Suicide is a pressing issue for our world today, and certainly among our military ranks as well. It has been around a long time. Severely wounded and fearing abuse at the hands of the Philistines, Saul tried unsuccessfully to persuade his armor bearer to put him out of his misery. When that didn’t work, Saul chose to kill himself.
“Then Saul said to his armor bearer, ‘Draw your sword, and thrust me through with it, lest these uncircumcised men come and thrust me through and abuse me.’ But his armor bearer would not, for he was greatly afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword and fell on it” (1 Samuel 31:4, NKJV).
Suicide is neither encouraged nor condemned in the Bible. Besides Saul, other completed suicides include Ahithophel, Zimri, and Judas Iscariot (2 Samuel 17:23; 1 Kings 16:18; Matthew 27:5). Though the Bible does not comment on these suicides, it is clear that suicide is never considered finishing life well. Rather, it is the result of shame, pain, anger, fear, regret, or some other reason that seems to snuff out hope.
Seemingly endless hypothetical questions are raised around the topic of suicide. Could someone who is really a Christian commit suicide? Can a person who commits suicide still make it to heaven? Only God can answer those questions with absolute certainty.
A better approach focuses on prevention. Does suicide have to happen? Can it be prevented? Moses, Elijah, and Job were all great men, yet at times even they despaired of life, wishing to escape their pain (Numbers 11:15, 1 Kings 19:4, Job 3:21). But they continued to trust God, who brought them out of their despair and back into happiness, relationship, and success.
Are you, or is someone you know, at a seemingly desperate place where there seems to be no hope? No matter how dark life may seem, God can help. A great first step is to seek out someone you can talk to: a chaplain, pastor, social worker, friend, or someone else whose counsel you trust. They can guide you with next steps. Your life is too valuable to discard. Your situation can get better, and sooner than you may think. Whether you realize it or not, you are loved—by God, family, friends, co-workers, and more. Choose life, my friend.
If you are dealing with this issue, you do not need to face the challenge alone. Jesus has conquered every challenge so you can move from your present situation to a life of overcoming hope. Invite him to lead you in your journey. He will forgive, comfort, and heal you.
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