All scripture contained in this podcast is from the King James Bible (Authorized Version)
April 9, 2010

Suicide Is Not Painless

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What does the Bible say about suicide? Is it ever okay? What about extreme circumstances? Are there examples of people committing suicide in the Bible? Follow along with us as we take a look at this disturbing but important topic and see what the Bible has to say about suicide.

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Bible Study

Suicide is Not Painless

In recent times, I have, by no choice of my own, been repeatedly faced with the subject of suicide.  Nationally, about a month ago, America was faced with the tragic news of the suicide of two teenage girls in Pennsylvania who had made a pact together to end their own lives.  Another girl, who had made the pact with them, backed out and pleaded with her friends to do the same – but they did not.

Suicide again has come to national prominence with the case of a girl who took her own life apparently because of the torment she faced from being bullied by kids at school.

In our local news we had already heard reports in recent months, of two inmate suicides occurring in the Erie County Holding Center in Buffalo, NY.

I was in church on a Wed. night about an hour to an hour & a half before our services when I would learn of a third.

The phone rang and it was one of the ladies from our church weeping and telling me that her 29 year old son had been arrested and committed suicide in the Erie County Holding Center.

I had met him on a couple of occasions but he did not attend our church – however both his Mother and Dad do.

Recently one of our young men who does work with teenagers at a secular job asked me to pray for him and the many problems he’s encountering with the teens there, including talk of suicide by some of the teens.

Earlier this week, I met with a mother of some precious young children, who just 2 nights before was taken to the hospital because of trying to take her own life.

The day before that I talked to a man, who in light of his current problems, told me he found himself lying in bed wondering if he’d be better off dead.

It appears to me that the adversary is upping his efforts to mess with people’s minds and convince them that suicide is a viable option.

If you are thinking about committing suicide, I want you to hear me loud and clear.  SUICIDE IS NOT AN OPTION!

Suicide solves nothing.  It always complicates things.

When I was younger there was a song that became popular called “Suicide is Painless”.  It was the theme from M*A*S*H.

The title is from the first line of the song’s chorus and it is the invading message that most people take away from the song.

That premise couldn’t be further from the truth.

Suicide is NEVER painless!

Suicide alwaysinvolves pain.

  • There is the pain felt by the one committing suicide.
  • There is the pain felt by those that hear the report.
  • There is the pain felt by the loved ones left behind.

I have done three separate funeral services for people that have committed suicide.  Funerals are already not my favorite part of the ministry, but add to that mix, doing the funeral of someone who has taken their own life and it only compounds the difficulty of the circumstances for everyone involved.

In each of these situations I have seen and dealt with the pain of the family and loved ones.  The questions of,“Why?” The empty place in the family circle.  Their sorrow, their tears, their struggle to carry on…  The honest truth is Suicide is Painful.

I’ve met several times with a man who lives all by himself.  His wife of many years, had been sick with a prolonged illness, and he came home one day to find that in her despair she had taken her own life.  He is now retired and spends hours in an often darkened, empty house never quite able to get out from under the shadow of his wife’s suicide.

Suicide is Painful.

Many years ago I met a man while I was preaching away from my church.  He was a good Christian man, faithful and helpful in the church.  I enjoyed his fellowship and he was a pillar in his local church.  Years later for reasons that were complicated in his mind, he thought he would do his wife a favor and kill himself so she could get the insurance money and be set for life.  He apparently did not know that life insurance companies don’t pay out for suicides.  And instead what he left behind was a distraught wife, a bewildered church, a dis-tressed pastor & a blown testimony.

Suicide isnot how you want to be remembered.  There is nothing glamorous about it.  Other people will have to clean up your mess, beginning with your body.

Suicide is not the heritage you want to leave to your loved ones.

Suicide is Painful.

Life may be painful, but suicide solves nothing!

If you are not saved, suicide is jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire!That is, the literal fire of hell.

For the individual that’s never been born again – and thinks he can solve all of his problems by suicide – all he’s done is escalate his problems for eternity.  For suicide will simply seal his fate in hell and cut off his last opportunity to get saved.  And for that person it will be the lake of fire for ever and ever and ever, “Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

Suicide is Painful.

Again, life may be painful, but suicide solves nothing!

If you’re a Christian committing suicide, you are essentially telling the world that Jesus is powerful enough to save your soul, but not powerful enough to satisfyyour soul.  But in so doing you are NOT telling them the truth!

Psalms 116:8 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears,andmy feet from falling.

Suicide is not the answer – The Saviour is the answer! The Lord Jesus Christ!!!

Moreover if you are a genuine saved, born-again Christian and you commit suicide, you’ll have to answer for your actions at the judgment seat of Christ.  You will not lose your salvation, but you will lose rewards.  You will miss your opportunity to serve the Lord.  Is this really your answer to Him who loved you and gave Himself for you?

Additionally, you’re not your own, you belong to God, you’ve been bought with the blood of Christ, so you’ve got no right to end your life!

Sometime, someplace, somewhere, I heard a Christian – I think a preacher – make a statement, saying that the Bible didn’t really have anything to say about suicide.

I can only conclude that anyone who would make a statement such as that is NOT really a Bible reader.  For anyone that has read the entire Bible has read about suicide.

Now maybe they didn’t pay attention to what they were reading and they missed it; but the Bible clearly deals with the subject of suicide.  It does not use the word suicide, but it certainly gives light on the subject including accounts of several suicides in the Bible.  We’ll discuss those accounts in a little bit.

But, speaking of whether or not the Bible addresses suicide, for starters, how about, “Thou shalt not kill”?

Whether you kill someone else, or kill yourself, you are violating the 6th of the 10 Commandments.

Thus, let us be clear about the matter Suicide is a sin.

It is wrong to commit suicide.  Suicide is not a scriptural option for dealing with your problems.

Godis not leading you to end your own life. He can end it anytime He wants without any help from you.

Let me say it again  Godis not leading you to end your own life.

Now, there may be some spiritual force implanting suicidal thoughts in your mind – but it’s not the Lord God Almighty. It is your adversary the devil.

I Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

Jesus said the devil “was a murder from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him.”

The devil is a murderer and a liar.  If God won’t give the devil permission to kill you, the devil may well try to get you to do the job yourself, by trying to convince you that suicide is a good idea.

Remember – that voice is NOT coming from God, but from the devil – and the devil is a liar.

Have you been entertaining such thoughts?  Remember, they’re coming form hell – not from heaven.  Suicideis a badidea.

Are you having trouble trying to figure out how to make it through life’s trials and pain?

Remember Suicide is NOT an option.

Have you been contemplating killing yourself?

Remember  Suicide is NOT an option.

Say it out loud with me  Suicide is NOT an option.

Say it again  Suicide is NOT an option.

Now say it out loud all by yourself…

Did you ever notice that when the devil tempted Jesus in the wilderness, that one of those 3 temptations could have been a temptation to commit suicide?

Luke 4:9-11 “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacleof the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence:{10}For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:****{11}And in theirhands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Ohhh you’d better be careful about listening to the devil – especially when he quotes scripture.  The devil quoted from Psalm 91but he left out a very important clause.  (See *** above.)  He left out fourwords in all thy ways”.

The devil knew that if he would have included those words in the quote, that it could have triggered the memory of another verse beginning with those same words.  Proverbs 3:6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

The memory of this verse would trigger the one being tempted to pray and ask God for direction and consider His word before making a hasty decision.  The devil trying to deceive Jesus left it out.

That’s how the devil will talk to you.  He’ll try to get you to decide without considering what God has to say about the subject, and what the repercussions will be.  Jesus was not taken in so easily.

Had he been taken in by the temptation, jumping from the pinnacle of the temple, the end result might have been his untimely death; thus not allowing him to fulfill His destiny in the will of God.

But “Jesus answering said unto him, It is said, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God.”

I will now take you through 6 suicides in the Bible.  We will look at them in the order they occur in the Scriptures, and we will, from them, see many of the main reasons why people kill themselves.  There will be different specifics, and yet one common theme that is the primary reason why anyone commits suicide.

1. Samson –Samson was a man who was mightily used of God.  But Samson was also a man who abused his power with God and spent it on his own foolishness.

Finally, after messing around with sin and messing around with women including Delilah, having betrayed his relationship with God, he was betrayed by Delilah into the hands of the Philistines.

The Philistines put out Samson’s two eyes, bound him with fetters of brass, and made him grind in the prison house.  That’s what sin will do to you.

Sin will blind, sin will bind, and sin will grind. Samson’s was a life wasted by sin.

Now, a veritable shell of the man he once was, the Philistines led him around like a dog.  They brought him to a pagan celebration where they would offer sacrifice to their god, Dagon.  They brought Samson there, they said “that he may make us sport.” Samson was nothing but a big joke now to the Philistines.

Judges 16:27-30 Now the house was full of men and women; and all the lords of the Philistines werethere; and there wereupon the roof about three thousand men and women, that beheld while Samson made sport.{28}And Samson called unto the LORD, and said, O Lord GOD, remember me, I pray thee, and strengthen me, I pray thee, only this once, O God, that I may be at once avenged of the Philistines for my two eyes.{29}And Samson took hold of the two middle pillars upon which the house stood, and on which it was borne up, of the one with his right hand, and of the other with his left.{30}And Samson said, Let me die with the Philistines. And he bowed himself with all hismight; and the house fell upon the lords, and upon all the people that weretherein. So the dead which he slew at his death were more than theywhich he slew in his life.

The theme of the book of Judges is, as stated in next chapter of Judges, “In those daysthere wasno king in Israel,butevery man didthat which wasright in his own eyes.”

It was not God’s plan for Samson to take his own life, that was Samson’s plan.  What brought him to this place?

A.) Sin –All that messin’ around with sin – what did it get him?  Much more trouble than it was worth!

B.) Spite – “…that I may at once be avenged…”

C.) Despair – Samson had given up.  But did he have too?  Could he not like many have done, repented and restored his relationship with God?  Could not God have delivered him and given him a better life than he had as a prisoner of the Philistines?  Why sure He could have.

But when Samson prays, he doesn’t ask God for forgiveness, or for deliverance, or for direction.  He simply dictates to God what he’s going to do and does it, taking no time to listen for God’s direction.

2. Saul – I Samuel 31:1-4 Now the Philistines fought against Israel: and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell down slain in mount Gilboa.{2}And the Philistines followed hard upon Saul and upon his sons; and the Philistines slew Jonathan, and Abinadab, and Melchishua, Saul’s sons.{3}And the battle went sore against Saul, and the archers hit him; and he was sore wounded of the archers.{4}Then said Saul unto his armourbearer, Draw thy sword, and thrust me through therewith; lest these uncircumcised come and thrust me through, and abuse me. But his armourbearer would not; for he was sore afraid. Therefore Saul took a sword, and fell upon it.

A.) Fear –(v.4)

B.) Terminally Ill –Or so he might have figured. (v.3) The truth is you might make it and things might get better.  It’s in God’s hands and where there’s life there’s hope.  And if they don’t, it’s still not your call – It’s God’s!

C.) Despair –Saul’s very actions indicated he had given up hope.

D.) Troubled by an Evil Spirit –Saul had a history of demonic trouble.  Cf. I Sam. 16:14-16, 23; 18:6-11; 19:8-11

E.) Dabbling in the Occult –Cf. I Sam. 28:6-8 & I Chron. 10:13.In I Chron. 10:13 this is connected with his death.

3. Saul’s Armour Bearer –

I Sam. 31:5And when his armourbearer saw that Saul was dead, he fell likewise upon his sword, and died with him.

A.) Confusion – The man he looked up to was dead.

B.) Failure & Fear –As his armour bearerhe would likely get blamed for not protecting Saul’s life.

C.) Despair –This is the common element in all suicides:  hopelessness. Everyone that commits suicide has despaired of life.  For suicide is not the fear of death, it is the fear of life.It is complete discontentment with life.  The tragedy is that when a person gets to that point, it’s a perfect opportunity to try giving his life over to the Lord Jesus and doing things God’s way; for what he has been doing previously is obviously not working.

4. Ahithophel –Ahithophel was a counselor of David, who joined up with Absalom, when Absalom rebelled against his father David.  You can read about him in II Sam. 15-17.

II Sam 16:23 says, “And the counsel of Ahithophel, which he counselled in those days,wasas if a man had inquired at the oracle of God: sowasall the counsel of Ahithophel both with David and with Absalom.”

In order to defeat Absalom, David sent another counselor named Hushai to Absalom.  Hushai was on David’s side, but would convince Absalom that he was now on his side.  With Hushai in place, Absalom sought counsel of Ahithophel who then answered with his advice.  Absalom then put the same question to Hushai who gave conflicting counsel.  When they heard it, they concluded that God was trying to defeat Absalom with bad counsel from Ahithophel and they chose to follow Hushai’s advice.

II Sam. 17:23 says, “And when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddledhisass, and arose, and gat him home to his house, to his city, and put his household in order, and hanged himself, and died, and was buried in the sepulchre of his father.”

What got Ahithophel down?

A. Pride –He was humiliated that he was no longer the go to guy for the king.  He wasn’t willing to share the limelight with anyone.

B. Felt Useless –They don’t need me any more, now they’ve got Hushai.

C. Self-Pity –Nobody likes me, everybody hates me, I’m gonna eat some worms, ugh, ugh.  I’m not trying to make light of your circumstances, but be careful about overstating your circumstances.  They are often not as bad as we make them out to be.

Additionally, be careful about taking yourself too seriously. While it’s OK to take your life seriously, and the Lord seriously, be careful about taking yourself too seriously.  At best, we are sinners saved by grace.

I Cor. 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am:

James 4:10  Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.

D. Confusion –This had obviously never happened before.

E. Defeated –He knew how to handle victory, but did not know how to handle defeat.  Illus. College student who was used to getting straight A’s killed herself because she did not get an A.

You can’t win all the time – you must learn to handle defeat.  You don’t have to like it – you don’t have to quit striving for excellence, but you must learn how to handle it.  Proverbs 24:16  For a justmanfalleth seven times, and riseth up again: but the wicked shall fall into mischief.

F. Rejection –He had been passed over in favor of a rival.  Rejection is never easy and it shows up in friendship, business & love.  Cf. illus of young man in Pensacola, FL – Fiancé had just broken up with him that night after being engaged for two years.  Sitting in his truck, with the motor running, the music blasting and a faraway look in his eyes, he told me he was going to end it all that night.  I witnessed to him and he listened intently; but I’m not sure what happened after he left.

G. Pain –Ahithophel thought his pain of rejection was too much to face.  The young man whose fiancé broke up with him, thought his pain was too much to get over. But there’s a great truth that you don’t want to miss – It is very likely, things will not seem as bad after some time goes by.  Cf. “And it came – to pass…”

You need to avoid making big decisions while you are depressed, discouraged or defeated.  Give it some time.  Give yourself some time.  Give God some time.  Job did – and God blessed with him twice as much in the end as he had at the beginning.

H. Despair – Ahithophel, like all the rest – gave in to the oppressing spirit of despair.  Job faced that same spirit of despair, when having lost his earthly wealth, and his physical health, and the lives of his children he said, “my soul chooseth strangling,anddeath rather than my life.Job 7:15But Job left that life in the hands of God who did a much better job on Job’s future than one would have imagined possible at that point.

5. Zimri –Zimri was the captain of half of the chariots of the army of Baasha king of Israel.  And Zimri conspired against Baasha and killed him and reigned in his stead.  As soon as he began to reign he killed all the relatives of Baasha.  When Israel heard what had happened, they took and made Omri king.  Then Omri and the people went and besieged the city where Zimri was.

I Kings 16:18-19 “And it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king’s house, and burnt the king’s house over him with fire, and died,{19}For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the LORD, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.”

A.) His Sins(See v. 19 above.)

B.) Despair –He saw no way out of his circumstances.(v. 18 above)

C.) His Eyes Were on His Circumstances & Not on God –Would he have gotten out of those circumstances even if his eyes were on God?  It doesn’t look like it, but you never know.  With God all things are possible. Our job is to look to Him and ask Him for help.  Until you’ve done that – don’t give up!

D.) Impatience –He made the decision too quick.  Some would say in light of my last point, I asked God for help, and He didn’t help me.  Well, then make sure your heart is right with Him, ask again, and wait on His direction.  Suicide is often an impulsive act by an impatient person going through extreme difficulty.  I reiterate what I mentioned earlier,  avoid making big decisions while you are depressed, discouraged or defeated.  Give it some time.  Give yourself some time.  Give God some time.

E. No Peace –In II Kings 9:31the question is asked, HadZimri peace, who slew his master?” The implied answer is obviously, “No!”  The people were not at peace with him, nor was he at peace with himself.  People problems often figure into the discouragement of those who contemplate suicide.  The solution Get your eyes off people and onto Jesus.  But Zimri’s problem was deeper than just people being at odds with him, he was obviously not at peace within himself.  The answer to this is a right relationship with God.

All right, finally, the most famous suicide in the Bible:

6. Judas Iscariot – Matthew 27:1-5When the morning was come, all the chief priests and elders of the people took counsel against Jesus to put him to death:{2}And when they had bound him, they led himaway, and delivered him to Pontius Pilate the governor.{3}Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, repented himself, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders,{4}Saying, I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is thatto us? see thou to that. {5}And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.

What prompted Judas to take his own life?  By his own mouth it was

A.) Sin –This has shown up repeatedly in the lives of those that have committed suicide in the Bible.  Not only that, but in many of the cases that I’ve referenced outside the Bible, sin was a big factor.  Two of the 3 men that killed themselves in the Erie County Holding Center were heroin abusers.  Sin will drive you crazy.That’s why Jesus said, “…go, and sin no more.” For all of the pleasure sin promises, those that give themselves over to it wind up most miserable! When we sin we betray Christ, like Judas did.

B.) Despair –Just like the rest, Judas despaired of living.  Sin and despair operate hand in hand.  The one seems to lead to the other.

Poor or rich, famous or obscure, educated or uneducated, saved or lost,  many a person troubled by sin, has despaired of life – Because sin cannot deliver what it promises!It ultimately delivers the exact opposite of what it promises, for There isno peace, saith my God, to the wicked.”Judas gave up hope.  He could have turned to God, but he did not.

C.) Worldly Sorrow – II Corinthians 7:10For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.  Judas repented himself, but did not repent toward God.  He felt bad about what he did, but concocted his own solution; and the sorrow of the world worketh death.

Those are 6 suicides in the Bible.  There was almost a 7th.  So before we finish completely, let me quickly tell you that story.

It’s found in Acts chapter 16. Paul & Silas had been arrested and unjustly put in prison for being good Christians.

But it wasn’t either of them that despaired and contemplated suicide.

Quite the contrary, after being beaten, thrust into prison and their feet put in stocks, the Bible says, “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.

{26}And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed.

{27}And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.

{28}But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.

{29}Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,

{30}And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?{31}And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

{32}And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house.

{33}And he took them the same hour of the night, and washedtheirstripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway.

{34}And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.

The Philippian jailer was the suicide that wasn’t.  He who a short time earlier had his sword drawn and was all set to take his own life, was now sitting with his family rejoicing in his new found faith.

And that could be you!  From suicide to the Saviour!!

If you are in despair right now to the point of suicide – or if you are simply without peace, whether you are to the point of suicide or not; why don’t you bow your head right now and pray to the Lord Jesus Christ and ask Him to save you.

You could say something like this if you mean it from your heart.

Dear Jesus, I know that I’m a sinner.  I believe that you died for my sins on the cross.  I believe that you were buried and rose again the third day according to the scriptures.  Dear Jesus, please come into my heart and save me from my sins and from hell.  I repent of my sins and I receive you as my personal Saviour.  I am right now trusting you, Jesus, as my only hope for forgiveness and heaven.  Amen.