Suicide means to take one's own life. There is a difference between making the choice to kill yourself and choosing self sacrifice to save others, For instance, someone going on a suicide mission to try to save someone else's life or a soldier falling on a grenade to save his buddies. Jesus Christ gave His life to save us and He said,
"This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:12-13 King James Version - KJV)
"No one takes [my life] from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father” (John 10:18).
What we are talking about, though, is suicide by choosing to self murder. The very simple definition - to take one's own life - gives us the hint of what is wrong with suicide. You see, God created us and breathed His very Life into us to quicken our bodies. He, and He alone, should be the one that makes the decision when life is given and when life is over. We are NOT our own. I may be living this life but it is God who created and made me and gave me life. I am not my own and it is not for me to make a decision like that. I cannot see the future, I am not wise enough, I cannot take into account or control all the variables that go along with a decision like that. I'm severely limited in my views and in my wisdom so I shouldn't be making decisions about life and death.
Psalm 31:14-15 (CEV) But I trust you, LORD, and I claim you as my God. (15) My life is in your hands. Save me from enemies who hunt me down.
Job 1:20-22 (CEV) When Job heard [the news of the death of all his children], he tore his clothes and shaved his head because of his great sorrow. He knelt on the ground, then worshiped God (21) and said: "We bring nothing at birth; we take nothing with us at death. The LORD alone gives and takes. Praise the name of the LORD!" (22) In spite of everything, Job did not sin or accuse God of doing wrong.
If I decide to take my own life, I've consciously decided that what God has made and what God is doing is not good enough and I can do better. I believe that I'm in a better position to judge what should and should not be done and I've taken matters into my own hand. I.e. I want to become God! I want to make life and death decisions! When you see it written like that, it is a little shocking. Or it was to me. I hadn't really thought of it like that before. Of course, I don't have the attributes of God. I am not all-seeing and all knowing (omniscient) and I certainly don't have the supernatural power (omnipotent) of God. I can't see into the future. I can't know the grand scheme of things or the big picture. So who am I to take matters away from God, and into my own hands, as though I can do it better than God!?!
I'VE decided God isn't doing it right and isn't good enough or powerful enough. I'VE decided that I can do better than God. I'M able to judge matters better than God. I will take matters into my own hand. Notice the "I", "I", "I"? When it's all about me, me, me, we see how very selfish it is. If I'm spending my time commiserating over how awful my life is, how unworthy I am, how ugly I am, how fat I am, how nobody loves me or could ever love me, how pitiful my life is, how I never do anything right.... Then you see all the "I"s? There goes that selfishness! It may be in self-loathing, but it's still self absorption. You have set yourself in the center of your life and now you go around your little Self Idol and critique it from every vantage point. Your focus becomes yourself and all your pain or suffering or how you don't measure up to.... WHAT?!?
Whenever you tell yourself, "I'm ugly" you are really saying, "According to MY criteria, I don't measure up. God did something wrong when He made me. I'm a God-failure. God failed when He made me. God isn't smart enough, loving enough or powerful enough to do it right and I'm the result of God's failure."
Whenever you say, "I'm worthless" you are really saying, "God made a big mistake in dying for me to save me because I'm worthless. I wasn't worth the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. God made a mistake in making me to start with. God must have messed up when He made me because I can't see any purpose or reason for me to live. God isn't smart enough, loving enough or powerful enough to have foreseen that I'd be a worthless failure, of no use to anyone."
We, ourselves as individuals, and collectively as the human race, do not have the right or the intellectual ability to make the criteria to judge who is ugly, worthless or a failure! Who are we to decide that only petite, young, blonde, blue eyed women with certain measurements are the correct criteria for perfection? Who are we to decide that everyone else, that doesn't meet OUR criteria for beauty and perfection, are ugly? Who was Hitler to decide that Germanic people of a certain type were the perfection of humanity and everybody else was a mongrel that deserved to be executed into extinction? Who do we think we are? God?!? That's right, we think we are God when we begin to rate people, or measure people, against our own ideas of "perfection". It's pride and arrogance. When a young man says a woman is a "10" or a woman is a "bitch", then he is saying, "I'm God and I've decided that this woman is my idea of perfection or this woman is lower than a female dog!" When a young woman calls a man a "hunk" or a "s.o.b." then she's really saying, "I'm God and I've decided that this man is my idea of perfection and this other man is lower than a dog's pup." When a black person sees a black person with dark, ebony skin as "more black" than a person with light, coffee colored skin, they are really saying, "I'm God and I've decided that blacker skin fits my criteria for blackness and anyone with lighter skin is not up to my idea of perfection." When a white person sees white people as the children of God but black people (or any other color or race) as something less than human perfection, then what they are really saying is, "I'm God and I've decided that only white skin is ideal and all other colors and races are less than." It can go on and on. Young to old and old to young, Republicans to Democrats and Democrats to Republicans, male to female and female to male, rich to poor and poor to rich, etc. If we make a standard and judge others against our standards, we have set ourselves up as God. Who do we think we are? Do I really think, because I meet my criteria, that I'm successful and more valuable than anyone else? Do I really think, because I don't meet the world's criteria of success or beauty, that I'm worthless? Do I really think because I meet, or don't meet, any human beings', myself included, rating system of perfection that I'm a thumb's up or a thumb's down?!?
I hope I'm getting my thoughts across at how very stupid, silly and harmful it is to rate ourselves, or someone else, with human standards of perfection. We are NOT God. We don't have the capability of knowing all that is involved in a single person's life, even our own. So we should never judge another person by human standards and decide whether or not they are considered valuable, beautiful, intelligent, successful, or worth saving. God is not a respecter of persons. I.e., He doesn't see any human being as being less deserving, or more deserving, of His love. John Doe may be a billionaire but that doesn't make him more deserving of God's love. Jane Doe may be a beauty, according to human standards, but that doesn't make her more deserving of God's loving attention. On the other hand, George Anyman may be as ugly as homemade sin in our eyes but it doesn't matter to God, He still loves ole George the same as He loves "beautiful" Jane Doe. We are equally valuable to God. We are equally loved by God. He died for us all, not just some of us. None of us is superior, or inferior, in God's eyes. This goes for ourselves. So many of us have a running voice within us that says we are inferior, we are ugly, we are fat, we are worthless, we are not good enough, blah, blah, blah.
Satan has planted those thoughts in our heads using our own low self esteem or using others to voice it over us. And once it's planted, we really tend to run with it and soon it becomes our mantra and it's ingrained very deeply. We think that somehow we are damaged goods, not worth God's love. With that constant mantra running through our minds we become seriously warped in our thinking and it comes out in all kinds of ways. But the most serious and lasting is suicide. Once you've killed yourself, there is no coming back from it. There is no do-over. God is the only one who has the right and the necessary qualifications to decide life and death. When we wrest it from His Hands, we tend to create our own Frankensteins, our own monsters.
One of the Ten Commandments is, "Thou shalt not murder." (Exodus 20:13) This includes self murder. So suicide is a sin. Let us be clear: volitional, willful suicide is sin. I'm not talking about self sacrifice (as I stated above) and I'm not talking about someone who has become so insane that they can no longer determine right from wrong any more. I'm talking about willful, volitional suicide. The deliberate choice to take our life away from God and end it on your own terms. It is sin. It is sin because it is murder. It is sin because it's putting yourself in God's place and making decisions only He can make which is pride. It is sin because it is selfish. It is sin because it affects others and puts them through hell. Someone has to deal with what you've done to yourself and it can be devastating. It can plant those ideas in other minds and they may think it's a good way out for them too. Sometimes it seems suicide repeats in a family, a group of friends or a community because it plants that idea as a way out of their own painful situation.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (Contemporary English Version - CEV) You surely know that your body is a temple where the Holy Spirit lives. The Spirit is in you and is a gift from God. You are no longer your own. (20) God paid a great price for you. So use your body to honor God.
I wish you could understand how hard this lesson is for me. I've struggled with depression all my life, even as a child. And suicidal ideation has been a big struggle for me. I want to take matters into my own hand. I want to decide when, how and where I die. I don't know why I suffer this weakness but suffer it I have. So this is stepping on my own toes and is a bitter pill for me to swallow. This is a hard lesson and not one that I'm enjoying studying but it's necessary and, I hope, effective in renewing my own mind and encouraging me to let go and let God handle my end. I confess to you that I suffer and wrestle with this almost daily and have 3 times attempted to take my life. Two times were more halfhearted attempts but the last one was serious. I have prayed to die more times than I can account for. I have imagined, planned, and toyed with the idea too often and, when I'm in my right mind, I'm thoroughly ashamed of myself. It's selfish, it's sinful. And I don't have problems like some of you may have. Someone from the outside looking in would think my life has been wonderful and full of great blessing. That's why I can't account for it, other than satan's attempts to destroy me. I haven't suffered the death of a child, or my home destroyed in a war zone. I haven't suffered being human trafficked or born in a third world country. I haven't starved or been abandoned. I don't have problems like some people have had problems. Don't get me wrong, I've had problems but not enough to account for my depression and suicidal despair. Of course, there I go again, using human standards to make judgments and measure myself against. Let's just say that I'm ashamed that I've had this weakness and it's an ongoing struggle and this lesson pill has been bitter to swallow but I hope brings healing to me or to someone else.
Suicide almost always occurs in response to suffering or anticipated suffering. But we can't know the future and God can do miracles! How many times I've thought, "I can't take any more." But I wake up the next morning and the sun is out. I made it and I've made it for 58 years so far. I even find myself laughing at a joke or feeling great love when the night before I thought I couldn't take any more. We've all gone through a bad time but wake up the next morning feeling better. So we shouldn't make such a permanent decision when we don't know tomorrow.
So let's look at this subject of suicide from other angles. Let me point you to a lesson I did on Elijah and Depression. There are some things we can do to help ourselves when we feel as though we are falling into a depressive state. I looked at Elijah and his depression and how God helped him through it.
But let's look at other people in the Bible who committed suicide.
1 Samuel 31:1-6 (CEV) Meanwhile, the Philistines were fighting Israel at Mount Gilboa. Israel's soldiers ran from the Philistines, and many of them were killed. (2) The Philistines closed in on Saul and his sons, and they killed his sons Jonathan, Abinadab, and Malchishua. (3) The fighting was fierce around Saul, and he was badly wounded by enemy arrows. (4) Saul told the soldier who carried his weapons, "Kill me with your sword! I don't want those worthless Philistines to torture me and make fun." But the soldier was afraid to kill him. Saul then took out his own sword; he stuck the blade into his stomach, and fell on it. 5) When the soldier knew that Saul was dead, he killed himself in the same way. (6) Saul was dead, his three sons were dead, and the soldier who carried his weapons was dead. They and all his soldiers died on that same day.
An Amalekite witnessed the suicide. Either Saul was still alive after falling on his sword and the Amalekite finished him off or he fabricated the story of killing King Saul thinking he would be rewarded (2 Samuel 1).
Out of fear, Saul chose to end his life, rather than face the future being taken prisoner. He had every reason to fear based on his own reasoning, experience and stories. He knew what could happen to him. But the one thing he took out of the equation was his God! He made a decision based on his own logic. It made perfect sense to him that he would face torture, imprisonment or execution, feeling abandoned and alone, feeling responsible. He already suffered depression and had for a very long time. Things looked impossible. And, from a human standpoint... oh, that limited, imperfect standpoint... he was right. But that's the whole problem. We take God out of the equation and then make a "solution" by ourself based on our faulty logic and anticipation of the future which we are not privy to. God is the only one who knows the future, understands all the parameters perfectly and has the power to do the supernatural. When his armor-bearer refused to kill King Saul, at his request, he took his own life by falling on his sword. Hopelessness and terror, took over in his heart and this assistant to the king impulsively took his life as well. This was an impulse suicide, copying what King Saul did. Many people take their own life because someone else near them has done it. Teenagers killing themselves when one of their friends do it. Someone in the family following suit after one of their loved ones commits suicide. They are in shock, grieving, dealing with emotions they aren't used to and then they think suicide is an option for them too. They think it is a solution to the pain, confusion and depression they are experiencing. But, again, this leaves God out of it. But He's the only one that can understand and actually do something about it. We can go to God in prayer. We can dialogue with Him and express our true feelings. It's not something He doesn't already know. We can cry in His arms and let Him bring release to our fears. We can trust Him. He will either calm the storm or calm His child. He will make a way where there is no way or He will use the situation to bring greater things in our life. He has the power to do what needs to be done. It may be a miracle that turns everything around. Or it may be that He knows we must walk through the hard place but He is with us and will use it to our best interest in the long run if we will let Him do His work in us.
Matthew 27:3-10 (ISV) Then Judas, who had betrayed him, regretted what had happened when he saw that Jesus was condemned. He brought the 30 pieces of silver back to the high priests and elders, (4) saying, "I have sinned by betraying innocent blood." But they replied, "What do we care? Attend to that yourself." (5) Then he flung the pieces of silver into the sanctuary and went outside. Then he went away and hanged himself. (6) The high priests picked up the pieces of silver and said, "It is not lawful to put this into the Temple treasury, because it is blood money." (7) So they decided to use the money to buy the Potter's Field as a burial ground for foreigners. (8) That is why that field has been called the Field of Blood to this day. (9) Then what had been declared through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled when he said, "They took the 30 pieces of silver, the value of the man on whom a price had been set by the Israelis, (10) and they gave them for the potter's field, as the Lord commanded me."
In great despair and guilt after betraying Christ, Judas chose suicide. His story is probably the most well-known account of a suicide in the Bible. He was a disciple, he walked with Jesus, was close to him. How could he betray Jesus for money and then hanged himself? Evidently, Judas had not known and accept Jesus Christ as the Messiah and his own Savior. It's possible for human beings to attend church all their lives and know the stories in the Bible and even memorize verses but still not be converted. They may claim to be a Christian but not truly had an experience with Christ. It's "window dressing". For whatever their reason, they feel compelled to be attached to church and believers but haven't given their hearts to Christ. It's become a club, a social club, with their friends, a support system but not a belief system. They pay tithes as though it were club dues not because their heart wants to give generously out of gratitude to God. They may say all the right things but it's only skin deep. It's a religion and not a relationship. Judas may have been like this. Then, when he came to a realization of what he had done, he saw his world crumbling apart. He lost his friends, his mission, his goals, his job, his source of money, his ambitions. He had thought, if Jesus was the Messiah, that Jesus would take over the world and rule as King and Judas would have a powerful position in the world kingdom. Much like campaign workers and large donators in a presidential campaign would expect a cabinet position if their candidate becomes President. Judas realized Jesus wasn't going to take over the world. He was seeing his ambitions crumble. He had been greedy and was seeing that Jesus was not going to give him an opportunity to rake in money. Judas had an option. He could have used this personal crises to repent and cling to God, accepting His mercy. But instead of repenting and seeking forgiveness after betraying Christ, he killed himself. He still could not trust God. He could not trust Jesus or that God could and would forgive him. Because of his lack of faith, he allowed the great burden of sin to lead him to this terrible end.
John 6:64 (ERV) But some of you don't believe." (Jesus knew the people who did not believe. He knew this from the beginning. And he knew the one who would hand him over to his enemies.)
John 6:70-71 (ERV) Then Jesus answered, "I chose all twelve of you. But one of you is a devil."He was talking about Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot. Judas was one of the twelve apostles, but later he would hand Jesus over to his enemies.
John 12:5-6 (ERV) "That perfume was worth a full year's pay. It should have been sold, and the money should have been given to the poor people." But Judas did not really care about the poor. He said this because he was a thief. He was the one who kept the moneybag for the group of followers. And he often stole money from the bag.
John 17:12 (ERV, parenthesis mine) While I was with them (the twelve Disciples), I kept them safe by the power of your name—the name you gave me. I protected them. And only one of them was lost—the one who was sure to be lost. This was to show the truth of what the Scriptures said would happen.
Matthew 26:24-25 (ERV) "The Son of Man will suffer what the Scriptures say will happen to him. But it will be very bad for the one who hands over the Son of Man to be killed. It would be better for him if he had never been born." Then Judas, the very one who would hand him over, said to Jesus, "Teacher, surely I am not the one you are talking about, am I?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."
John 13:10-11 (ERV, the foot washing scene at the Last Supper) Jesus said, "After a person has a bath, his whole body is clean. He needs only to wash his feet. And you are clean, but not all of you." Jesus knew who would hand him over to his enemies. That is why he said, "Not all of you are clean."
John 13:21-27 (ERV) After Jesus said these things, he felt very troubled. He said openly, "Believe me when I say that one of you will hand me over to my enemies." His followers all looked at each other. They did not understand who Jesus was talking about. One of the followers was next to Jesus and was leaning close to him. This was the one Jesus loved very much. Simon Peter made signs to this follower to ask Jesus who he was talking about. That follower leaned closer to Jesus and asked, "Lord, who is it?" Jesus answered him, "I will dip this bread into the dish. The man I give it to is the one." So Jesus took a piece of bread, dipped it, and gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. When Judas took the bread, Satan entered him. Jesus said to Judas, "What you will do—do it quickly!"
Judas' betrayal of Christ was prophesied about in Psalm 109:2-8 (ERV): Wicked people are telling lies about me. They are saying things that are not true. (3) They are saying hateful things about me. They are attacking me for no reason. (4) I loved them, but they were against me. So I said a prayer. (5) I did good things to them, but they are doing bad things to me. I loved them, but they hated me. (6) They said, "Choose someone evil to represent him. Let the one at his side really be his accuser. (7) Let even his prayer be used as evidence against him, and let the court find him guilty. (8) Let his life be cut short, and let someone else take over his work.
In contrast, Peter also betrayed Christ 3 times before morning came. He was also experiencing a personal crises. He also despaired and cried and felt remorse. But he did the opposite of Judas. He repented, he threw himself upon the mercy and love of God and asked forgiveness. He trusted in Jesus' ability to forgive him and save him. And Jesus did! Jesus made a specific point of talking to Peter after He had risen and made sure Peter knew he was forgiven and loved.
Luke 22:31-34 (ERV, the prophecy of Peter's betrayal) "Satan has asked to test you men like a farmer tests his wheat. O Simon, Simon, I have prayed that you will not lose your faith! Help your brothers be stronger when you come back to me." But Peter said to Jesus, "Lord, I am ready to go to jail with you. I will even die with you!" But Jesus said, "Peter, before the rooster crows tomorrow morning, you will say you don't know me. You will say this three times."
Luke 22:54-68 (ERV, the betrayal) They arrested Jesus and took him away to the house of the high priest. Peter followed Jesus but stayed back at a distance. The soldiers started a fire in the middle of the yard and sat together. Peter sat with them. A servant girl saw him sitting there. She could see because of the light from the fire. She looked closely at Peter's face. Then she said, "This man was also with Jesus." But Peter said this was not true. He said, "Lady, I don't know him." A short time later, someone else saw Peter and said, "You are also one of them." But Peter said, "Man, I am not!" About an hour later, another man said, "It's true. I'm sure this man was with him, because he is from Galilee." But Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you are talking about!" Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. Then the Lord turned and looked into Peter's eyes. And Peter remembered what the Lord had said, "Before the rooster crows in the morning, you will say three times that you don't know me." Then Peter went outside and cried bitterly.
John 21:15-19 (ERV) When they finished eating, Jesus said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these other men love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said to him, "Take care of my lambs." Again Jesus said to him, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter answered, "Yes, Lord, you know that I love you." Then Jesus said, "Take care of my sheep." A third time Jesus said, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" Peter was sad because Jesus asked him three times, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know everything. You know that I love you!" Jesus said to him, "Take care of my sheep. The truth is, when you were young, you tied your own belt and went where you wanted. But when you are old, you will put out your hands, and someone else will tie your belt. They will lead you where you don't want to go." (Jesus said this to show how Peter would die to give glory to God.) Then he said to Peter, "Follow me!"
Luke 24:33-34 (ERV) So the two men got up then and went back to Jerusalem. There they found the followers of Jesus meeting together. The eleven apostles and the people with them said, "The Lord really has risen from death! He appeared to Simon."
1 Corinthians 15:3-7 (ERV) I gave you the message that I received. I told you the most important truths: that Christ died for our sins, as the Scriptures say; that he was buried and was raised to life on the third day, as the Scriptures say; and that he appeared to Peter and then to the twelve apostles. After that Christ appeared to more than 500 other believers at the same time. Most of them are still living today, but some have died. Then he appeared to James and later to all the apostles.
Mark 16:7 (ERV) Now go and tell his followers. And be sure to tell Peter. Tell them, 'Jesus is going into Galilee and will be there before you come. You will see him there, as he told you before.'"
To Peter, the first of the apostles, Jesus the Lord revealed himself after His resurrection, thus conferring on him a signal honor, and showing how fully he was restored to His favor. What happened during this interview is unrecorded, doubtless because it was too sacred to be divulged; but it would certainly be a scene of confession and forgiveness. The Lord had all the while had His faithless disciple in His thoughts, knowing his distress of mind; and He had that solitary interview with him on purpose to reassure him. In John 21:15-19 (see above), Jesus charged him to make good his love by taking diligent care of the flock for which He had died. So there you have the two reactions. Both men were experiencing a personal crises. One reacted by turning away from God and the other by turning to God. The result was Judas killed himself and Peter went on to become the leader of the new Christian church. One turned to God and asked for forgiveness. He trusted in God even though he didn't understand God's Plan. He trusted in God's love and Jesus' power to save. He was willing to give his will up and to trust in God's Will. So the point is that both men had been with Jesus, sat under His teachings, saw His miracles, experienced an emotional crises, saw their worlds falling into confusion, betrayed Jesus, despaired and cried in remorse. But there was two very different hearts. One fled from God and the other ran to God. It's all in the heart and God sees the heart.
Judges 8:29-35 (ERV) Jerub Baal (Gideon) son of Joash went home. (30) Gideon had 70 sons of his own. He had so many sons because he had many wives. (31) He had a slave woman who lived in the city of Shechem. He had a son by her. He named that son Abimelech. (32) So Gideon son of Joash died at a good old age. He was buried in the tomb that Joash, his father, owned. That tomb is in the city of Ophrah, where the family of Abiezer lives. (33) As soon as Gideon died, the Israelites again were not faithful to God—they followed Baal. They made Baal Berith their god. (34) The Israelites did not remember the LORD their God, who had saved them from all their enemies living around them. (35) The Israelites were not loyal to the family of Jerub Baal, even though he had done many good things for them.
Judges 9:1-5 (ERV and verse 5 is MKJV) Abimelech was the son of Jerub Baal (Gideon). Abimelech went to his uncles who lived in the city of Shechem. He said to his uncles and all of his mother's family, (2) "Ask the leaders of the city of Shechem this question: 'Is it better for you to be ruled by the 70 sons of Jerub Baal or to be ruled by only one man? Remember, I am your relative.'" (3) Abimelech's uncles spoke to the leaders of Shechem and asked them that question. The leaders of Shechem decided to follow Abimelech. They said, "After all, he is our brother." (4) So the leaders of Shechem gave Abimelech 70 pieces of silver. That silver was from the temple of the god Baal Berith. Abimelech used the silver to hire some men. These men were worthless, reckless men. They followed Abimelech wherever he went. (5) And he went to his father's house at Ophrah and killed his brothers the sons of Jerubbaal, seventy persons, upon one stone. But Jotham, the youngest son of Jerubbaal, was still left; for he hid himself. Then all the leaders in Shechem and the house of Millo came together. Everyone gathered beside the big tree of the pillar in Shechem and made Abimelech their king.
Judges 9:22-25 (ERV) Abimelech ruled the Israelites for three years. (23) Abimelech had killed Jerub Baal's (Gideon) 70 sons—and they were his own brothers. The leaders of Shechem had supported him in doing this evil thing. So God caused trouble between Abimelech and the leaders of Shechem. And they began planning ways to hurt Abimelech. (25) The leaders of the city of Shechem did not like Abimelech anymore. They put men on the hilltops to attack and rob everyone who went by. Abimelech found out about the attacks.
Judges 9:47-57 (ERV) Abimelech heard that all the leaders of the Tower of Shechem had gathered together. (48) So Abimelech and all his men went up to Mount Zalmon. Abimelech took an ax and cut off some branches and carried them on his shoulders. Then Abimelech said to the men with him, "Hurry! Do the same thing that I have done." (49) So all the men cut branches and followed Abimelech. They piled the branches against the safest room of the temple of the god El Berith. Then they set the branches on fire and burned the people in the room. About 1000 men and women living near the Tower of Shechem died. (50) Then Abimelech and his men went to the city of Thebez and captured that city. (51) But inside the city there was a strong tower, so all the leaders and other men and women of that city ran to the tower. When the people were inside the tower, they locked the door behind them. Then they climbed up to the roof of the tower. (52) Abimelech and his men came to the tower to attack it. Abimelech went up to the door of the tower to burn it. (53) when a woman on the roof dropped a large rock on his head and cracked his skull.(54) Abimelech quickly said to the servant who carried his weapons, "Take out your sword and kill me. I want you to kill me so that people will not say, 'A woman killed Abimelech.'" So the servant stabbed Abimelech with his sword, and he died. (55) The Israelites saw that Abimelech was dead, so they all went back home. (56) In that way God punished Abimelech for all the bad things he had done. Abimelech sinned against his own father by killing his 70 brothers. (57) God also punished the men of the city of Shechem for the bad things they had done. So the things said by Jotham son of Jerub Baal (Gideon) came true.
Abimelech, King of Shechem, was ruthless and cruel. His evil knew no limits, even taking the lives of 69 of his 70 half-brothers to become king. He killed thousands of people. But a mere woman, an unnamed woman, dropped a millstone on his head leaving him mortally wounded. His pride led him to take his own life. He couldn't bear for anyone to “say a woman killed him.” Personally, I'm not sure which is worse, for it to be known that a woman killed him or that he killed himself in pride and fear? But, once again, he committed suicide to avoid a future that didn't take into consideration God. He made, what we call, a judgment call. His pride led him to think he had to go out in a blaze of glory. And dying of a head wound from a woman dropping a rock on his head wasn't his idea of glorious. So he begged his servant to kill him so it would look like he died as a warrior. But the real story got out or we wouldn't be reading about it in the Bible! Oh how the "mighty" have fallen, disgraced by being killed by a rock thrown by a woman! The irony was he was slain with a single stone, as he had slain his brothers on a single stone. What goes around, comes around. The man was dying, but his pride was alive and well. The same vanity that had governed his life, governed his death. Qualis vita, finis ita - As was his life, such was his death. He was so concerned with his image and what others thought about him but was, sadly, not as concerned with his spirit. His pride is documented but there is no mention of a prayer asking God for mercy and forgiveness.
In Samson's desire for revenge, he was willing to die when he killed the Philistines in the crowded temple that day. Samson did not want to kill the Philistines for the sake of bringing honor to God or to deliver Israel. Samson’s prayer to God was simple and direct: “so that with this one act of revenge I may pay back the Philistines for my two eyes”.
Yael Shemesh clearly describes the motive behind Samson’s suicide. He wrote: “Samson’s story is the only one in the Bible in which the overt motive for suicide is revenge. . . .Here the goal is not to kill oneself, but to use one’s death to kill others. . . . It is plausible, however, that the overt motive of revenge was supplemented by a desire to end the hopeless life of pain, helplessness, and humiliation endured by someone who has lost his freedom and eyesight” (Yael Shemesh, “Suicide in the Bible.” Jewish Bible Quarterly 37 (2009): 157-168.).
2 Samuel 17:1-28 (ERV) Ahithophel also said to Absalom, "Now, let me choose 12,000 men to chase David tonight. (2) I will catch him while he is tired and weak. I will frighten him, and all his people will run away. But I will kill only King David. (3) Then I will bring all the people back to you. If David is dead, all the people will come back in peace." (4) This plan seemed good to Absalom and all the leaders of Israel. (5) But Absalom said, "Now call Hushai the Arkite. I also want to hear what he says." (6) Hushai came to Absalom. Absalom said to Hushai, "This is the plan Ahithophel gave. Should we follow it? If not, tell us." (7) Hushai said to Absalom, "Ahithophel's advice is not good this time." (8) Hushai added, "You know that your father and his men are strong men. They are as dangerous as a wild bear when something has taken its cubs. Your father is a skilled fighter. He will not stay all night with the people. (9) He is probably already hiding in a cave or some other place. If your father attacks your men first, people will hear the news and think, 'Absalom's followers are losing!' (10) Then even your bravest men will be frightened, because all the Israelites know that your father is a powerful soldier and that his men are very brave. (11) "This is what I suggest: You must gather all the Israelites together from Dan to Beersheba. Then there will be many people, like the sand by the sea. Then you yourself must go into the battle. (12) We will catch David wherever he is hiding and attack him with so many soldiers that they will be like the dew that covers the ground. We will kill David and all of his men—no one will be left alive. (13) But if David escapes into a city, all the Israelites can bring ropes to that city and pull its walls down into the valley. Not even a small stone will be left in that city." (14) Absalom and all the Israelites said, "Hushai's advice is better than Ahithophel's." Actually, Ahithophel's advice was good, but they said this because the LORD had decided to make Ahithophel's advice useless. He did this to punish Absalom. (15) Hushai told the priests, Zadok and Abiathar, what was said. He told them what Ahithophel suggested to Absalom and the leaders of Israel. Hushai also told them what he himself had suggested. He said, (16) "Send a message to David now! Tell him not to spend the night at the places where people cross into the desert. Tell him to go across the Jordan River at once. If he crosses the river, the king and all his people will not be caught." (17) The priests' sons, Jonathan and Ahimaaz, did not want to be seen going into the town, so they waited at En Rogel. A servant girl went out to them and gave them the message. Then Jonathan and Ahimaaz carried the message to King David. (18) But a boy saw Jonathan and Ahimaaz and ran to tell Absalom. Jonathan and Ahimaaz ran away quickly. They arrived at a man's house in Bahurim. The man had a well in his courtyard. Jonathan and Ahimaaz went down into this well. (19) The man's wife spread a sheet over the mouth of the well and covered it with grain. The well looked like a pile of grain, so no one would know to look there. (20) Absalom's servants came to the woman at the house. They asked, "Where are Ahimaaz and Jonathan?" The woman said to Absalom's servants, "They have already crossed over the brook." Absalom's servants then went to look for Jonathan and Ahimaaz, but they could not find them. So Absalom's servants went back to Jerusalem. (21) After Absalom's servants left, Jonathan and Ahimaaz climbed out of the well and went to King David. They said to David, "Hurry, go across the river. Ahithophel is planning to do something to you." (22) So David and his people crossed over the Jordan River. By sunrise, all of David's people had crossed the Jordan River. No one was left behind. (23) When Ahithophel saw that the Israelites did not do what he suggested, he saddled his donkey and went back to his hometown. He made plans for his family and then hanged himself. They buried him in his father's tomb. (24) David arrived at Mahanaim just as Absalom and the Israelites who were with him crossed over the Jordan River. (25) Absalom and the Israelites made their camp in the land of Gilead. Absalom had made Amasa the new captain of the army. He took Joab's place. Amasa was the son of Ithra the Ishmaelite. His mother was Abigail, the daughter of Nahash, the sister of Joab's mother, Zeruiah. (27) When David arrived at Mahanaim, Shobi, Makir, and Barzillai were there. Shobi son of Nahash was from the Ammonite town of Rabbah. Makir son of Ammiel was from Lo Debar. Barzillai was from Rogelim in Gilead. (28) These three men said, "The people are tired, hungry, and thirsty from the desert." So they brought many things to David and those with him. They brought beds, bowls, and other kinds of dishes. They also brought wheat, barley, flour, roasted grain, beans, lentils, dried seeds, honey, butter, sheep, and cheese made from cow's milk.
Ahithophel was Bathsheba’s father, or grandfather, and one of David's Counselors. Ahithophel helped David's son, Absalom, in his rebellion and attempt to take the monarchy from King David. Ahithophel's motive in the rebellion was doubtless ambition for personal power but he may also have harbored resentment at the mess of Bathsheba and David (their affair, her pregnancy, his having her husband murdered, marrying her, losing the baby). Joining the conspiracy wasn't a smart move but his management and manipulation of the rebellion showed intelligence and careful strategy. His plans were successful but blocked by Hushai. When he realized that defeat was inevitable and he had lost his opportunity, he killed himself. As smart and crafty as we are, as carefully as we plan, we are no match for God. Worldly wisdom apart from faith in God turns into suicidal madness. Ahithophel saw, with absolute clearness, that Absalom had sacrificed his one opportunity, so he committed suicide to avoid the shameful defeat. He was a type of Judas in his treachery and in his end.
Isaiah 29:13-16 (ISV) Then the Lord said: "Because these people draw near with their mouths and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me, worship of me has become merely like rules taught by human beings. (14); Therefore, watch out! "As for me, I will once again do amazing things with this people, wonder upon wonder. The wisdom of their wise men will perish, and the insights of their discerning men will stay hidden." (15) "How terrible it will be for you who go to great depths to hide your plans from the LORD, you whose deeds have been done in the dark, and who say, 'Who can see us? Who has recognized us?' (16) He has turned the tables on you—as if the potter were thought to be like heat. Can what is made say of the one who made it, 'He did not make me?' Or can what is formed say of the ones who formed it, 'He has no skill?'
Ahithophel was afraid of the future, felt like a failure and maybe wanted to punish others with his death. Like a suicide bomber who thinks they can strike back at a hated enemy in a blaze of glory. If they die in the process, they deceive themselves into believing God will be happy with their deed and they will be rewarded. But God has declared, "Thou shalt not kill" and "Vengeance is mine" (Romans 12:19). We are suppose to leave things in God's hands and not try to control and seek revenge. If we keep our hearts clean and our eyes on God, He will take care of our enemies or lead us straight through them to better things.
When the disciples sought to take vengeance on a village that had offered Jesus an insult, Jesus "turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them."
1 Kings 16:8-12 (MKJV) In the twenty-sixth year of Asa king of Judah, Elah the son of Baasha began to reign over Israel in Tirzah, and he reigned two years. (9) And his servant Zimri, commander of half his chariots, plotted against him; and he was in Tirzah drinking himself drunk in the house of Arza the steward of his house in Tirzah. (10) And Zimri went in and struck him, and killed him, in the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned in his place. (11) And it happened when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, he killed all the house of Baasha. He did not leave him one who urinated against a wall, nor of his kinsmen, nor of his friends. (12) And Zimri destroyed all the house of Baasha, according to the Word of Jehovah which He spoke against Baasha by Jehu the prophet,
Zimri was an ebed, Hebrew word meaning "slave/servant". Zimri was a slave/servant of high standing for Elah, king of Israel, because he commands half of Israel's chariot force. He is introduced without any reference to his father or family so he may have been a non-Israelite. He may have been a high court official in a military capacity. But, one way or the other, he worked for King Elah and he had high aspirations and ambitions. He kills his king; king's family and friends; repels a siege from Omri; loses the siege and Tirzah; and then goes into the palace and sets fire to it, dying in the flames.
1 Kings 16:15-20 (ERV) In the twenty-seventh year of Asa king of Judah, Zimri reigned seven days in Tirzah. And the people were camped against Gibbethon which was to the Philistines. (16) And the people that were camped heard it said that Zimri had plotted and had also slain the king. And all Israel made Omri, the commander of the army, king over Israel that day in the camp. (17) And Omri went up from Gibbethon, and all Israel with him, and they laid siege to Tirzah. (18) And it happened when Zimri saw that the city was taken, he went into the palace of the king's house and burned the king's house over him with fire, and died, (19) for his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of Jehovah, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did to make Israel sin. (20) And the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason which he did, are they not written in the Book of the Matters of the Days of the Kings of Israel?
The 5th king of Israel but he only reigned for 7 days. He was Israel's shortest-reigning king. "Zimri had been captain of half the chariots under Elah, and, as it seems, made use of his position to conspire against his master. The occasion for his crime was furnished by the absence of the army, which, under the direction of Omri, was engaged in the siege of the Philistine town Gibbethon. While Elah was in a drunken debauch in the house of his steward Arza, who may have been an accomplice in the plot, he was foully murdered by Zimri, who ascended the throne and put the remnant of Elah's family to death, thus fulfilling the prophecy of Jehu concerning the house of Baasha. However, the conspiracy lacked the support of the people" - International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. The people conspired against him and made Omri king. Zimri set fire to the King’s palace and perished in the flames. Have you ever seen the 1949 movie White Heat with James Cagney? Cagney plays Cody Jarrett who is a ruthless, psychotic criminal and leader of the Jarrett gang. He married Verna but he is strangely bonded to his equally crooked and determined mother, "Ma" Jarrett, his only true confidante. The Jarrett gang attempt to make a payroll robbery but the building becomes surrounded by police and his gang gets killed. In the end, Cody is the last one left and he's climbed to the top of a gas tank. Cody hysterically lifts his face skyward, holds out both arms, and cries, "Made it Ma! Top of the world!". Cody is shot but still in defiance and shouting like a lunatic from the top of a gas tank. There is a tremendous 'white heat' explosion that kills him instantly. Following Cody's suicidal, angry death, an emotionless, unsympathetic Hank Fallon (US Treasury agent) says, "He finally got to the top of the world. And it blew right up in his face." That movie comes to mind with Zimri. He was on top of the world but it blew up right in his face. Zimri's death is seen as an act of desperation, his suicide the deed of an evil man. Zimri chose his method of death, but in his death he gave his enemy exactly what he desired. Zimri's suicide only made Omri's triumph easier.
Proverbs 30:21-23 (CEV) There are three or four things that make the earth tremble and are unbearable: (22) A slave who becomes king, a fool who eats too much, (23) a hateful woman who finds a husband, and a slave who takes the place of the woman who owns her.
Proverbs 19:10 (CEV) It isn't right for a fool to live in luxury or for a slave to rule in place of a king.
These proverbs portray someone unworthy to exert influence, someone who makes poor choices. It's not that a slave cannot become a good king. What the proverbs condemn is the change in behavior and attitude after the promotion. The slave who now lords it over those who used to be in authority over him, the fool who now lives in luxury and boasts how smart he is, and the servant girl who supplants her mistress in the affections of her master and gives herself airs are condemned for their pride and haughtiness. These four types of persons who come to sudden power become excessively pretentious, arrogant, and malicious. Zimri may have shown the disagreeable traits of arrogance and pretension. He became a leader without followers, a usurper lacking administrative skills, an opportunist who took advantage of King Elah's drunkenness to kill him and try to take over. The Bible doesn't mention any prior planning on Zimri's part so it may have been almost spur of the moment. The fact that the army didn't support him meant they didn't see him as leader material. A slave/servant who gains authority over others but doesn't have the training nor the disposition to rule well is a scary thing in this world.
Zimri chose to die and how he would die, but in his death he gave his enemy exactly what he desired. Zimri's suicide only made Omri's triumph easier. Omri would become king. Like many of us, we try to control our own lives/deaths and those around us. We try to manipulate and control to our advantage. But we are NOT in control, God is. And God should be, as we tend to make a mess.
Suicide was regarded traditionally as a rejection of God's gift of life, a failure of stewardship, an act of despair, and breaking the sixth commandment, "Thou shall not kill". The Orthodox Church, and traditionally in protestant churches, a Christian burial was denied a person who had committed suicide. Some taught it was the unforgivable sin because how can you repent of the sin of murder if you are dead?
Wikipedia - According to the theology of the Catholic Church, death by suicide is considered a grave matter, one of the elements required for mortal sin. The reason is that one's life is the property of God and a gift to the world, and to destroy that life is to wrongly assert dominion over what is God's and was held as despair over salvation. In points 2281 and 2325 of the Catechism it is stated:
2281 Suicide contradicts the natural inclination of the human being to preserve and perpetuate his life. It is gravely contrary to the just love of self. It likewise offends love of neighbor because it unjustly breaks the ties of solidarity with family, nation, and other human societies to which we continue to have obligations. Suicide is contrary to love for the living God.
2325 Suicide is seriously contrary to justice, hope, and charity. It is forbidden by the fifth commandment.
The official Catechism of the Catholic Church indicated that the person who committed suicide may not always be fully right in their mind; and thus not one-hundred-percent morally culpable: "Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide." The Catholic Church prays for those who have committed suicide, knowing that Christ shall judge the deceased fairly and justly. The Church also prays for the close relations of the deceased, that the loving and healing touch of God will comfort those torn apart by the impact of the suicide.
Today, we have a more merciful view of suicide. God gives us all a will to live and to get to the point of suicide usually means a person is not in their right mind. Either due to physical reasons such as chemical imbalance, neurological malfunctions or misfires, an altered mental state, etc or due to intense mental and emotional suffering or fear, a person may not have their right mind and this would diminish their responsibility for sin. A person may commit the act but repent of it in the last second of life. We have no way of knowing what is happening in someone's mind and heart. Many who commit suicide are in torment and may have been for a long time. If we know of someone who is suffering like this, we need to pray for them and watch for signs and be ready to intercept and direct towards help (especially towards the help of Christ). We cannot become their Holy Spirit but we can support through prayer and always direct and point them towards Christ. Sometimes it's just a matter of spending time with them, give them a release from the pressure and get their mind off of things. Sometimes it's more serious and needs medical intervention and professional help. But Christ is always the ultimate answer and He is the One who will bring healing whether it's through the help of a friend, a pastor, a counselor, a doctor, medications, or a direct miraculous touch. He knows what we need and when we need it.
Suicide is sin but it is no more a sin than any other sin and Jesus died to forgive us of all sin. The only unforgivable sin is the sin of rejecting Jesus Christ as the Son of God and the only way to salvation. Suicide is NOT the unforgivable sin. If we have accepted Jesus as our Savior then NOTHING, not even suicide, can take us out of His Hands.
Romans 8:35, 38-39 (KJV) Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?... For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, (39) 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.
John 10:25-30 (CEV) Jesus answered: I have told you, and you refused to believe me. The things I do by my Father's authority show who I am. (26) But since you are not my sheep, you don't believe me. (27) My sheep know my voice, and I know them. They follow me, (28) and I give them eternal life, so that they will never be lost. No one can snatch them out of my hand. (29) My Father gave them to me, and he is greater than all others. No one can snatch them from his hands, (30) and I am one with the Father.
Jesus forgives All sin, EVERY sin. All we have to do is turn to Him, repent and ask for forgiveness to be saved. There is no limit to His grace. None of us are sinless and none of us are good enough. Our salvation is based solely on the grace of Christ and His Work on the cross. Sin is sin and all sin is the same in God's eyes. Whether it's the sin of gossip or the sin of murder or the sin of suicide. Sin is sin. If someone can be forgiven for the sin of gossip and allowed in Heaven, then someone can be forgiven for the sin of suicide and allowed in Heaven.
We are all sinners. It is the work of Jesus that saves us and not our sinlessness and not any ability of our own to save ourselves. So since it's not our work that saves, we can trust Jesus saves no matter what sin we commit - even suicide. Christ's sacrifice at the cross has forgiven all of our sins — past, present, and future. The sin a Christian commits was forgiven on Calvary. Jesus justified us, declaring us righteous based on His work. He accomplished this work through one sacrificial offering that didn't need to be repeated. If I were to drop dead right now, there would be unconfessed sin in my life. But I am saved because I'm a believer. His sacrifice covers my sins and His sacrifice is the same one that would cover a sin like suicide. If a Christian can commit sin after he is saved but be forgiven and welcomed into Heaven, we know it doesn't depend on our sinlessness but on Jesus' sinlessness and His perfect sacrifice. If Jesus' sacrifice has made believers perfect forever (Hebrews 7:28-10:14), could any sin remove their salvation? No.
We have established that suicide is sin but we've also established that if a true Christian, a believer in Jesus Christ, commits suicide, their sin is covered just like any other sin.
Job 2:8-10 (CEV) Then Job sat on the ash-heap to show his sorrow. And while he was scraping his sores with a broken piece of pottery, (9) his wife asked, "Why do you still trust God? Why don't you curse him and die?" (10) Job replied, "Don't talk like a fool! If we accept blessings from God, we must accept trouble as well." In all that happened, Job never once said anything against God.
Believe in Jesus Christ and get to know Him. As you become closer to Christ you see more and more of His love for you and with that love is His care. It doesn't mean we will have no problems but if we are truly in a relationship with Christ and are trusting Him as we should, then we trust enough in His love to know that all things will work together for our good. God can take the nastiest situation and use it for our good if we trust Him and let Him do as He wills. I don't know why it's so hard for us but it is. To relinquish our "control" (which is an illusion for we really have no control) and to let God control and trusting His control is very difficult but very necessary. I struggle with it but I'm learning. I have now studied this subject for a couple of weeks while preparing this blog post. I see myself in every word. I'm ashamed, I ask for forgiveness and I'm going to try to trust and let go of the reigns of my life.