Eden Chen

How Christians Should Respond to Suicide and Death

Eden Chen August 14, 2014

How Christians Should Respond to Suicide and Death

After spending the night after Robin Williams’ death working on a tribute video:

I received some questions from Christians on whether I should be putting together the video. Aren’t I celebrating and encouraging suicide?

Before addressing why that statement makes me furious, I want to discuss how we ought to respond in the midst of suicide and moreover the death of friends and family that don’t know Jesus. Here is my caveat, I personally have not dealt with much death but as Carolyn is an oncology nurse, we’ve talked about death weekly.

First off, if you are Christian, let’s all understand that this is an extremely difficult topic because of our beliefs on heaven, hell, sin, justification, etc. combined with the fact that we are hurting for those around us. Let us all start by being slow to speak, weeping, and praying for those families and anyone else involved.

Second, because of common grace, we can and should celebrate people’s lives

Here are 3 examples of common grace in scripture, but there are many others:

The LORD is good to all, and his mercy is over all that he has made.
– Psalm 145:9

For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.
– Matthew 5:45

But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil.
– Luke 6:35

Third, let’s not be afraid to talk about the issues that matter. I remember right around when I first became a Christian my youth pastor said that people always seem to remember the things that matter during funerals. I think there’s a lot of truth to that. Suicide and death both point to the emptiness and brokenness of life, realities that the bible is very accustomed to.

Read the book of Ecclesiastes which starts off with the author exclaiming, “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.” or the numerous verses talking about the sin that pervades everything in our world. Let’s talk about Jesus and how he came to die for the brokenness in this world. Let’s not shy away from the hope that He brings and how he rescued us out of darkness and into light.

Celebrating a life is not celebrating suicide most of all because “by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities — all things were created through him and for him” (Colossians 1:16). Robin Williams was a beautiful creation of God, given numerous gifts, cherished and loved by God, and that is something that we can all celebrate.

Let us Christians learn how to hold our tongue and be compassionate members of the human race.

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