I Just Lost A Friend. He Committed Suicide And It Hurts

I first thought about writing on what the Bible says about Christians who commit suicide in October, 2016. But I did not know how to persuasively, clearly, and convincingly share my thoughts on the issue. As a result, after titling it What Happens to Christians Who Commit Suicide, I abandoned the article.

I am glad I didn’t write the article.

You probably can tell from the title that I was writing about a faceless, nameless and unknown Christian who commits suicide. And the article was more on how much I knew about what the Bible says about suicide. It was about me. Not the men, women, and children who lost a father, a brother and a friend to suicide.

But as I am writing, there is a sharp pain on my left side. My head is spinning around like a broken ferris wheel in an abandoned amusement park. An avalanche of questions is hammering my peanut brain, and I can’t take it. I can feel my body crumbling inside me with each thought and memory.

My question, what happens to Christians who commit suicide was rather naive and childish. I do not know it; I can feel it. And the question what does the Bible say about Christians who commit suicide? It is self-righteous and arrogant.

Suicide doesn’t only take away unceremoniously those we love. Leaving behind a tonne of unanswered questions, it hurts and leaves a wound on the hearts of the bereaved – a wound no amount of rationalization, biblicism or self-righteousness can heal. My heart is wounded.

What do you do when a friend commits suicide?

I rarely read the news these days; it’s negative, depressing, and often fake. But today was different. While doing my research on my next post on Focus Africa: Theological Gleanings From Around The Globe, I saw a headline that caught my attention:
Gospel musician kills self on video after fight with girlfriend

I was angry. And I was pissed. What kind of gospel musician does this dumb thing? Was this girl really worth dying for? This guy was probably a foolish, self-centered and attention-seeking moron. And he called himself a Christian?

I was angry because I thought his actions brings the kingdom of God into disrepute. And I was angry because I believed God hired me as his PR manager. His suicide makes people reject the power of the gospel to bring life where there’s death. Of course, I was a jerk.

Before I could read the article, my heart melted seeing a familiar smiling face. I knew the guy who had committed suicide. And that is an understatement; he was my friend in Bible college. We actually sat together in class.

Smart, soft-spoken, humble, my friend was far from being dumb, egotistic, self-centered, and attention-seeking. He commanded the room when he entered, and everyone loved him. I still remember listening to his debut album with my wife and we both marveled at his talent.

But beneath the smiles, lay a tortured soul. And I bet no one knew it. I only discovered today that the time he didn’t come for class for two weeks he was actually in the hospital. He attempted to commit suicide and was fortunate enough that someone rushed him to the hospital.

When we asked him about where he was, “I was sick.” That’s all he could say. We prayed for him and forgot about it. I could have done better; I could have offered my ears, just to listen to him pour out his heart. Maybe it could have helped him deal with the problems.

If you’re wondering what happens when a Christian commits suicide, this is what happens this side of heaven:

  1. You’re angry at yourself for no apparent reason
  2. You blame yourself for not being there for your friend
  3. You’re filled with guilt because you’re convinced you could have helped if you knew
  4. You’re filled with shame because you think people now believe you’re a lousy friend
  5. You have dozens of unanswered questions that you know might remain unanswered

What does the Bible say about Christians who commit suicide?

The Bible does not say much about Christians who commit suicide. Only six suicides are recorded in the Bible, five in the Old Testament and one in the New Testament. Interestingly, besides Saul’s armor bearer, all the other five were notable of their wickedness; Judas, Saul, Abimelech, Ahithopel, and Zimri.

But that doesn’t mean all people who commit suicide are wicked. Even the great apostle, Paul once considered committing suicide (2 Corinthians 1:8), “For we do not want you to be unaware, brothers, of the affliction we experienced in Asia. For we were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself.”

Before you get judgemental on people who commit suicide, you need to remember you don’t know what they went through. I agree with Lewis B. Smedes:

I believe that, as Christians, we should worry less about whether Christians who have killed themselves go to heaven, and worry more about how we can help people like them find hope and joy in living. Our most urgent problem is not the morality of suicide but the spiritual and mental despair that drags people down to it.
-Lewis B. Smedes

I agree with Lewis B. Smedes, “Loved ones who have died at their own hands we can safely trust to our gracious God. Loved ones whose spirits are even now slipping so silently toward death, these are our burden.” And I will add, loved ones who are burdened by guilt and shame after losing a relative or friend to suicide need the liberating Gospel.

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27 Comments

  1. I’m so sorry for your loss! Thank you for this post. Your writing is so honest and pure.
    I live in northern Italy, just an hour from the Swiss border. Switzerland’s policy on suicide is so open that they even allow foreigners to come for physician-assisted suicide. They don’t require a diagnosis of any kind (physical or emotional), only the patient’s desire to die and the money to pay for it.
    I once wondered aloud, “Lord, isn’t it maybe kinder to let a person die if they want to? After all, we do it for suffering animals.” I wasn’t expecting an answer, but the Lord did answer me very strongly: “I am the Lord of Life. Ending a life is an action from the opposite spirit.”
    Statistically, people who have had relatives that committed suicide are much more likely to commit suicide. This is a generational curse, and a familiar spirit. Whenever we suspect that someone is struggling with suicidal feelings or with depression (which is often anger turned inwards), we must pray for their deliverance, as the Holy Spirit leads.
    Again, thank you for your post, and I’m so sorry for your loss!

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  2. Thank you for your openness and vulnerability. I don’t wish this painful situation on anyone. It’s a unique chasm of hurt that can only be understood by those who’ve been pulled into it. Too often loved ones are left to sort out details both physical and spiritual, constantly asking if we had ‘done enough.’ Trusting that you did, and trusting that God will continue to bring healing and clarity.

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  3. I am so glad God is ministering to you right now right where you are at. I will pray He continues to pour out His mercy and love on you and your friends loved ones.

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  4. This was heart-wrenching and it brought to my mind an occurrence of just a night ago, in of all places a funeral home. It was there as I stood with the bereaved I was introduced to another who had faced the loss of a family member 8 yrs ago to suicide. As she stood there in tears I had no words …no words at all. What do you say to someone in this situation? There may be no answers this side of heaven and all we can do is minister it the moment to those who are considering this and to the family members who are left with the memory. I am not sure I know how or what or why. I am like you lost in the fog of sadness. I love this response from another: “I am the Lord of Life. Ending a life is an action from the opposite spirit.” and that is how we need to see what we do not understand. The enemy is a roaring lion seeking whom he can devour and we must be about the business of seeking those most vulnerable out to save them as God provides us the way. Our job is to present the Lord lovingly and prayerfully. May God direct us and show us the “how” when we are presented to them.
    Hugs from afar.

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  5. I am so sorry for your loss!

    Suicide is wrong, but Satan can twist the thinking of a suffering person.

    He will whisper lies in their soul. You’re bad. You’re worthless. God has given up on you. You poison every life you come in contact with…killing yourself would be a kindness to them. You’ll wind up in Hell anyhow, so why prolong the inevitable? Horrible, horrible lies!

    My sympathies, Edmond. Jesus knows how much your friend suffered. He paid for all sins on the Cross. He is merciful as well as just.

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  6. I’m sorry for your loss. I had a Christian friend who also committed suicide. The only good news is that _nothing_ can separate a Christian from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord — he has dealt with the sin of his people completely at the cross, even this sin.

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  7. Nothing hurts more than losing a friend. Suicide hurts the most. But we thank God who always comfort us.

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    1. I feel so much pain because Richard invested much time in prayer and fasting.Grew up in Christian set up and even taught me how to play the keyboards while we stayed in his brother’s house who happens to be my pastor and mentor.he had all the support he needed if he had faced any challenges.I still ask myself,why Richard,why my brother.We were all there for you.A woman is not worth dying for.
      But nothing we can do now.I then conclude that the evil forces were powerful for him,surely as Nyasha my(sis) said,under his normal senses he wouldn’t do such a thing.Will remember you Rich.

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  8. I wanted to write this subject in the autobio. Some day I will tell the story…..thank you for capturing some of the angles that most don’t see.

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    1. I think you should really cover it. Suicide remains taboo here even though many people in the church are victims of it. Depression is shunned on the pulpit and is often, sometimes wrongly, categorized as demonic possession.

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  9. Sorry for the loss of a friend. Suicide is the worst thing….. its even worst when committed by a fellow Christian. Devil, a thief who comes to steal, kill and destroy, endeavours to leave a trail that there is no life in Christ by instilling anger, unforgiveness that leads to loss of life through suicide. There is life in Christ, may the Lord give us the power to forgive and conquer this spirit.

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    1. The devil always whisper these lies in our ears; lies about us, lies about our life, lies about people. My prayer is we will be able to build a community where people are free to share their deep struggles without fear of being judged or condemned.

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  10. Hello,
    Thank you for this post. I am sorry for your loss. I pray for your strength and comforting from the Lord. This post touched my heart. I am an individual who has suffered with depression most of my life, and I have tried to commit suicide on different occasions. I praise God for intervening. You are correct that no one knows the inner pain that some Christians experience. We may feel that no one would understand or care. However, loved ones need to be observant and intervening. Counseling, and sometimes medication, is imperative. All we need is an open heart and ear, someone who cares and wants to listen.

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  11. So sad, sorry for your loss. May the Holy Spirit, the source of all comfort, comfort you and the rest of his family.

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  12. Edmond,

    I too, have lost family. A father, when I was 12. To alcoholism. To schizophrenia. To suicide.
    I am a Christian. A husband. A father. A son. A brother. A friend.

    I have worked for a corporation for over 26 years. It has never satisfied my soul.
    To that end, I write. Never been published.

    An idea came to me months ago for a book. In doing research, it is good idea if I had a Christian blog, first. Which has led me to you. Now I have guidance from a fellow Christian on how to write a blog.

    Thank you, my brother. Proverbs 17:17
    Your story, your words, resonate with me.

    James Turano
    Joshua 24:15

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