thankful!) I decided that He has plans for me and will by no means let my out of here the easy way!
In my heart I believe and I know !!! that G*d knew how very ill and beaten I was and had any of my attempts had suceeded(at the time) I knew he would have embraced me and forgiven me! For he is a loving and forgiving God!
That is also what I got out of the above article by priest Ronald R.



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Janet Wendt

posted September 4, 2008 at 8:14 pm


Fifteen years ago, my 28 year old son took his own life. A brilliant, intelligent, well educated person, he was depressed obviously, but we did not know how much, until after he put a gun to his heart. At his funeral, the priest emphasized that God forgave Lee for the suicide, but now we have to learn to forgive ourselves. This phrase has run through my head many many times over the years, and has been a great comfort to me.
It is my understanding that when a person is bent on suicide, it is like a horse with blinders on, seeing no way out but the suicide. A really tragic situation, believe me.



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Randy

posted September 8, 2008 at 10:12 am


Our founding pastor once said in a sermon that “Certainly suicide is a sin. However, if the very last act you committ in life is a sin, that doesn’t automatically condemn you to eternal damnation. We are all sinners. Jesus Christ payed our debt through his death and resurection,and the belief in Him is our gateway to heaven.”



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Michael

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:19 am


Thank you, all, for your articles and comments on this subject matter. These bring tears to my eyes and a large lump is lodged in my throat.
I’m being treated for major depressive disorder…the many thoughts & feelings I’ve been having are overwhelming and confusing…I’d wake up every day asking myself: “is the nightmare over?”…Take good care of yourselves!



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Sharon Slater

posted September 8, 2008 at 12:07 pm


The confusion I see on this subject of suicide if one believes in the Bible is….We are to have faith in the Lord in all things. If the world becomes more than we can bare we are to give it to God. I have done this many times and when I do the resolution comes to me. Not always right away as God is never late and sometimes just in a nic of time. But sometimes God says “No” which is something many do not understand, claiming God never answered their prayer. When God says No, there is a reason. We must have faith and wait for the answer.
Suicide is not having faith in our Lord. We must keep our faith through the toughest of times.
My sister committed suicide with legal pain drugs. She’d been ill for nearly 10 years from a blotched surgery. She was not mentally ill, she was just tired of hurting. My sister did not believe in faith in the Lord as I do. She did not have Faith the Lord could heal her, at least enough to live a normal life. I tried to tell her to pray for healing as the Lord healed me from a condition that afflicted me at age 25, and today I am 63. Doctors said I would live a short life. The Lord proved them wrong. It’s all about faith. Have Faith in the Lord and Believe in his son Jesus, and repent for our sins, as the Lord knows we are weak. That is all the Lord askes of us. Perhaps if the suicide person asked the Lord to forgive them before taking their own life, they will go to heaven.
It is clear in the Bible, Believe Jesus died for your sins and have faith in all situations, repent for your sins, and you will rise on judgment day. Those who do not belive will rise 1000 years after Believers for judgement but will not live with believers. Suicide is not believing, and having faith in the Lord. If we suffer here it is not because the Lord has forgotten us. He makes it clear it is Satan that rules this world. If we live in Satans ways, we become Satans child. If we have faith in the Lord and never stop believing and trust the Lord, we are Gods child and our suffering will end with our reward of heaven. I believe suicide is when we let ourself be Vulnerable emotionaly to Satan, when our faith is weak, and Satan takes over. Those who commit suicide really do not want to die, they just want to stop hurting. Constant prayer will eventually stop the hurt. It is all about faith and the will to keep Satan out of our life. Yes God forgiives sin, but God wants us to have faith, and suicide is saying you have no faith in God, or you become so weak you give in to Satan.
I don’t know the answer, for only the Lord knows, but this is what the Bible says to me.



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Rev. David Lannan

posted September 8, 2008 at 1:33 pm


I have a hard time with this one. You don’t want to believe that anyone who commits suicide is damned to hell, but by the same token – 1) suicide is failure to trust God to see you through your problems and 2) putting aside the fact that suicide is essentially self-murder, if it were really that simple – everyone would be committing suicide in order to get to heaven more quickly. We don’t know the condition of the heart at the moment a person commits suicide and we are not to judge, but to believe you can pray someone into heaven after they have died is dangerous ground. I struggled with (and still do sometimes) depression – but God has helped me find a way through it – with the help of friends and family, through His comfort and His Word. Sadly, sometimes that is not enough for some people, and many who choose to commit suicide have no faith in God in the first place. Suicide is probably one of the most heart-breaking forms of death because we don’t have all the answers. It is an indication of the need for hope beyond this life that many are not seeing – all they see is how horrible things are in their lives right now. And that is one of the most difficult tasks of people in ministry today – how do you help someone see that there is hope beyond this life, that faith in an unseen God can make a difference? And believe me there are a lot of people out there who are on the brink – you can see it in the faces of our young people, the elderly, hopelessness has no age limit.



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Connie

posted September 8, 2008 at 3:17 pm


In my opinion, and yes it is rather raw, seeing that my brother took his life on Friday, is that “God’s will be done.” If God didn’t think it was your time, something would go wrong or stop it. We are put here to help others….sometimes we don’t know how or why that is, only that we suffer for others, just as God did. My brother was a genuine loving, caring, unselfish individual that was surrounded by hurting people. How do I know they were hurting? They drank every night, and they saw life through rose colored glasses, and they never saw one time that my brother was suffering. It turns out that everyone but myself is in denial that my brother could or would do this to himself, and yet he’s gone. Some of us on this earth, suffer greatly for others, and when you get so buried, you do the unthinkable. My brother has been called selfish and many other things since his death. Yet, it was the only selfish act in his life. A kind hearted loving word from those he cared for, would have changed the ending, but when people are hurting they often are very selfish, so he was not in a good place to get it. Through his death, his friends and neighbors will change, I am sure of it. I’ve made it clear that the booze did not help him. There were signs….and one was my brother finally getting upset over the disrespect from his new wife. He dedicated his life to her,and if he was late from work, he called. If he was early, he called her, if he was at a store he called her to see if she needed anything…….and he called to see why she was late, two nights before he died and she shrugged it off like it was no big deal. She enjoyed the “what she thought of as” jealous attention. Never once thinking, “man he’s really taking this hard, I better find out what’s bothering him.” We are here to serve and love others…..my brother no matter how much of an example he was to others about that, never seemed to be able to get others to give it back. There are reasons for everything and my brother was in search of love….and with God he is.



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javier

posted September 8, 2008 at 5:38 pm


I had luckily a false suicide with my little a loved nephew who couldn’t commit suicide, we were near him and helpled him the next day, nowadays he has changed a lot, he smiles , talks , jokes and do the things a teenager has to do for his only 20 years , I read this and I think the best help we can give in not to adress this subject anymore, quite contrary talk about other matters, and try to be happy and show how you can cope or deal with daily or domestic problems always looking for a solution not independent of the ones who sorruonded us.



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Landa Martel

posted September 8, 2008 at 11:21 pm


I see the different opinions of everyone and i have personally been on the suicidal side I have dealt with depression most of my life due to a chemical imbalance and a crappy childhood. I have struggled through ups and downs and through out I figured god would get me through but yet when I was at my weakest points all i could hear was the devil it wasn’t truly that I believed god wouldn’t help me but that i couldnt hear his voice in my lowest moments. Its the same way an acholic returns to liquer, an addict returns to drugs the only real difference is that in this case when a suicide person gives in to his or her weakness it is most likely to kill them. A suicidal person can not afford a moment of weakness which usually tends to add to the stress and anxiety. When I attempted suicide I remember crying and knowing or believing that i was about to go to hell but I couldn’t change my actions I had to take the risk that perhaps i would get lucky and i would just die and that would be it nothing more nothing less. it is bad enough to feel like you are letting your family, kids coworkers and friends down but to add God to that list is undescribable the guilt only increases your feeling of worthlessness. Is it not possible to fully love god and trust him yet occasionally falter? if a cancer patient struggles with his or her faith it is understandable to most but suicide is not and thats because as I said before mistakes involving suicidal people usually are permanent.



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Connie

posted September 9, 2008 at 10:06 am


You know, it was a lot of things that just “got” to my brother. The last time I spoke with him, he asked me if I took some of the disposable cameras that were left on all the wedding tables. I told him that I was in fact the last person to get there, (because the address was odd) and when I had gotten there, I hadn’t seen any camera other than the ones that I bought 10 minutes before the wedding. I guess only 3 cameras were returned to him. He asked if we had a good time and if the food was good and if “we were happy”. There were no more “mine, I’s” or anything else.
People that shrug off things that “get” to them, are often giving up. Can’t change it, what’s the point in complaining. Complaining gets results…..and although you may think you are putting your “problems” onto everyone else, at least they aren’t all on you and other’s may just come to the rescue to solve the problem.
I’m big on voicing my complaints my hurt my aggrivation and my love. I’m a loud person and I learned long ago, that holding things in, just doesn’t do you or anyone any good.
They have those commercials, about depression, about how it hurts not only you but those around you….and you know, two nights before my brother took his life, my sister who is in California, and I (here in Utah) both started experiencing some rather dramatic symptoms of our own. I could find no reason for the pain and tightness I was experiencing……..so I ran in the kitchen and chewed down an asprin in an attempt to stop a possible heart attack. The tension in my neck still persisted and my stomach got really upset, to the point where I complained to friends. I felt like I had done a major work out and every muscle in my body was ready to burst.
My brother had just gotten married……so I had no good reason to suspect it might be him……but his call after the wedding, his attitude prior, his frequenting out of the way cemetaries and asking me to move by him, were all clues.
My brother was a tall man, and people always picked on him, because of his size and anything he might have done wrong or different. People do that when they are intimidated or insecure in themselves….he should have felt his power, not humliated. When others hurt they try to make you hurt……and all I can say is that people need to be nice and get over the fact that they weren’t born someone else, and that we are all humans…..who wish to be loved and accepted like everyone else.
I miss my bro…..and always keep the memories with me.



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Anonymous

posted September 9, 2008 at 10:38 am


I dont know if you will go to hell but I do belive that god is the judge. When you get to this point in life , life is just to hard to go on with. I can never get ahead going to lose our home .I pray I love the lord but I can’t do this all on my own. I don’t work any more as I,m to sick. So many people tell me that God has something big for me and its going to happen soon. Sometimes soon is not soon enough. Keeptrying to get diabilty and that is so hard. I have tried once to end my life. I just wanted to sleep. I’m getting to that point again in my life. I ask that you pray as I need to know that God is there. thank-you



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Anonymous

posted September 9, 2008 at 10:44 am


well i have frend that is vary sick amd she alwas talkes about her problem im jast thinkig that she is loking for the answers in me so what to do about that i cant help her at all i can jast talk bat i feel worse after that man i feel sory for those poeple that are siking for love and compashone we cant be all doctors to them i say so



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Anonymous

posted September 9, 2008 at 12:32 pm


The Christian faith knows that Jesus took all our sins (past and present) upon Himself to the cross and became our sacrifice to save us all from eternal damnation. Without the shed of blood, there is no sacrifice. (1John3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son for whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.) The sin Adam and Eve committed was a direct command from God telling them not to eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They disobeyed a direct command from God but God gave them a way for forgiveness and He will everyone else. Jesus came to show us all how we should live, but having seen Jesus His disciples still sinned. Jesus explained to them the unforgivable sin in (Matthew 12:31) “On this account I say to YOU, Every sort of sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the spirit will not be forgiven. Who can ever say for sure that someone who committed suicide did not ask for forgiveness before their departure. It is a risky thing to do but I do not believe it’s unforgivable.



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sad and mad

posted September 9, 2008 at 12:40 pm


hi i just wanted to say i had a brother who comitted suicide and i doubt that he was going to hell for it. it’s the pain i feel that he is gone and no one understood that he had an illness depresson. he was bi polar let’s not talk about hell. there are going to be plenty of people there .47 years old with a b*tch of a wife that was a nurse that diden’t even know what meds he was on lol (b*tch). hell maybe she shood go to hell afer cheating on him just to make things worse. it’s funny how much a person can take maybe were already in hell. just look at my life my little brother died . my dad died. my mom had a heart attack. my brother had a heart attack and massive stroke and went into coma just to come out a year later not the same. i stayed day after day in the hospital praying to GOD .right after that my brother killed himself i miss him there is a big hole in my heart. then my neice just graduated ready to go to college 21 years old got killed in a car accident. please then people can’t understand why you can comitt suicide this is hell pain hurt.



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marisol

posted September 9, 2008 at 1:36 pm


I was taught to believe that if you commit sucide that you will go to hell. As I have gotten older and no longer accept everyone else’s belief as my own. I do believe that people who suffer with this disease, cause I do believe that is what it is. Say yo have a really depressed person who commits sucide. In my opinion they are not thinking with a clear head, and how can yo hold someone responsible for something that they did without having the proper judgement. I do believe that if you commit sucide for revenge, or to hurt someone else on purpose, that you do go to hell, which in my eyes is right back here. My opinions might not be the same as always, but I would rather believe that God does not give us just one chance to get it right. I believe we all have been here before, and I’m pretty sure that all of us didn’t live saintly lives. I believe his is so much more understanding then what I was taught to believe when I was younger. God Bless everyone



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Sharri

posted September 9, 2008 at 1:41 pm


Suicide is so sad. And I truly believe the person committing suicide is not realizing there is no turning back once it’s done. Death from earth is forever until the Lord comes. We return to dust until the day of Judgement. I truly believe one does not realize how permenant the act really is. For me I think the realization of death came when I had to put my little doggie to sleep. I cried for 5 years remembering the day, knowing I could never undo his death.



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Ivonne

posted September 9, 2008 at 1:55 pm


I lost my brother few months ago. It hurts I believe that only God will judge we are only humans. Sometimes we do many things that are not right but we are not to judge anyone. Suicide is something very difficult to understand. But what we know is that thinking about those that committed suicide and their lifes we see a number of reasons why they might had triger their decision…To those who are thinking about it I will say; Those who love you will suffer tremendously..I will trade anything for my brother to tell me what he was thinking..I see my parent’s pain and sadness and I can’t fix it.Please there is always someone to talk to..there is always a way to find answers..Just think about it there are people around you that love you.
For those that have lost a loved one..only God will judge and he knows. Take care of yourselves and celebrate the life of your love one.



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scm

posted September 9, 2008 at 2:13 pm


The pastor addressed this during my brother-in-law’s funeral(since there were many Catholics present):
The unforgivable sin the Bible talks about is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Suicide IS NOT an unforgivable sin.
According to The Catechism of the Catholic Church:
2282…Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.
2283…We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives.



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Fern Hiott

posted September 9, 2008 at 4:59 pm


I live very close to suicide after attempting an overdose in 1999. No one knew of my plans, but people did know I was having emotional problems. Since that time I have been in mental hospitals twice. Suicide lives with me and I know how I would try to do it again. I am moving out of the house with my husband because of mental abuse. I am I can live peacefully alone with my self. I have no self esteen, so I hear the little voices that call me stupid and bad all the time. I hope no one lives so closely with suicide.



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PattyAnn

posted September 9, 2008 at 10:49 pm


It’s like this.. Everyone makes mistakes, unfortunately, this mistake is permanent!!!!! FORGIVE



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dwight

posted September 10, 2008 at 10:00 am


I suffer from major depression and hav mae 3 attempts to end my life. I believe God will not damn me to hell. I have tried medicine, therapy ang religion to help overcome feelings of self destruction.The 3 combined have been more helpful and though i do battle with depression still using the resources listed have helped interupt suicide. The hospital did not help,it was like jail so that is one reason I go to Morning Prayer every day just to start the day off right and remember how I lose all control if I go to the hospital. I wish people who condemn someone one committs suicid or attempts it could exprience for a moment what its like to feel there is no hope



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sarah

posted September 13, 2008 at 4:31 pm


After being bi-polar since childhood and going to be sixty in a few months, I have come to have great faith in GOD and Jesus. They are the examples of all mankind. God will forgive us for all, as he is the all and all. The bible says believe in Jesus and God and you will go to heaven. God is a loving God and has forgiven many and will continue. He loves all of his children. We all have our own free will to make decisions. The mentally ill sometimes lose the ablilty to choose. Sometimes I think God chooses us to carry the burden of mental illness and He knows all. He knows our life before we are born and He can forgive us all our sins. Not believing in in Him and Jesus is the only sin that will keep us from entering the Kingdom of Heaven!!!!!



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Michael

posted September 17, 2008 at 11:32 pm


There is no such thing as an unforgivable sin.
The word sin translates to english as mistake,
something we learn from not burn for.
If you read all of the bible you would find
there is no hell. God punishes nor hurts anyone for any reason. Only people do that and mostly to themselves.
http://www.thelastchurch.org
A preacher is the blind leading the blind.
In the mind of Christ,
Michael



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kim

posted September 18, 2008 at 12:46 pm


WOW! This is a great article. I live very close with suicide like Fern (Sept 9th posting) but I am so greatful to finally see that it is an illness. One of my closest friends committed suicide 2 years ago & she was catholic, obviously, I’m not. She & I both had several attempts since we were teens. I am now 40 – she passed at 39. I’ve had my brother tell me that it would be “The most selfish thing I could ever do”. But he doesn’t understand or have to live with the “unendurable pain” & he is not “over-sensitive, wounded or bruised” he has not “Thank GOD” had to live through 1 day in my head. I had distanced myself so far away from anyone & everyone that loved me. So that they weren’t there. I gave all my children up for adoption (I signed the papers to have family members adopt them) because I felt they deserved a better life than I could ever give them. I struggle today because they know I gave them up one just turned 18 she has no Idea that I suffer from anything – other than “selfishness & addiction” which she’s been told. I have not tried to commit suicide since my friend passed because I was able to see everyones (including my own) Pain in loving someone that thought they were so unlovable. I’m obviously not “Cured from this disease” but I know I’m doing better.



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susan

posted September 25, 2008 at 9:45 am


Therese,
Thank you for this. A friend of mine suicided last week, and I still am grieving. It took a few days until I could actually read this post, but I am glad I did.
i am a suicide survivor, came close to clinical death twice from suicide attempts. I have written about them at length, what pain there is in the emergency room, and hospitalizations from it. And recovery.
i still struggle with bipolar, I know I will be on lithium for the rest of my life. I know I will struggle for the rest of my life with suicidal ideation and wanting to go back into that good night. But I fight it. I still have a lot of living to do.



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Juls

posted September 25, 2008 at 9:34 pm


My son took his life, he did because when his girlfriend took hers, he felt responsible. He was not Bi-Polar which is another issue. He was bruised badly. Now I am. I wanted to end my life and tried. Family intervined. My life will never be the same. I wish it was over. My father also took his life I guess 19 years ago. Two years after my mother died. I’m not religious but spiritual and believe in GOD. I still don’t want to be here!!!



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Bea

posted October 1, 2008 at 11:49 am


The Bible says that there are ten commandments and God said if you love me Keep my commmandments. One of the commandments is thou shall not kill, whether it be someone, or yourself. If you don’t keep the commandments you have sinned. If you have sin in your life you will not go to heaven and see God’s face in peace. The only way to get rid of sin is to repent and ask God for forgiveness. If you kill yourself you are dead how can you repent. Read the bible, study it then pray and ask the Almighty God to open your understanding to the word and he will do just that. The bible says that my people are destroyed for the lack of knowlegde. He said if any man lack knowledge ask of it.



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bea

posted October 2, 2008 at 10:21 am


If we would learn to build a strong relationship with the Almighty God and trust him and depend on him and not man who seems to let us down everytime we would not have these feelings or thoughts of suicide. God knows everything, he made us. Why can’t we trust in him. Talk to him daily, get to know him. He understand us and everything we are goin through. he can comfort us in those times that we are feeling lonely and lost and hurt. He loves us. He doesnt want any of us to lost. He died for us. These illnesses and dieases that we have he can heal them, if we just give it to him. He can make us whole and new again. He gave his life that we may have life. Please believe me, just trying him. He can heal mentally and physically.



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Roo

posted October 3, 2008 at 9:03 am


Bea, Yes it’s wrong to take your own life , but that doesn’t mean that a person who does so goes to Hell. I heard a Catholic priest say that if a person asks Christ for forgiveness between the time that the act of suicide takes place & death, that person will be forgiven. Also, Christians do get depressed. Sometimes, it is the result of sin. Other times, it’s a result of clinical depression or bad things that can happen in life. I agree that God can heal depression. If anyone reading this has lost a loved one to suicide, you have my sincere condolences. May the Lord comfort you & heal you. Also, if anyone is considering suicide,PLEASE REACH OUT FOR HELP!! I consider myself blessed that I know that I would hurt a lot of people if I ever killed myself. Take care, Christina



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Elizabeth Seagraves

posted October 3, 2008 at 10:02 pm


The God that I worship knows that He created mankind with the propensity for being weak. After all, we are human, not God, and we share human traits, which make us all weak, some more than others. Loving God with all one’s heart can help make life’s many heartaches easier to cope with, but still can’t take away the agony of some of the things that we as humans are asked to endure. I truly don’t feel that God will send a suicide victim to hell for being unable to deal with the pain of their life. I think that God will look at each person’s life and make that judgement on the merits of their life,and what was in their heart, not on whether or not they committed suicide. God alone knows what caused the victims to do what they did, and God alone will decide whether their torment needs to become eternal, or whether they have hurt enough already. My God is a just God, and He is just to ALL of us, not just the ones who have the fortitude to go the long haul.



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Julia

posted October 4, 2008 at 6:55 am


I myself actually watched my father take a rifle and blow his head off, I and other family members were totally defistated for years. I myself wish to believe that there is an “exception” to those who are mentally ill, our family has a history of bipolar disorder, it is a terrible disorder to live with and it usually is accompanied with substance abuse. But,the other day I was in church and the first thing the pastor said in his sermon is that the devil would trick us into believing that we are an exception and will be permitted into heaven. That confused me, however, I still want to believe that my father is an exception due to his tortured mind and soul.
Any comments are welcome.



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Jann Holladay

posted October 6, 2008 at 5:36 pm


Some of the comments are incredible in their lack of understanding. I am a survivor of suicide. It’s such an odd way to say it, but I’d be what is often called a “failed suicide” in the mental health field. Ironically, or perhaps not, that is also the field I work in. I had that thought, that urge so many times, over years and years. I had a relationship with God and at one time felt very close to Him, but as my life spun out of control, I felt Him less and less. I still prayed, well, as much as I could. Prayer would often spin into anxiety and worry. I’d so often prayed for a change in circumstances or a change in myself, but that didn’t happen. I have struggled with depression since childhood, and it’s not as if my relationship with God was not also part of that picture. The time I actually attempted it was somewhat of a surprise. It was not the worst moment of my life and I probably was less depressed than I had been in the past (I have spent years in such a fog. I remember a year before I finally got on meds that I felt I was following what God wanted but also felt no real sadness and no real joy, I was numb to everything. I’d recognize that I should and usually would have had a certain emotion at various times, but I couldn’t feel anything. The numbness that can come is the darkest depression I know.)
Anyway, when I attempted suicide, the initial spark, the incident that led me there was difficult and sudden but not the worst thing I’d lived through. But, at that point, I’d had enough. I had prayed. I had studied scripture. But, over years and years I didn’t feel things, or me for that matter, change much. I heard all the good, well-meaning people say “God won’t give you more than you can handle.” I don’t see that as a completely Biblical comment anyway, and it often is an attempt by a well-meaning Christian to ease pain. But, for me it just made me feel that God didn’t know me that well at all. In the end, my attempt was not so much about the precipitating event as it was about my relationship with God. I felt that He just didn’t hear me, that He didn’t know that I was past my breaking point. I took the pill. I wrote down everything I took in case it was needed. I did call someone. And, I drifted off until I awoke in the hospital. I had thought that God didn’t recognize that I was past my breaking point, that He had indeed allowed too much for me to bear. I thought it was in His hands, although I did set it up so that I could get help. I left it to God. I thought that I’d either die or that He’d finally help me and change my life, change me. I thought that if I lived through it then things would change. I thought survival meant that God would finally act to lift the burdens I’d been carrying. It was when that show “Touched by an Angel” was popular, and I sort of thought that if I woke up Della Reese would be sitting there, with that glowing light all around, and a real miracle would occur. I felt so desperate that I tried to force God’s hand, to make Him really know how much pain I was in. Then, I woke up and found a psyc tech there, not any real change. It was odd afterwards, but life soon drifted back to “normal.” I did get a dog, and that helped because I felt too guilty to leave her. Maybe that was God’s action. I sort of see it that way because of how she came into my life, but that was months later.
Today I still feel that anxiety, the depression, the quetioning and hurt. I pray when I can but still often feel that God just doesn’t care. I even at times feel He’s “out to get me” for some reason.
I don’t know why God hasn’t delivered me from this. I don’t know why He didn’t deliver my mother from cancer, either. God does not always take away an illness, any illness. I am so glad that for some people it seems that God acts in big ways and that the miracles of their life are very apparent. That also makes such a great story or “testimony.” But, that is not the experience of us all. And, I have been a very committed Christian who studied the word, prayed, even worked in churches for Him. (I think I did have a bit of a maryter complex and thought that God’s will always meant I had to make some great sacrifice and be unhappy, but that by doing that I showed Him I wanted to follow His will. I see it a bit differently now. I don’t necessarily think God’s will is always some difficult thing. I think, for example, that the profession one chooses may feel “right” and not have to be an aweful sacrifice of other dreams. Some of those dreams we have are from God, and we don’t have to seek out suffering.) Anyway, my long drawn out point is that I had a relationship with Him.
I had a relationship with God. (I still do, but it is a bit more complicated as often a child’s relationship with any parent becomes at certain developmental points, as part of the process perhaps of even “growing up” spiritually. But, it still sucks.) I was the poster child for a “good” Christian, whatever that means. And, still, I tried to kill myself. That relationship doesn’t mean we won’t face the same trials as others do. My mother had an amazingly strong relationship with God and did not want to die of cancer. She looked for and longed for and made me ask for a miracle. The cancer wasn’t taken from her. I tried so hard to have enough faith, but we are not perfect and even with great faith bad things happen in this world.
I do not understand the evil and pain in the world. I work with children whose parents have done unbelievable things to them. Sometimes these children have already done unbelievable things to others as a result. I can’t always reach the pain, the brokenness. I cannot see this as part of God’s will or be comforted by a lot of the platitudes people use. I know God is there. I know about His salvation. I do not understand evil. I do not understand at all why it exists or why bad things happen. All the explanations in the world don’t make sense in the end. I just know that God is real and that He created us and redeemed us. The older I get the less I know it seems, but the more I am comfortable with the questions. And, I try to get up and do good in the world as much as I can even while dealing with my own pain and suffering.
Depression and anxiety are not easily understood by those who do not live within it. This isn’t normal “sadness” and may not be sadness at all. I have often described it as living for months and years feeling like you do when you are the most bored. There comes a point where nothing matters much. It’s like being wrapped in cotton. You can sort of feel things or at least recognize what you would normally feel, but there is this insulating force, this “thing” keeping you from the world and from yourself. As in any illness, God can be there and will take whatever action He chooses, but that doesn’t mean that the illness still won’t kill you, just as not all “good” faithful believing Christians recover from cancer.
If it helps any for those who have been the victims of someone else’s “completed” suicide (these are actual terms that are used, so weird), I’ll tell you a bit about those moments.
I had a shock and felt great pain, but then I felt that God really didn’t know He’d given me “more than I could bear.” I actually became really calm. I was very deliberate and felt more rational than I had in a long time. I took all the drugs in the house except my roommates medication for her heart because I didn’t want her to suffer. Because I wanted to live if God decided to change things, I left information for others. I actually wrote down all the drugs I took and the amount of each. I made a list. I made a list of who to call. I asked that my one brother and his wife not be called because I felt they were having their own difficulties right then and didn’t need this added on. (They later felt that I had just not wanted them or not felt they could help.) I thought I was sparing them. Now, that isn’t rational at all. If I had died, they would have had to be told and would have been impacted for life. But, in the moment, I thought I was protecting them. It felt rational even though when examined later it was anything but. I still feel guilty that I almost left my pet rabbit and that I didn’t care enough about him to stop myself, but I did leave instructions about how to care for him. It’s not that I didn’t think about others, it’s that I really was out of my mind at that moment. Once that desire to kill myself, or at least to express to God that He needed to step in if He wanted me to remain on earth, I got calm and felt rational. (yes, I know I “tempted” and “tested” God, but I ultimately felt that He had not acted through so many desperate situations). I just remember how much sense it seemed to make. I remember that I really felt in control and rational but looking back it was just the opposite.
If any of your loved ones did suceed in killing themselves, their brains weren’t working correctly. There was a glitch in that organ, in the brain. The biochemistry somehow got very out of whack. They experienced things that were not at all real, just as I experienced myself as being very rational. I felt everything made sense. I felt I was trying to look out for others. But, it made no sense really. What I experienced was not real, but I felt like I was making really good choices right then. It truly is not something that one can control once a certain point is reached. I’d been more desperate and hurt before, but now it was the weight of years of suffering. I can’t tell you why that moment was the moment I chose, but I can tell you that I now recognize that irrationality better and seek help if I feel that way. But, when I made that attempt, I could not reason myself out of it. And, I was actually praying and talking to God the entire time I prepared. But, the organ that is my mind was not working correctly, just like other organs don’t work correctly at times. When the brain is sick, it impacts one’s sense of self to be sure, but it still is illness.
I can’t tell you anything except a strong relationship with God and lots of prayer do not always prevent suicide attempts. It might have been possible for the concern for someone else to break through and stop me, but I had wrongly reasoned that I was thinking of others. I hurt people and scared them, but that wasn’t my intent. If a loved one of yours has succeeded in taking their own life, understand that is was actually an illness that eventually became out of their control that killed them. I think that feeling so very rational during my attempt was a delusion. I experienced a shock that piled onto years of struggling and praying for things, or me, to change. I experienced a shock when I had suffered for many years from depression. That shock triggered something in my brain to misfire. I’d thought about suicide many times before and felt sadder even, but something about the cumulative effects of my experiences and lifelong depression made me vulnerable. So, when I had those thoughts again, they felt rational. It’s not that I wasn’t praying enough because I prayed then. My ability to reason and to make sound judgements was broken, and I could “will” myself to do differently because my broken brain believed I was doing the right thing. I knew what the Bible says about killing someone. But, I still felt I was doing the right thing. Sure, for me there was even some anger and frustration with God as well, but that delusional state that actually led me to take action rather than just feel the pain was a brokeness of mind, a misfire in the brain, a thing I could not change at that moment anymore than a person can “will” away any other disease. My mother didn’t want to die of cancer, either, and told me to pray for physical healing not for an easy passage into death. But, all the faith that could be mustered didn’t make the cancer go away. She had had medical “miracles” before. You can say all sorts of platitudes about why God let her die, but for me it’s never enough. We humans could not cause a miracle to happen with her cancer and I couldn’t with my suicidality. For some reason, not necessarily ever known to me, I survived.
Please understand that most people at the time they actually go through with a suicide are not thinking clearly and are incapable of changing that. Even for a Christian, it seemed a reasonable and ratonal response to the situations in my life. I tried to spare others suffering but really could not comprehend what impact my actions would have. I have been in that state and can tell you that I absolutely believe that someone is not damned for committing suicide any more than they are damned for dying of cancer, which some people would also say represents a lack of faith. There is a physical reality of illness within the brain. We are just beginning to scientifically understand, but I can tell you that the thoughts and emotions are outside of “normal,” even outside of “normal” for someone with depression. Something misfires, some physical aspect of the brain does not work correctly at that moment. I did sort of tell God I was sorry but at the same time I honestly thought I was doing the right thing, the reasonable thing. This would have been a “sin” that I didn’t recognize as such. I didn’t experience it as necessarily wrong so repentence was not necessarily possible. I thought I was maybe even doing what God wanted; that’s how crazy I got. It’s not about willful sinning and failure to repent.
If Christ died to forgive our sins and completed the act of redemption before any of us were even born, before any of us even sinned, then the words “It is finished” should be of comfort. Grace is not about having “enough” faith, and faith itself is a gift from God, not something we can create within ourselves. (We can do things to foster its growth, but faith is still a gift from God. Christ admonished Thomas, but He also met Thomas in his doubt and gave Thomas what was needed to have more faith. Christ didn’t wait for Thomas to come to Him, he met Thomas right where he was, right there in his doubt. Wouldn’t he met us there, too?) Our sins are forgiven even before we committ them if the words “It is finished” are to be taken to heart. So, even the “sin” of suicide is already forgiven. We can never repent of every sin because we don’t recognize all our sins (and some of them we secretly like). If God only forgives sins we recognize and actively repent of, we are all damned because we do not see our own sins. A person does not recognize they are sinning when they kill themselves.
I still struggle. I recognize that it’s an imperfect world while also recognizing that it is God’s world and that it also has wonderful things in it that I want to see and do. I don’t understand the “why” of many things in life. I accept that I may never understand while on earth. I can’t just cover it all up by saying “It’s God’s will” because I am sure some of the things that happen to the kids I work with are in no way part of His will. There are miracles, and I don’t know why some people experience the big, physical, obvious miracles while others just as faithful don’t. It does seem arbitrary and I express my real feelings, including anger and frustration, to God. He’s big enough to take it, and doing anything else would be to stand before God and lie. I am full of doubt. But, just as courage is not the absence of fear but the reaction in the face of fear, faith is not the absence of doubt either. I don’t believe God needs to be defended, so I don’t talk to too many people about this. Too often people want to rush in and “fix” it either for me or even for God. They seek to explain His choices and His will, but we are just humans. We can and do know parts of the will of God, but we cannot understand it all. It is beyond us. And I, like Thomas before me, stand in my doubt and challenge Christ to meet me there. There is a reason that story made it into the Bible. I expect that Christ does and will continue to meet me in that doubt and give me what I need to have faith as well. I don’t always experience that, but I do believe it.
None of this makes sense, but suicide does not make sense. It is an irrational act of a brain that it not functioning correctly, of a brain where the chemistry is askew, where the connections of impulses between brain cells is not functioning correctly. My sins were forgiven 2000 years ago. That’s when I was saved. It is about His action not about mine. It is grace and faith is the gift that comes through it. I now live with more acceptance of the questions, of the fact that we cannot know everything. We actually know so very little. That is true in all areas but especially with God. We can have a relationship with Him, but that doesn’t mean we can completely understand Him at this point in time. He isn’t just a super-human, He is a different entity than we are. I live with depression while I seek to aleviate it to some degree in my work. I really meet God there. It is easier to see Him and to act and speak accordingly when I look at someone else. I come closer to seeing them as God sees them than I can do with myself. I am broken, but we all are. I will experience death at some point in time; this body will fail at some point. I can’t possibly repent of every sin. And, even when I repent in broad sweeping statements, I cannot free myself from all sin and will not before I die. In the secret recesses of my heart there will always be some sins I sort of like. They might be more minor like breaking the law and speeding, but there are there none the less.I think that’s true for all of us if we are really honest. I can repent of not wanting to repent, but that’s about it. Suicide is illness. I don’t think it results in damnation. Either God forgives us because of His actions and His promises or we are all screwed. If Christ met Thomas in his doubt, why would He not meet someone who commits suicide in their’s?
some people give really easy answers such as “just pray” and think that will “fix” depression. It doesn’t always work that way. Some people actually think that they will be able to repent of everything, even those sins they hide in their hearts, in order to be saved. Some of us have even prayed for forgiveness for sins we may do in the future just to cover our bases. But, is God really looking for ways to “nail” us? Repentence is a means of growing in a relationship and is vitally important, but if something we do or think or feel or believe is what saves us, it will never be enough. Grace is what saves us. Grace is about God’s choices and God’s actions, not about ours. And, it covers us all, takes us in as we are. I think someone who has killed themselves is met on the other side just as Thomas was met in tihs life. God is going to be limited in what He can and will do to meet a person in their pain and doubt by a time factor, by the fact that the person didn’t have time before death to repent? God will be limited by death? God will damn us if we suffer from a brain misfunction that takes us out of this life before we have time to repent? We will be damned because of an illness that makes us think we are doing the rational thing when we aren’t? I just don’t see God as acting that way.
If you haven’t survived your own suicide it must be hard to imagine how screwed up the brain is at that time. It is easy to see it as more of a willful act than something beyond our control. There was a spiritual aspect to my suicide attempt, but I’d been frustrated with God before, and much more so. The spiritual aspect was there because it was a part of my life, even the questions were a part of my life at that time. But, the actual decision and the subsequent actions I took were outside of that. Something literally wasn’t working right, and I actually thought I was doing something that made sense. I was praying and I had studied scriptures but I even experienced the suicide as being okay in some way. It felt “right” and I couldn’t tie it to the Commandments because I was delusional, at least to the degree that I thought I was making a good choice, a wise choice, a rational choice. I know now my brain wasn’t functioning correctly. I can see how irrational I was, but then I couldn’t. There was a point when I was no longer capable of thinking rationally, and exactly what made that different than other times I’d thought about it is hard to say. But, it was different. It was the most irrational thing I’ve done in my life and yet at the time it felt very rational, very “right,” very sensible. People don’t go to hell because of an illness. If you had walked through that valley, you would know that there comes a point where everything you know, even things you know about God, get so turned around that you aren’t responsible in the same way. There may be a time before that when one could pick up on warning signs and do something to stop themselves or to get help, but then the craziness takes over. I felt so in control and I was so nuts at the time.
I have to go. I have crises to deal with today and work to do as well. I hope my comments have helped some of you. I do believe that God welcomes someone who committs suicide with open arms and heals their brokenness and covers them with Grace.



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Anonymous

posted October 9, 2008 at 11:22 am


thanks,i kind of thought the same.how could a loving God damn someone who is sick.this may sound weird,but this is what keeps me going,and living…



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Kimberly

posted October 9, 2008 at 11:42 am


I have to disagree with most of you on this topic…It probably has mostly to do with the way that i was raised, that being by and Assembly of God minister. I was raised on the King James version bible and beleive the Ten Commandments, one of which is ‘Thou Shalt not Kill’. I’ve often questioned whether God makes exceptions for people who have mental illness and so forth and so on , but if we beleive the bible then we believe that if you break a commandment and stand before God not having asked forgiveness for what you have done, then you are not forgiven..Therefore it is my way of thinking that suicides do not make it into the kingdom of Heaven which is sad to me because i have survived family members who have committed suicide…But God said “Thou shalt keep my commandments”. I have to beleive that..So in my opinion if someone takes their own life they have broken that commandment of ‘thou shalt not kill’ therefore not being able to enter into Gods Kingdom.



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Bob Parks

posted October 10, 2008 at 2:40 am


Does the person who kills in self-defense deserve Hell? What about the judge and jury that condemns a man to die for a capital crime? How about a soldier in the line of duty killing an enemy? “So, in my opinion if someone takes their own life (what about the lives of others?) they have broken that commandment of ‘thou shalt not kill’ therefore not being able to enter into God’s kingdom.”
By the way, what about all those slain by Samson, Joshua, Gideon, Saul, David, and the list goes on? Black and white thinking is a deception that allows us to pretend we are above dealing with being human.
I’ve dealt with the families of suicides on many occasions, I’ve done funerals for suicides, I’ve spent time at the bedsides of people who are “failed” suicides, and there is no way I can say that God is going to be so unfeeling and judgmental as to say, “Gee! Sorry that you hurt so awfully bad, but you took your own life. You broke the rules, so you lose!”
Instead, I trust in a God who would understand that that person is not going to Hell but doing his or her darnedest to escape a Hell in which they already felt condemned to live in.
Maybe you will come to love a God who promises that there could be still a reunion beyond this life for you and those you love who have taken their own lives. I know you must feel for them, and know they hurt. I hope you will move beyond a god who is a rigid rule-keeper with the compassion of a computer.



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Marie

posted December 2, 2008 at 8:24 pm


I too am a “survivor” of suicide… and a Christian…but am still in a depressed state. It is not easy to describe why a Christian would have such thoughts… The most probable reason is because we are a more tempting treat for satan. Speaking for myself, my thoughts are constantly troubled not only by past regrets but future realism. It not only slows me down but keeps me from moving ahead. This is where satan gets his jollies and does what he is best at doing which is confusion and deception. It’s a daily struggle, a battle so to speak called spiritual warfare. The evil part parades through minds like a cancer making one think that shame, guilt, depression, the feeling of being forgiven will never come, can’t cope anymore, hopelessness, fear, extreme and soul crushing anxiety, etc. etc. It’s something that sometimes becomes so overwhelming that one starts believing there is nothing that can help them bear the pain anymore. Even the Lord seems too far away and distant and one may start to feel that they have been abandoned even by Him because they are not good enough… more of satan’s special “handiwork”. I don’t know if God forgives Christians who commit suicide because they couldn’t bear the struggle with satan anymore and fell to be massacred by his evil temptations. All I know that going through it is extremely hard and exhausting, more than words can describe… But then again, I am still alive and living to fight another day. But I can certainly sympathize with others going through the same battle. It is not easy.



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Your Name

posted March 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm


Only god can judge these things. i have and continue to struggle heavily with suicide, but i liken it to this…
let’s say you are journeying thru a cave, and along the way there are many different turns you can take. it is dark and you are frightful of what lies ahead, but Jesus is there at each choice softly trying to show you the way to go. but instead of heeding his counsel, you ignore Him and keep heading into places where you know “not”. or maybe someimtes you let Him help a little. you’re getting more lost and hungry, hating yourself for your misery. isn’t life like that? you end up SO lost and SO desperate, and a lot of that pain is just not knowing anything. you are in the dark, there’s so little hope or provision to carry on!
i have been there so many times, you have no idea. i have felt the excruciating pain of suicide contemplation so wrenchingly severe, its only by God’s grace that i’m still alive. life is HARD. MOST people have NO idea as to what goes on with a person afflicted by this, and simply cannot know unless they themselves have dealt with it. Paul i think said to walk circumspectly, which means VERY carefully. would that be like the cave? (of life?
and is it God’s fault when all along the way we continue to refuse Jesus help?
i think the best thing that happened was recently when i prayed for God to remove those demons from me, and He did! hey its not that i am completely FREE of them, they do keep coming back but they do NOT have the hold on me they had for the last few years!
what i’m trying to say is i’m trying to watch my step. let the Lord kindly guide me and walk circumspectly. the snares of satan are all around, and he wont give up trying to deny me a place in Heaven with my loving Father. if i were to take my life, i could end up dying in my sins with NO HOPE EVER. that thought helps me to forge on.
i don’t love my life. i’m tired. i have prayed so many times for God to please shorten my days… but Paul also said we wrestle with spirits and he said to keep running the race. that’s really all we can do, and trust in God.



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Todd

posted October 25, 2010 at 3:36 pm


I think it is clear that thou shall not commit murder is a commandment. As well as not steal, bear false witness, etc. So according to the law we all are sinners. One not being any more sinful than another. So all stand condemned. The wages of sin is death. But there is hope and that hope is in the finished work of Jesus. He became our atoning sacrifice for us on the cross. All we must do is confess with our mouth and believe in our hearts that Jesus is Lord and we are forgiven for all time. There is nothing we can do to undo Jesus’s actions on the cross. Even suicide. If one believes in Jesus as their savior then they have nothing to fear. He knows who is His sheep and God wants us to have that assurance.



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