Ironic that I first published this post one year ago today. Circumstances of the past couple of days has led me to repost. A friend of mine lost her dear friend yesterday due to mental illness. Depression, anxiety and other mental health issues are real. Contrary to narrow minded thinkers it is just as real as cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure or any of the other “normal” disease.
It is TIME for this country and the people to realize that mental illness kills. Something must be done for better and timely treatment and stop telling those who suffer from this illness to “just get over it.”
****If YOU or someone you know are contemplating suicide, PLEASE DON’T DO IT……That IS NOT the solution. You have an illness that needs to be treated. Call the number listed, visit the website,http://suicidehotlines.com/national.html 1-800-784-2433, contact a friend, a pastor or a family member. You are somebody…You are special…..You are loved.
Several months ago I did a sermon on suicide. I knew going in that it would be controversial. All of my life I was taught that committing suicide would cause you to go to hell. A life shaking event happened this past summer that caused me to rethink my beliefs on this matter.
Now, before I go any further, let me say that I do not condone suicide. I believe it is TOTALLY against God’s Will for our lives. The question is this…does suicide cause you to lose your salvation? My answer to that question is NO. Here’s Why:
First, let me give a little background. A dear friend and church member took her life this past summer. This woman was so caring, worked with the children of the church, and loved the Lord with all her heart. She would do anything she was asked for the church, neighbors or friends. She loved her family and loved life. In the last few years illness had invaded her life. This illness would eventually claim her life. You see, she had a mental illness. It is sad that society, although not as much as in the past, sees mental illness in a different light than cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure or any other “conventional” illness.
Her suicide attempt did not cease her body from functioning for almost a week. I was in disbelief when contacted about this tragedy. So many questions? What if she had called? What if?
There was a lady at the hospital with other family and friends. I’m not sure if this lady was family or not. We were alone in the hall and she asked me a question that I had no answer. Most pastors will tell you the hardest question they get is “Why?” She asked me a question that caused me to rethink everything I had ever been taught. She asked me, “Is it true that if you kill yourself you cannot go to heaven?” WOW!!!! I was not prepared for that one. I stammered and stuttered and truly do not remember what I told her. I do remember one thing though, it made me think.
I began a search of God’s Word hoping He would show me the answer. The first set of verses was the promise of Jesus that your salvation is secure.
John 10:27-29 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
This comforted me but the thought crossed my mind that the Bible says, “Thou Shalt Not Kill.” It is obvious from God’s Word that killing is a sin. But so is gossip, stealing, etc. God doesn’t rank sin. Sin is Sin. How thankful we should be that because of God’s Amazing Grace our sins have been forgiven. Jesus Christ took my sins, your sins and the sins of all believers to the Cross. He was and is the only PERFECT sacrifice. The only sacrifice for our sins that is completely acceptable to God. Jesus says in the above verses that He “gives eternal life,” and that “we shall never perish and that nobody can take us away from Him nor the Father.
Paul further writes in Romans 8:38-39.. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
It is true that this woman took her own life. But it was not her but the illness that pulled the trigger. Here are a few examples that seem to indicate that some of us take our lives, howbeit sometimes in a slower manner.
I’ll start with myself. I love to eat. I can eat road kill if I have some mustard and two pieces of bread. Overeating! Will it take a toll on my health? Chances are very good that it someday will. Knowing the risk and left unchecked, someday, I could potentially have a fatal heart attack. Now here is the big question…….did I kill myself?
Let’s suppose I smoke from the time I am young. Despite all the warnings, I continue. The doctor gives me the bad news. I have terminal lung cancer and it finally takes my life…….did I kill myself?
Let’s suppose that I drink alcohol in excessive amounts. The doctor warns me that it could cause liver failure and eventually death. I do not heed these warnings and continue with my excessive drinking. I wake up one day feeling very ill. The doctor confirms that the liver has failed and it takes my life…..did I kill myself?
Let’s further suppose I get addicted to prescription drugs or illegal drugs. The doctors tell me that I must get help and get off these drugs or they will kill me. I disregard this warning and it takes my life…..did I kill myself?
I drink too much alcohol . Knowing the consequences I get in my vehicle and take off down the road. I pass out at the wheel, leave the roadway, hit a tree and die instantly…..did I kill myself?
I contend that the answer to the above questions is “YES.” If the answer is yes, did I lose my salvation? If the answer to these questions is “NO” then who caused my death?
It is certain that this old worldly body is going to play out one of these days. Some people will contract fatal diseases even if they live a healthy lifestyle.
My point is my friend had a disease that took her life. She never intended to hurt anyone. This evil disease caused her thinking to be altered and caused her to do something that otherwise she would never have done.
We miss her so much.
Many of you know this sweet woman. Her name is not important for this article. Her family told me at her death that anything I could use to prevent this from happening to someone else that I was free to do so. If this article reaches one person who is contemplating ending their lives and they call out for help, then the mission has been accomplished and her suffering from this devastating illness was not in vain.
Be Good to each other and May GOD Bless..