Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. (James 1:2-4)
My first encounter with the word “suicide” occurred years ago when a certain doctor by the name of Jack Kevorkian was making headlines for a very controversial topic: assisted suicide.
Through his practices, Dr. Kevorkian sparked an international debate on medical ethics and the practice of assisted suicide. Is it ethical? Is it compassionate? What does Scripture say about assisted suicide?
I suppose that society, in general, may also share my uncomfortable association with assisted suicide, as it has started to interchange assisted suicide for a more comfortable or acceptable word: euthanasia.
While the topic of ending a life remains tough no matter what it’s called, many people want to know if ending one’s life at one’s own hands is an unpardonable sin. This also sparks more questions. Is there a difference between assisted suicide and suicide? What causes a person to reach this point? Will a person who commits suicide go to heaven?
These questions are often discussed amongst the survivors, those left behind in this world struggling to find answers.
In this week’s Trending Faith, College of Theology Dean Dr. Jason Hiles and Grand Canyon University Pastor Tim Griffin discussed the Christian view on suicide. Dr. Hiles answered the question from a theological standpoint, while Pastor Tim looked at the topic from a pastoral point of view.
Pastor Tim’s answers to the question about the Christian view on suicide got me thinking about the importance of community support for each other. It’s so crucial in this digital age to make sure we are engaging with our neighbors, our fellow students and the people we love and see every day. We cannot always tell from a text message how someone is really doing or feeling—and it is important for us as a community to support each other during both times of joy and times when the Lord is testing us.
Dr. Hiles mentions that God sometimes works through others in order for us to grow in the ways that He has intended. My challenge to you this week is to be a positive catalyst for others. I challenge you to not worry so much about the questions surrounding the Christian view on suicide, because it is not for us to judge others or their actions; it is for the Lord to decide.
Instead, I challenge you to engage with and support friends, family, church community members, coworkers and neighbors. I challenge you to persevere, as the Lord has asked us to do, and to be strong through your hardships. I challenge you to have strength for loved ones and neighbors who may be experiencing challenges in their lives that they feel they may not be able to overcome.
And I challenge you to trust in the Lord—for putting your complete faith in Him leads to salvation.
If you or someone you know has suicidal thoughts, we encourage you to reach out. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 or speak to a trusted friend or family member, counselor or church leader.