People are suffering from broken hearts. Even when surrounded by godly people, it is possible to reach a place with so much pressure and pain that you cannot help yourself—you need the Body of Christ to reach out. Instead of casual advice like, “Believe God,” you need someone gracious enough to put an arm around you and say, “We’re standing with you.”
Let’s minister lovingly to hurting people—especially during times of trial, weariness, or grief. We need to realize that insensitive words minister to no one. Such words do not bring life. Let’s pray for and strengthen one another with compassion and fulfill Jesus’ commission to heal the brokenhearted!
—Kenneth W. Hagin
Having a loved one commit suicide is extremely difficult. Surviving family members deal with intensified forms of normal grief (guilt, anger, confusion, and so forth) and frequently feel isolated from others. They may feel shame about the manner of their loved one’s death and not know how to explain it.
Those who would normally offer support to the family may also feel uncomfortable. They may keep their distance due to their awkward feelings and difficulty of not knowing what to say.
Early in my ministry, I was approached by a man who asked my opinion about an ongoing debate with his friend: What happens to the spirit of a Christian who commits suicide? Taking his question at face value, I stressed the mercy of God in my answer.
Little did I know that this active church member would soon take his life. I answered him entirely from an after-the-fact perspective, never realizing his hidden despair. What he needed to hear was information from a preventative perspective.
Had this man revealed his challenges, intervention could have happened. Prayer, counsel, medical help, or other needed forms of support and ministry could have been marshaled to help him overcome the sense of hopelessness and helplessness that plagued him. Support could have made a difference. Instead, his life was cut short, and many people were left hurting and confused.
If Jesus could extend mercy and forgiveness toward those who didn’t know what they were doing 2,000 years ago, couldn’t He also extend mercy today?Tony Cook
Even with intervention, anyone in this situation is still faced with the decision to live. If there is still an opportunity to prevent a suicide from taking place, I strongly believe we should stress God’s will in the matter—life, love, blessing, hope, and purpose. (See the bottom for helpful scriptures.)
Those who have already lost a loved one to suicide have legitimate and sincere concerns. There is no doubt that suicide does not reflect God’s intentions, but those left behind can still look to God for mercy and grace.
Father, Forgive Them
Years ago, I was asked to conduct a funeral in which the family requested me to address suicide. While preparing, I came across a fascinating statement that Jesus made on the cross. He prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do” (Luke 23:34 NKJV). Consider this: If Jesus could extend mercy and forgiveness toward those who didn’t know what they were doing 2,000 years ago, couldn’t He also extend mercy today?
Ultimately, we must leave each person’s eternal destiny in God’s hands. You are not the Judge, and neither am I. We don’t know all that goes on within a person—their pressures, pain, or perceptions. Only God knows. As with any death, we commit the spirit of an individual into the hands of an all-knowing, righteous, and merciful God.
These scriptures are a starting place to help you or someone you know see God’s will concerning suicide and choosing life.
Jeremiah 29:11—God thinks good thoughts about you.
Romans 13:10—Love does not harm others (or self).
First Corinthians 6:19–20—Your body is the “temple” of the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 22:37–39—Love God. Love your neighbor. Love yourself.
Exodus 20:13—Do not kill (others or self).
If stress, depression, and pain have you considering suicide, you are not alone. Please seek resources. There is hope!
For immediate help call 911 or your local emergency number.
We can pray with you. Our Prayer and Healing Center is available at (918) 258-1588, ext. 2980 (Monday–Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CST, voicemail available after hours).
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