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Why Decide on Suicide?
by Alan Allegra
6/15/2018 / Self Help
“I wish I had walked with Jesus and the apostles.” “Why can’t I be as funny as Freddie Prinz?” “If only I had Robin Williams’s talents!” “With Samson’s strength I could attract more women!” “Anthony Bourdain’s cooking eats me up with jealousy!” “Too bad Jack Kevorkian isn’t still around.”
You may have picked up on a common motif by now; What do these statements have in common?
The recent well-publicized suicides of famous people have caused us to wonder why such have-it-all persons would take their lives (actually, they don’t take them; they give them up). What drives someone to the ultimate act of desperation?
The Bible has examples and answers for tough questions. Many prominent Bible characters wanted to end it all — and some succeeded — but all demonstrate an aspect of this decision that values death above life.
It is the spiral of despair that pulls a person down like water down a drain, draining the will to live.
Israel’s King Saul was driven mad by jealousy and rejected by God for rejecting God. He was physically and psychologically wounded and took his life rather than face humiliation (1 Chron. 10). His attempt at “death with dignity” resulted in greater humiliation.
Samson, the strongest man in the world, sacrificed his calling at the hands of an immoral, scheming woman (Judges 16). The result was blindness and slavery at the hands of his enemies. He took his life in a seemingly noble act of revenge that could have been avoided had he remained loyal to God.
Elijah was a man just like us (James 5:17), but a brave and powerful prophet of God. He faced up to Israel’s wicked king Ahab and miraculously defeated 400 false prophets. Yet, when threatened at the height of his career by wicked Queen Jezebel, he ran away and isolated himself, begging to die (1 Kings 18, 19). Elijah wanted to stay in bed and die, but God replaced his self-pity with food, strength, and a mission.
Jonah faced a bizarre death but was rescued by God (Jonah 1, 2). Jonah ran from God but God in mercy sent him on a mission of mercy. Not having learned his lesson, he was peeved by God’s character and begged to die anyway (Jonah 4). Yet again, God spared Jonah; He doesn’t like to give up!
Job, famous for his suffering and patience (James 5:11), lost everything and was sorry he was ever born (Job 3:3). However, in his darkest hour, darker than most people can imagine, Job said, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him” (Job 13:15). He would argue with God but not dismiss him.
Judas had the honor of being Jesus’ treasurer, trusted by his fellow apostles (John 13:29). Yet he was selfish and greedy and a traitor, finally hanging himself on a rope of remorse (Acts 1:18). Had he simply repented, he would have been restored (1 John 1:9).
God, through Jesus Christ, gives everyone who will surrender to him that which man cannot live without for a single moment: hope. Without water, man can last a few days. Sans food, maybe a few weeks. Without hope, there is no hope.
King Solomon, the wisest of the wise, wrote an entire book, Ecclesiastes, about the vanity of life without God. His conclusion? “The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecc. 12:13). Jesus said, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly” (John 10:10). Life offers false promises; Jesus offers true life. Learn from these ancient stories, “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope” (Romans 15:4).
Alan is Content Coordinator for Lifestyles Over 50 (Thrive Media) and contributor to the Allentown, PA, Morning Call. He is also an adult Sunday school teacher and Bible study leader. Passionate about reviving theology and church methodology and being a senior citizen!
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