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The topic of suicide is not addressed very often in Christian circles and when it is, it is usually coupled with very emotional responses that are not reasoned out very well. With the tragedy of what has happened to Rick Warren’s family and the inevitable public discussion that will happen because of it,
My Personal Experience Dealing With The Issue Of Suicide
Let me start off by sharing that I have not been immune to this type of tragedy. At age 18, my father is suspected of committing suicide. It was the early 80’s and AIDS had just started being widespread. He engaged in a lifestyle of drugs and promiscuous sex and so was living a high risk lifestyle. The last picture that I have of him looks exactly like people who came down with full blown AIDS. Because of this my family suspects that when he found out, he took his own life.
The first funeral that I officiated at was of a high school friend who suffered from schizophrenia and ended up taking his life because the voices in his head told him that he was the anti-christ. My friend had accepted Jesus at my church and I truly believe that he was born again. Unfortunately due to the drug use earlier in his life, he had also become mentally ill.
About 10 years ago, my uncle, who pastored a church faithfully for 25 years, took his own life. He had suffered a nervous breakdown and never fully recovered. He was my mentor, friend, and father in the faith. I am confident that he had a personal relationship with Jesus.
Many people will look at these types of situations and have a knee jerk reaction. It will be based on emotion rather than on reason and grace. In my father’s case, I believe he made his choice. I know that he knew the gospel and that God wanted a relationship with him. I don’t believe that he accepted that offer.
With my uncle and my friend, the choice had been made to accept that offer. They were Christians by any definition of the word. So the question is; did their suicide cause them to go to hell? Did they miss heaven? This is a doctrine that is taught in many churches, both Catholic and Protestant.