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Saturday, June 23, 2018

6-23-18            SUICIDE
                               The thoughts                                The help

2 Samuel 17:23           discouragement/despair

23 When Ahithophel saw that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey and set out for his house in his hometown. He put his house in order and then hanged himself. So he died and was buried in his father’s tomb.

Matthew 27:3-5         guilt

3 When Judas, who had betrayed him, saw that Jesus was condemned, he was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders. 4 “I have sinned,” he said, “for I have betrayed innocent blood.” “What is that to us?” they replied. “That’s your responsibility.” 5 He cast down the pieces of silver in the temple and departed and went and hanged himself.

1 Kings 16:15-20         guilt

15 In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned in Tirzah seven days. The army was encamped near Gibbethon, a Philistine town. 16 When the Israelites in the camp heard that Zimri had plotted against the king and murdered him, they proclaimed Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that very day there in the camp. 17 Then Omri and all the Israelites with him withdrew from Gibbethon and laid siege to Tirzah. 18 When Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the citadel of the royal palace and set the palace on fire around him.  So he died, 19 because of the sins he had committed, doing evil in the eyes of the LORD and following the ways of Jeroboam and committing the same sin Jeroboam had caused Israel to commit. 20 As for the other events of Zimri’s reign, and the rebellion he carried out, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Israel?

1 Samuel 31:3-5         pride?

3 The fighting grew fierce around Saul, and when the archers overtook him, they wounded him critically. 4 Saul said to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and run me through, or these uncircumcised fellows will come and run me through and abuse me.” But his armor-bearer was terrified and would not do it; so Saul took his own sword and fell on it. 5 When the armor-bearer saw that Saul was dead, he too fell on his sword and died with him.

Judges 9:50-55            pride?

50 Next Abimelek went to Thebez and besieged it and captured it. 51 Inside the city, however, was a strong tower, to which all the men and women—all the people of the city—had fled. They had locked themselves in and climbed up on the tower roof. 52 Abimelek went to the tower and attacked it. But as he approached the entrance to the tower to set it on fire, 53 a woman dropped an upper millstone on his head and cracked his skull. 54 Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died. 55 When the Israelites saw that Abimelek was dead, they went home.

Judges 16:25-30          vengeance?

25 While they were in high spirits, they shouted, “Bring out Samson to entertain us.” So they called Samson out of the prison, and he performed for them. When they stood him among the pillars, 26 Samson said to the servant who held his hand, “Put me where I can feel the pillars that support the temple, so that I may lean against them.” 27 Now the temple was crowded with men and women; all the rulers of the Philistines were there, and on the roof were about three thousand men and women watching Samson perform. 28 Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “Sovereign LORD, remember me. Please, God, strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.

Exodus 20:13

The sixth commandment say “Thou shalt not kill”

7523    ratsach             dash to pieces, put to death, kill, slay, murder

Webster’s        kill       deprive of life, slaughter, put an end to, destroy,
                        suicide put to death, kill  (n- take one’s own life)

As we see from the definitions we see this implies blatant murder, killing just to kill.  I’m not going to argue “justifiable homicide”, “mercy killing”, “killing in combat”, etc.  We’re talking about taking one’s own life and it does fit the definition cited in the Old Testament and Webster’s.

John 10:10                  Why did Jesus come?

10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

Jeremiah 29:11           God has plans for us

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Psalm 34:18-19           God will deliver us from all our troubles

18 The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. 19 The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all;

1 John 4:4                   HG is greater than anything the world has

4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

Romans 8:1-2             Spirit of life sets us free from sin

1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

1 Corinth. 10:13 God helps us through

13        No temptation comes upon you that is not common to man.  God is faithful and He will not suffer you to be tempted beyond your capabilities but in the temptation He will make a way so that you are able to bear it.  (We can overcome anything the devil puts upon us)

Some reasons for suicide
            Pride                            King Saul
            Despair                        Bad situation (Ahithophel)
            Guilt                            Judas
            Depression                  (Psychology Today, Alex Lickerman MD - PT)
            Psychotic                     Evil thoughts (PT)
            Impulsive                     Under an influence (even a disaster) (PT)
            Seeking Help               Can’t express themselves properly (PT) (and not getting help)
            Philosophical Desire   Samson, A reasoned decision (suicide bomber) (PT)
            Mistake                       Oops (guns, etc) (PT) (didn’t mean to do it – too late)         

We see many reasons for why people commit suicide.  This is not intended to be an all-inclusive list and some things of which we may be aware may be an example of one of these suggested categories. People consider suicide once they feel they have nothing left to live for.  They feel totally hopeless and there is no other way out of their pain.  We find that some people may be so guilt ridden that they feel that they are no longer worthy of life.  They want help but don’t know how to get it. 

When I was a young man, I knew another young man who, while on the phone with someone, told them he would commit suicide.  He didn’t think the person he was talking with believed him so he shot himself while on the phone.  Now, drugs and alcohol played part in this, but he was also despondent over a relationship.  To this day, I’m not sure if his emotions were the main reason for his action or if he just wanted to prove he would do what he said.

Psychotic disorders and demonic possession are so closely related, we have to consider them almost as one.  Now, I’m not saying all psychotic disorders are demonic possession.  A chemical disorder in the body could create a psychotic episode, but demonic possession and psychotic disorders both cloud the rational thinking process.  People do that which they normally wouldn’t.

Consider when Jesus encountered the demoniac at the Gadarenes.  Jesus cast “legion” out of the man and the demons entered a herd of nearby pigs.  The pigs ran into the sea and drowned (Luke 8:26-33).  Would even the pigs normally do that if it weren’t for the demons?  Then there was the demon possessed boy who threw himself into the fire (Mark 9:17-27).  Demons can cause suicide or at least cause an attempt to do so.  Anyone thinking rationally would not normally try to harm themselves, would they?

There are also those philosophical suicides where someone feels it is right to die for a certain cause and does so.  This could possibly present an argument with “rational thinking”, but these actions would be clear, conscious decisions made by an individual.   Buddhist monks have set themselves afire in protest.  People have walked into crowded places with explosives strapped to their bodies.  And, of course, people have taken themselves out while trying to take out a perceived enemy (Samson).

And there’s always the accidental suicide.  It wasn’t meant or supposed to happen, but it did.  This might be like taking a risk and then discovering, too late, it was the wrong thing to do.   

Possible positive actions

Be compassionate (Blessed are the Crazy – Sarah Griffith Lund - SGL)
Be there for them & listen (National Suicide Prevention Hotline [1800-273-8255])
Listen & watch (What do they say, how do they act) (SGL)
Be part of safety net (SGL)
Offer hope, though only temporary (SGL) (see above & stay with I t)


Learn signals/warning signs for suicide (SGL)
Isolation (SGL)
Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.  (Veterans Crisis Line 1-800-273-8255 – VCL)
Looking for a way to kill oneself (VCL)
Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live (VCL)
Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain (VCL)
Talking about being a burden to others (VCL)
Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs (VCL)        
            Talk about it (SGL)
           Help build self-worth
Where to get help (SGL) (know & suggest)
                        Pastoral , Professional, etc.
Advocate (SGL)
Be aware (SGL)  (but, like devils, not under every rock)

God’s love is and always will be the best preventative for suicide.  Someone in a suicidal mode is already disassociated from God’s love.  And it isn’t always easy to share His love with someone in that state of mind. 

When someone has self-worth, they are not likely to commit intentional suicide but when that self-worth is gone …(?)  The best source of self-worth comes primarily from knowing who we are in Jesus Christ.  But many non-Christians have a positive view of themselves as a person.  Self-worth also comes through our upbringing.  A child should be encouraged for the good behavior in his life and, even though punished, not condemned for incorrect behavior.  This normally should develop not just a sense of right and wrong and developing limitations, but mold the individual to have a positive outlook on life.  When my son reprimands his sons, he explains to them why they are being punished and has them explain why back to him.  Is this a cure al for everyone?  Unfortunately not, but it surely puts the odds in the favor of life.  Self-worth can also come from our environment.  Do we have a good or strong support system from extended family, friends and neighbors?  As a child, growing up in my neighborhood and probably because my dad had left the home, I literally had half a dozen moms on the street as my mom had to work a full time job.

Now, we’ve already mentioned some building blocks, but we can’t do anything unless we can recognize when someone is approaching suicide.  No, I’m not a qualified counsellor to talk about them except to mention that depression and isolation are two biggie tell-tale signs.  When someone is in a deep depression, they are very likely to seek being alone rather than to be around other people.  
Left to their own thoughts can lead to deeper despair or action.

Beyond listening and doing what we can to encourage people to do the right thing, we need to learn where we can encourage them to go to get “professional” help, a pastor, a counsellor, a clinic, etc.  Yes, Jesus heals, but sometimes ours (or their) faith level isn’t enough to ‘step out and walk on the water’.  God does work through natural resources.  That’s why He has given people knowledge in medicine and even psychiatric counselling.  So, if that sickness or devil cannot be cast out in Jesus’ name, if they don’t respond to our genuine caring in the situation, try to get that soul to a professional where they can get the help they need or even to a protective environment.  Jesus hasn’t gone anywhere and He works through many pathways.  He meets us at our level of faith.

A person considering suicide is not one to play with.  Yes, we can pray with/for them and encourage them, and we should, but we need to recognize our own limitations.  The disciples asked Jesus why they were unsuccessful with the demon-possessed boy and Jesus replied that this comes by fasting and praying (Mark 9:28-29).  And note, once the disciples realized that they couldn’t handle the situation, they brought the situation to one who could – Jesus.  Our faith levels may not be enough.  The person’s faith levels may not even be evident.  Remember, even Jesus couldn’t but heal a few sick folk when He went back to Nazareth (Matt. 13:54-58) because the people would not receive Him.  But somebody’s faith does make a difference in any situation.  Help the person to find the help they need and will receive. 

Above all else, when dealing with someone who may be suicidal, pray.  When we’re not sure what we should do, ask God for guidance then follow as the Holy Spirit directs.  Hmmmm.  That’s not bad advice for any situation in which we may find ourselves.  Is it?


Sarah Griffith Lund (SGL under cures) is a Christian counsellor and author who has a Master degree in both divinity and social work and a Doctorate in ministry. 
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