“Why is it a sin to commit suicide and why don’t theists do it more often in order to hurry their path to joyful reunion with their dead loved ones and to abide in a heavenly realm?”
Jeanne, not sure if your questions are rhetorical, or if you really mean them, but I would wager you mean them, since the subject is so serious. I remember answering the second one. And by the way, you don’t have to be “leerie” of me, I’m not a lunatic, just in case you may have thought so. Jussssst in case. Why is it a “sin” to committ suicide? All “sin” means…is ==”to miss the mark or intended purpose in something”. To make the wrong choice. Why is suicide a sin? Because life is a gift, and just as we don’t take the lives of others, we also don’t take our own. We need to choose life always. No matter how painful it gets. Thoughts of suicide can come to people in times of great pressure & pain, as a searching for a way out. But it isn’t a “way out” to committ suicide — all it does is end our physical life. And I think this is where you and I take separate trains. You believe we become non-existant when we die. But life is something that is much higher than mere physical existance. Our bodies are like a glove over the hand. When you take off the glove, the hand is still there. Murder, whether of others, or one’s self… is not a permissable option. And it should be apparent as to why. Life isn’t something to be manipulated or controlled by us. There’s a reason why we live and exist, and it isn’t so that we can just go into oblivion after our bodies perish. You are more important and deliberate than you believe you are. People, including Christians, can try to judge what has happened to your friend, but I say…God knows your friend more than any of us did. And the God I know, is not the heartless ogre some have determined Him to be by misinterpretations of the scriptures. Scriptures that are soo important, that we don’t want to make a mistake in interpreting them. I am aware of the generalized teachings about topics such as hell, and heaven, and suicide, and eternal punishment, etc…which are often literally interpreted, but I say, let’s get our rears into the original texts and study them without pre-concieved ideas or biases. If you actually believe that your life fades into non-existance after your death, I can see how much more sad you must be about your friend, or anyone you love, that dies. How cold and hopless a reality to have to swallow. If I give you, or anyone else real reason not to trust what I say, then so be it. Throw tomatoes at me. But I have nothing to gain by coming onto a message board, to offer hope to others, and share God’s reality & existance, and heart…for any other purpose than because I know it to be true. I would have done the same thing your friend did, had God not intervened. He could have intervened for your friend, but what we don’t realize, is that physical death is not a “bad” thing to God. WE may miss those who have died, and grieve over the losses, but it isn’t “the end” for them. Just like we do, God would have preferred that she had reached out for help, and maybe she felt she did. And if she knew how YOU feel about it now, as well as others who loved & cared for her…she may be wishing she had not done it at all, but this isn’t the end for your friend, anymore than your death or mine will be. How can I communicate to you that you are loved & significant & eternal? Your life isn’t for nothing. Neither was your friend’s. She “missed the mark”, just as we all do in one way or another. This is no surprise to Christ, and it’s why he came to die for us, so that He could give us our life back. I hate sounding like I’m preaching at you, when I know you hurt inside. But I cannot say anything other than what I know to be true. What I’ve said, should be a comfort to you, but I don’t know that it will be, because of your frame of mind about things. I might be a “stranger” to you, Jeanne, or maybe even seem like some kind of lunatic on the internet….but my heart sincerely goes out to you, and if I could, I would say anything that I thought would make you feel better, but I can’t. I have to say what I know is true. We don’t need to “hurry our reunions” with our dead loved ones, Jeanne, we will all be on the other side of this physical life sooner than we know. That’s why it is so important to know WHY we are alive, and live our lives the best we can, accordingly. I don’t always like life, but I like the life-giver. He’s down to earth, loving, and more intimately involved with our lives than we think He is. Life is meant to point us toward a relationship with Him. That includes the negatives. We want things to be concrete all the time, and we bristle inside when things aren’t. It’s ok, to admit that we don’t have all the answers, or we don’t understand everything. It’s even ok to say “I’m not sure God exists, but I want to know Him if He does”. If God were the power-hungry ogre He is made out to be, He wouldn’t have suffered and died for us like he did, for the reasons He did. He wouldn’t have supported & comforted me like He did when I was struggling to emerge from my cacoon from dysfunctionalism to wholeness. People may have good intentions, but aren’t always able to help someone the way in which they need the help.Medications can subdue or mask things, but very rarely can heal the problems of a messed up psyche. If some preachers have softened their approach to suicide, it may be that they have been studying the Word, and understand things better. There are lots of Bible teachings that have been passed down for generations that many have readily recieved as truth, when in fact, it was interpreted literally, or without a foundation of the Word layed down first, to put it on. I understand Ken Jones’ question, as to why wouldn’t God make things plain and simple and clear to us, if He wanted us to know the truth. But wherever the Word is not clear, or seems confusing…is where we need to immerse ourselves into studying it. We don’t just walk away and say “That don’t make sense”, or, “That sounds contradictory”, etc…shaking our heads & then leave it at that. How could we? This is our LIVES we are pondering. Not whether we want hot chocolate or tea. Being an atheist, is not the answer.That’s what we all are anyway, until we believe in God. Joining a religion or church denomination is no guarantee for a relationship with the Living God. We cannot snap our fingers and order Him to reveal Himself to us (well, I even did that), but it’s when we dare to choose to believe that he not only exists, but is wanting to merge His life with ours…and we say “Yes. I believe” on the concreteness of faith…. that he begins to show Himself…and we begin to see Him. It’s not because He hides from us, it is because we can’t see Him due to spiritual blindness. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. It comes first. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God”. Faith says: “I have it already” when we don’t see it at all. Some people can handle that. Others, who desire more concrete evidence find faith harder to excercise. I was one of them. And in some ways, I still am. But it’s the only way to meet and know Christ. Why am I talking about this? Because I know that my friend would be able to comfort your heart better than anyone else could.
“It is hard to believe that a merciful god would condemn one who is in so much pain and distress that suicide seems the only way.”
He condemns the “wicked one”, the perpetrator of our faith, Jeanne. Not the person. The Word says he sympathizes with all our weaknesses, and saves our tears in his “bottle” , and He has carved us in the palm of his hand. He also said His eyes see every sparrow fall & He provides for even them, and how much more He cares for us, than a sparrow. When Adam & Eve sinned, God could have killed them and started over. But He killed animals and clothed their nakeness with the skins, instead, out of mercy. The skins symbolized a covering for their spiritual nakedness that they created for themselves by making a wrong choice. He told them that life would be hard, and laborious because of their choice. But it was the serpent He cursed. Not them. In the new testament, it says, “As in the first Adam, all died.But in the second Adam (Christ) shall ALL be made alive”. Not “some”, not the “lucky ones”, not those who followed all the religious steps, not those who lived moral lives, but ALL SHALL BE MADE ALIVE. I realize this opens other cans of worms,(and I’m available for those who want to challenge it) but my point is, be encouraged that things are not as bleak as they may be painted for us, by those who take it upon themselves to misinterpret the translations, and make assumptions rather than study. Be encouraged Jeanne, because you have every reason to be. That’s no lie.