Sep 30, 2009

Suicide and the bible

Many people have asked the long debated question,

is suicide biblical?

The truth? Yes. Meaning that it is in the bible, but suicide that is mentioned in God's living word isn't so easily discerned for those who do not follow, and even still, a challenge for those who do.

Suicide can be debated, and has been infact, found to be morally and ethically wrong. While others still try to probe the bible trying to find truth and validity to such claims and come up empty handed, stating that it is a matter of personal choice and standards.

While on some level that may be true, such as according to a non believer's stand point, believer's can take heart that the bible is quite clear on the matter. And if one is willing to go digging and delve deeper into God's word, they will find answers that are conclusive but are beyond the scope of just skimming the pages for the mere mention of the word.

Simply put, by biblical standards suicide is wrong and holds no controversy both morally and ethically, but the proof that is needed to put this subject to the test (and at rest) isn't easily answered because

Christianity itself is often misunderstood.

So very often we hear of scripture being taken out of context and perhaps used for one's own gain, whatever the reason, sometimes teachings that we once knew are not the way that things are.
I read on line a debate about suicide and the pastor in his answer included Samson as a person who also took his own life in the bible. He went on in his explanation to excuse what he considers Samson's attempt at suicide. While I do not want to debate Samson at this time, it should be mentioned that Samson was the only one out of the individual suicides who called upon the Lord's name and asked for help in defeating the enemy. Looking at scripture in its rightful context, and knowing who the enemy was who captured Samson, his death is all the more likely that it was not in vain. Samson was a prisoner of war. His death was inevitable. The Philistines were a horrible group who thrived on the thrill of torture and slaughter- this is the reason Saul fell on his own sword. The philistines had a reputation and being captured was a fate worse than death. Samson's hair was cut and his eyes gouged out and he was sent to work as a slave. He endured the hardships in pain, blind and at the mercy of his enemy, reminded every day the strength and power from God he once had. He was reminded how weak he was without Him. But rather than give into self-pity and over wrought with grief, Samson siezed an opportunity to allow God to have the final say, and allow his body be used as a way to act out God's just punishment.

His death was not a suicide in the sense that we know suicide to be today. He did not want to die, but knew he was going to die as he could no longer literally see to find escape out of the situation, nor did he have strength. He asked the Lord to restore to him his strength once more so that he could smite God's enemy in a final defining blow. Knowing his surroundings by only touch, Samson could figure only one way out of this and he knew it would cause his death, and if he died, he knew it would be at the will of God as it was a consequence to Sampson's deliberate rebellion against God. Sampson's death was most definitely not a death that was meant to be in a way that ended his suffering by giving into his despair. In this reasoning, I do conclude that Samson can be excluded as any example of suicide in the bible. But this goes to show how many will try to excuse the act of suicide, and romanticize it in order to make extenuating circumstances valid towards the reasonings for it.

Taking scenarios from the bible and taking them out of context and trying to make them fit into our lifestyles instead of making our lifestyles conform to sound biblical teaching is one way that we, believer's confuse or cause misunderstandings and misinterpretations. Again, I'm guilty for it, and as I will say ( and most likely repeat) that we are to work out our own salvation. Anything that we hear, learn or are taught has to be backed up with God's word, and should be tested to see if it does so.

Ultimately God has the final say and one simply cannot know if one is saved after one dies from suicide, and that is the ultimate question. Just as hearts were judged on the day of Calvary, God has the right to judge each heart to see if they are sincere or not. It is ultimately God's choice to have "mercy on whom he will have mercy" but suicide regardless, is something that should not be an excuse to escape life's tragedies and hardships. There are requirements set out for every single believer including one who is struggling with suicide, no one gets a free pass to over look the lessons and understandings given to us through God's word.
The bible is clear on the reality of death, sin and not following the direction of the teachings of Jesus Christ. ( And isn't this what suicide is contrary to- Jesus?)
This is where I would like us to begin so that your faith may be restored to you and abundantly so that you will no longer be overcome with the debilitating effects of suicide. God's word can be used as a tool against the effects of suicide, and actually defeat it if rightly divided and used correctly.

There is a cure against suicide, all it takes is a little bit of hope restored.