I find your article on why suicide is a sin to be completely unsympathetic and untrue

Question:

I feel compelled by God to send you these words of enlightenment.

As a Christian person who suffers from deep depression (on medication and under a doctor's care), I find your article to be completely unsympathetic and untrue. There are many, many other Christian writings out there who contradict what you have written. To me it is once again how the Bible can be twisted to suit anyone's personal opinion. Not only do you condemn those who commit suicide, you offer no real assistance. You have in essence declared your personal beliefs to be those of God himself. I ask you to google "do those who commit suicide go to heaven". You will indeed find more stating that the answer is Yes!

How do you know if this person has prayed for direction and forgiveness before taking his life? God does indeed forgive those who murder. God forgives anyone who asks His forgiveness. Depression is in a way a terminal disease with no real cure.

Apparently you are not well versed on depression or those who suffer from it. It saddens me to know this article came from someone claiming to know and spread the word of God. The Bible states clearly that those who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized are indeed saved and will go to heaven. The fact is people sin every day. People also die suddenly every day without the ability to ask God for forgiveness at their time of death. I'm speaking of car accidents, fires, and so on. So basically your writing of this article is saying this person may not go to heaven because he did not ask for forgiveness of his sins prior to his death. Blasphemy! Shame on you! You may know the word of God. You may share the word of God. But in no way can you be 100% sure who and who will not go to heaven.

God forgive you for this twisted article on suicide being murder. And God forgive you for not providing real help for those who are suffering depression and hopelessness. We did not make a choice to become depressed. God knows my heart. He alone knows my needs and He alone will sit in judgement of those who has reached the end of hope and have taken their own lives. It is not a coward's way out. It is a way to release those who love us and suffer along with us.

Finally, my nephew committed suicide a few months ago. Yes, we mourn the loss of this wonderful young man. But we understand, as God does, the reasons for his choice. I urge you to research depression and suicide more. You never know. Someone close to you or in your congregation could be suffering in silence. And you have already condemned them!


Answer:

I feel compelled by God to send you these words of enlightenment.

As a Christian person who suffers from deep depression (on medication and under a doctor's care), I find your article to be completely unsympathetic and untrue. There are many, many other Christian writings out there who contradict what you have written. To me it is once again how the Bible can be twisted to suit anyone's personal opinion. Not only do you condemn those who commit suicide, you offer no real assistance. You have in essence declared your personal beliefs to be those of God himself. I ask you to google "do those who commit suicide go to heaven".  You will indeed find more stating that the answer is Yes! 

How do you know if this person has prayed for direction and forgiveness before taking his life? God does indeed forgive those who murder. God forgives anyone who asks His forgiveness.

I do feel for people who are wanting to commit suicide. I have talked and worked with some, and I have managed to help a few; while others did not accept help, deciding they knew better than God. Suicide is a low state of mind where people give up on life and forsake God's way and His hope. They trust in themselves to solve their own problems. There are numerous reasons why people commit suicide as the article stated, it is not just depression. If you would search lavistachurchofchrist.org, you will notice that the preacher, who answers most of the questions, has helped people out of depression, suicide, mental disorders, drug addiction and many other things both over the Internet and in person. Your accusations fall short as the article even provides a solution: "Here, then, is the solution to your problems, no matter how overwhelming they may seem. Suicide doesn't bring joy into anyone's life, but Jesus holds the key to eternal joy." It points people to follow Jesus' teaching to find purpose in life and to overcome their problems by trusting in God.

"I feel compelled by God to send you these words of enlightenment … To me it is once again how the Bible can be twisted to suit anyone's personal opinion. Not only do you condemn those who commit suicide, you offer no real assistance. You have in essence declared your personal beliefs to be those of God himself. I ask you to google "do those who commit suicide go to heaven." You will indeed find more stating that the answer is Yes!"

God did not compel you to write because God does not use Google as "proof" to determine what is true by how many people believe "suicide is not a sin" and that those who commit suicide will still go to heaven. The majority of the world believes they will go to heaven, but Jesus told us otherwise (Matthew 7:13-14). You yourself have judged the author of this article as twisting God's word and offering only his opinion; yet, not once in your whole letter did you quote a scripture. I can see by your letter that you are offering your personal opinion to justify your belief and your nephew's actions to make yourself feel better. "There is a way which seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death" (Proverbs 16:25).

Depression is in a way a terminal disease with no real cure. Apparently you are not well versed on depression or those who suffer from it.

The APA (American Psychological Association) is willing to call anything a disease if it's popular enough and has pressure from society wanting to call something a disease. They also change their opinions all the time on issues. Even though I disagree with the APA on issues, there are many cures from the APA's standpoint on depression. They say it is not a "terminal disease" but is easily treatable.

"Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms" [APA].

I see you are looking for reasons to stay depressed and have convinced yourself there is "no cure," but even the world says there is a solution, if you are willing to try. I encourage you to try and get better as this would benefit not only to yourself but those around you, too.

There are unique situations where people who are bi-polar, schizophrenic, etc. and require medication to be of sound of mind and not lose control. There can be a chemical imbalance in the body that is permanent or due to brain damage or being born with a defect. This is not depression but a defect or malfunction in the body that is permanent and can't be undone. But even so, it can be controlled by medication. Even without medication, I have seen people with many disorders learn ways to cope, overcome and control these issues.

It saddens me to know this article came from someone claiming to know and spread the word of God. The Bible states clearly that those who believe in Jesus Christ and have been baptized are indeed saved and will go to heaven. The fact is people sin every day. People also die suddenly every day without the ability to ask God for forgiveness at their time of death. I'm speaking of car accidents, fires, and so on.  So basically your writing of this article is saying this person may not go to heaven because he did not ask for forgiveness of his sins prior to his death. Blasphemy! Shame on you! You may know the word of God.  You may share the word of God. But in no way can you be 100% sure who and who will not go to heaven.

God forgive you for this twisted article on suicide being murder.

We do know the word of God and share it, for God tells us: "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "but the righteous man shall live by faith" (Romans 1:16-17). I can not speak more than God has spoken. I must simply share what He has said. I don't assume anything but am just a messenger relaying God's word on how people can live by faith. To live by faith means we live for God and His standards. You even seem to admit that suicide is a sin when you said: "The fact is people sin every day. People also die suddenly everyday without the ability to ask God for forgiveness at their time of death." You are saying it is OK to sin because everyone does; however, God disagrees.

To answer your question if someone commits a sin and does not repent will he go to hell?

"But when a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and does according to all the abominations that a wicked man does, will he live? All his righteous deeds which he has done will not be remembered for his treachery which he has committed and his sin which he has committed; for them he will die. Yet you say, 'The way of the Lord is not right.' Hear now, O house of Israel! Is My way not right? Is it not your ways that are not right?  When a righteous man turns away from his righteousness, commits iniquity and dies because of it, for his iniquity which he has committed he will die" (Ezekiel 18:24-26).

God is very clear what happens when we turn from Him. He no longer remembers the righteous acts we have done. But also, there is hope! Those who are wicked can turn and live if they repent, "Again, when a wicked man turns away from his wickedness which he has committed and practices justice and righteousness, he will save his life. "Because he considered and turned away from all his transgressions which he had committed, he shall surely live; he shall not die" (Ezekiel 18:27-28).

It is not just about having faith and being baptized that saves us, but a constant repent heart that is always turned toward God. "Solemnly testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ" (Acts 20:21).

But the problem with suicide is there is no time to repent ... because you are dead. You can't repent before the deed is done because God doesn't accept requests to do evil. "You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures" (James 4:3). Nor is forgiveness given for sins that have not yet been committed. It is the sins we have already committed that we can ask to be forgiven of. "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (I John 1:9) To be cleansed from unrighteousness means we have broken God's law. "Everyone who practices sin also practices lawlessness; and sin is lawlessness" (I John 3:4). Since the murder or suicide has not happened yet, there is nothing to be forgiven of because you are only playing with the idea, and it has not given birth to sin. "When lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death" (James 1:15; see also Genesis 4:7-8).

And God forgive you for not providing real help for those who are suffering depression and hopelessness. We did not make a choice to become depressed. God knows my heart. He alone knows my needs and He alone will sit in judgement of those who has reached the end of hope and have taken their own lives. It is not a cowards way out. It is a way to release those who love us and suffer along with us. Finally, my nephew committed suicide a few months ago. Yes, we mourn the loss of this wonderful young man. But we understand, as God does, the reasons for his choice.

I urge you to research depression and suicide more. You never know. Someone close to you or in your congregation could be suffering in silence. And you have already condemned them!

God promised that His followers would not have an easy life. "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us" (Romans 8:18; 5:1-5). God tells us He is our hope in the hard times. If we hold on and not lose hope, He will give us the strength to get through the hard times. "For I said in my haste, "I am cut off from before Your eyes"; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried out to You.  Oh, love the LORD, all you His saints! For the LORD preserves the faithful, And fully repays the proud person. Be of good courage, And He shall strengthen your heart, All you who hope in the LORD" (Psalms 31:23-24). If someone loses hope, it is because they stopped trusting in God.

It is heartbreaking to see a loss of life and that your nephew took his own life, but his choice came with consequences. I do not know your nephew's situation or the reason behind his death. All I can do is teach God's word. God says cowards and murders will be sent to the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). Suicide is a cowardly way to avoid facing this life. It might seem like an easy way out, but the consequences, we are told, are far worse. Anyone who had committed suicide would tell the people still in this world not to follow them. Just as the rich man did not want his family following him. "And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house -- for I have five brothers -- in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'" (Luke 16:27-28). Such people would not want anyone to come to torments, but would tell all to repent and follow Jesus before it is too late. Will you heed such a warning? There is no longer a chance for those who have died to change their fate, but there is a chance for you while you still live and breathe. "For whoever is joined with all the living, there is hope; surely a live dog is better than a dead lion" (Ecclesiastes 9:4).

I want to encourage you to trust in God and see what His word says about depression, and what His word says you must do to overcome it. Below is an outline and audio link for a sermon about overcoming emotional problems, listen to the audio to get a fuller understanding and use the outline for passages on what God tells Christians to do when we are overcome by emotional problems.

Overcoming Emotional Problems (Outline)
Overcoming Emotional Problems (Audio)

Once you have listened through the audio, write down anymore questions you might have and send them to us. If you would like more help with overcoming depression we can take a more one-on-one approach and see what the Bible says for your situation.

Alan Feaster