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Thoughts on Suicide

Suicide is the perfect storm of spiritual warfare where all three of our enemies as Christians converge. The flesh wants the pain to stop. The secular world would have us believe that it is a perfectly acceptable solution to our problems. And the Devil relentlessly brings doubt, distortion, and lies. As the evil mastermind behind spiritual warfare Satan’s two primary weapons are his lies over Truth, and darkness over light. Like a colossal chess game he maneuvers his pieces so as to force us into a corner of hopelessness, pain, and despair, and then offers suicide as our only way out.

In a tragic number of cases he wins because like Eve in the Garden of Eden we are ill prepared against his evil devices. It shouldn’t be that way, given that God has given us everything that we need for life and godliness that we might fight and win these and any other battles. (Please carefully read Ephesians 6:10-17; 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 1 Peter 5:8-11; and 2 Peter 1:3-8

A central text of Scripture that addresses spiritual warfare is 2 Corinthians 10:3-5. (Please read.) The weapons that we fight with are not physical weapons but spiritual, and are mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds. Ephesians 6:16-17 tells us above all to take up the shield of faith (Romans 10:17 faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word of God), that we may quench the firey darts (darkness and lies) of the enemy; the helmet (which protects our minds and thoughts) of salvation; and the Sword of the Spirit which is the Word of God. Scripture records two occasions when an individual went one on one with Satan. In Genesis 3 Eve relied on her common sense. In Matthew 4 our Lord Jesus relied on Scripture as His basis of Truth. In spiritual warfare proficient knowledge and use of God’s Word can mean the difference between life and death.

When we or someone we love is in this battle with suicidal thoughts our first thoughts often turn to medical science and to the degree that we are physical beings it is certainly prudent to have a doctor rule out any medical issues that may be causing or exacerbating our condition, and/or prescribe medications that might alleviate the pain or despair that we are experiencing. But to the degree that we are spiritual beings created in the image of God should we not also consider a spiritual approach to the issues as well?

The Truth of God’s Word which is the Sword of the Spirit, and the Shield of Faith are two of our most powerful weapons:

1 Corinthians 10:13: No temptation has taken you that is not common to man. God is faithful who will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation He will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. (ESV)

Romans 8:31 What shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? (ESV)

Hebrews 13:5b-6: He has said “I will never leave you or forsake you.” So that we can confidently say “the Lord is my helper, I will not fear; what can man do to me?” (ESV)

These powerful Truths are not to be read lightly but to be internalized, meditated upon, read prayerfully, and believed by faith. Many of the Psalms provide a road map that we can follow from deepest despair into the very presence of God.

If you are the one battling thoughts of suicide please realize that you are in a spiritual battle and there is strength in numbers. God never intended that we go it alone. Ask Him to bring to your mind the person or persons that He already has in place to help you: A mature Christian friend, a Pastor, Sunday School teacher, Biblical counselor, a family member. If nothing else the Suicide Prevention Lifeline number is: 800-273-8255 and is staffed 24/7. Be honest and open. Let them help you find better solutions to your problem than the one offered by the Devil.

If you are the friend or family member of someone who has threatened or even alluded to suicide please take it seriously! Never minimize! Proverbs 18:21 tells us that “Death and life are in the power of the tongue.” May it never be that the last words that person hears us say are “you’ll never do it” or “you don’t have the guts” or “you’re just trying to manipulate me.” Better that they hear us take their problem seriously, listen to their concerns (James 1:19), and either help them think through to better solutions or get them to those who can.

Spiritual warfare is real. The ammunition is live. The casualties are real. Our enemy is more cruel, ruthless, and deadly than we often realize. But greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world! May we as Christians take the battle seriously and be faithful to take up the whole armor of God that we may not only stand as good soldiers of our Lord Jesus but also bear one another’s burdens and defend one another with the very real weapons we have been given.