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How do I deal with the suicide of someone I love?

ComfortFriend

Article copyright 2017 by Bob Rogers

What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword?
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” — Romans 8:31,35, 37-39 (ESV)

Why did he or she commit suicide? Could I have done something to prevent it? Most of us have asked these questions when someone we love has committed suicide. While there are no easy answers, the Bible gives us help in this time of grief.
Let me suggest several truths that can help.

1) Guard against being judgmental.
This is not a time to judge the friends, family, and certainly not a time to judge the one who took his or her life. No one knows the pressures or problems another person faces. Jesus taught us, “Judge not, lest you be judged.” (Matthew 7:1, KJV) It will not help to judge others, nor to judge yourself.
You may have repeated the word “if.” If only I (or someone else) had said something or done something different, perhaps she or he would not have taken that precious life. Martha used the word “if.” In John 11, Mary and Martha’s brother Lazarus was dying and they sent for Jesus to heal him, but Lazarus died before Jesus arrived. In John 11:21, “Martha said to Jesus, ‘Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.'” But “if” is about the past. “If” cannot bring the loved one back, and it will not help us in the present.
Instead of asking “why?” or wondering “if,” we need to ask “what.” What can I do now? Jesus told Martha what she needed: “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25, ESV)
So instead of asking, “why,” let’s ask “what.” What can we do to be better because of this?

2) Hold on to our hope in Christ.
There is no point in ignoring the elephant in the room. So let’s address the matter directly. Is suicide a sin? Yes, it is. Is suicide the unpardonable sin? No, it is not. There are so many reasons why we should not take our own lives, which I will discuss in a moment, but the Bible does not teach that suicide cannot be forgiven. Mark 3:28-30 says that all sins can be forgiven, except for blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit refers to rejecting the Spirit’s call on us to follow Christ; this is not referring to taking one’s own life.
Our salvation is not based on the way we die, but based on the One who died for us.

3) God brings good out of the bad.
When Jesus died on the cross, the disciples thought their world had come to an end, and Jesus had been defeated. But instead, God was using it to forgive our sins, and then God raised Jesus from the dead to pave the way for us to have eternal life. God is in the business of bringing good out of bad!
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. Jesus Christ is the permanent solution who makes our problems temporary!
“So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away, our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but he things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18, ESV)

4) Let’s examine our own lives.
Life is a gift. We should not waste our lives by suddenly taking it, or by wasting it slowly by degrees, with meaningless living. Make your days count. Hug your children. Hug your parents. Say, “I love you.” Listen to one another. Reach out for help when you are in despair. Talk about your problems. We have a choice to be bitter or better because of this. If we can draw closer together as a community and with our families, we can be better.
Storms will come in our lives, but those who withstand are those who have strong roots. Years ago, a powerful storm blew down an oak tree in front of the youth center at the church where I was pastor. It crushed the roof and did major damage. Thankfully, it happened at night when nobody was inside. The reason it happened was that tree did not have deep roots. A tree that has deep roots can withstand a bigger storm.
The way you get deep roots is by a personal relationships with Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. As you grow in your relationship with Him by faith, your roots get deeper and deeper, and you are more able to stand against the storms of life.
We will never understand all of the reasons why there is tragedy in life, but if we are rooted in Christ, we can hold on despite the tragedies we face.
The contemporary Christian group, 4Him, wrote a song about the tragic death of a friend, saying,
“When the reasons aren’t clear to me
When it all is a mystery
I want to know why.
And though down here I may not understand
I won’t let go of the Unseen Hand
For it holds the reasons why.”

Hold on to that Unseen Hand, my friend. He will be there for you.

 

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Guest blog: OUT OF THIS WORLD! Part Two: The Afterlife

HeavenGreetCopyright 2013 by Joyce C. Rogers

(This is part two of a guest blog by my mother, Joyce C. Rogers, on what happens to us upon our death. Yesterday she dealt with the subject of near death experiences. Today she talks about out eternal destinations in the afterlife. She speaks from her extensive study of scripture, as well as over 20 books and other resources. Tomorrow she will share her bibliography, for your further reading on the subject.)

I studied Scriptures about Heaven and Hell when I wrote a Sunday School unit about the afterlife for Lifeway in the summer edition of 2005. Randy Alcorn’s book, Heaven, is considered a defining book on Heaven and the afterlife. He says death is not a wall but a turnstile. He uses many Scripture passages in his writings. Other books, such as Billy Graham’s writings, are worthy of reading. Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermons on Heaven are great resources.

Revelation 21 plainly tells us that there will be new Heavens and a new Earth. God will dwell with us on the new Earth. Everything will be new and perfect as it was in the beginning in the Garden of Eden before sin entered. The animals will not harm anything or anyone. The Earth itself will be changed. There will be no pollution. Vegetation will be perfect. There won’t be sin among people because God can’t live with sin.

This teaching about the new Earth is not well known. Many seem to think we will be in the present Heaven forever. However, in the End Times, things will change. We don’t have to understand it all, but simply trust God in the here and now and for the future. I think of I Corinthians 13:12 (NASB), “For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known.”

Revelation 21 tells us that God’s holy city, the new Jerusalem, will come down out of Heaven. God will live with men and be their God. There will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying or pain. The New Jerusalem will shine with the glory of God. The city is described in its vastness and beauty. The 12 gates are 12 Pearls. The great street is made of pure gold. There will be no temple, no sun, no moon, no night, nothing impure, nothing shameful nor deceitful. This and much more is plain and obvious just from reading Revelation 21.

Some people think Heaven will be boring. When our son was about three years old, he asked “What will people do in Heaven, fly around naked all day?” We laughed, but he already had seen pictures of angels flying around, dressed with only a strip of cloth, as a picture of Heaven.

We will serve God in Heaven, Revelation 22:3 tells us. That could mean a vast number of ways to serve God. Music will surely be a part of worship. Maybe we will work in the nursery. Maybe we’ll paint pictures. Surely we’ll visit with Abraham, Moses, David and Paul. And of course, with our parents, grandparents and who knows what ancestors we may see.

Dr. David Jeremiah’s sermon titled “Will Heaven be Boring?” states that Heaven won’t be boring because God is not boring, we aren’t boring, our friends won’t be boring and our work won’t be boring. Instead, life in Heaven will be delightful in every way.

Randy Alcorn says for every one person who thinks he is going to Hell, there are 120 who think they are going to Heaven. But – Heaven is not automatic.

Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for our sin. All of us have sinned. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” (I John 1:9, NIV).

As Paul and Silas told the Philippian jailer, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved – you and your household.” (Acts 16:31, NIV)

Many people don’t seriously think about what happens after
death. They don’t want to believe they will ever die, so they just don’t think about it and hope it goes away. Unfortunately, this attitude is foolish, to say the least.

Why would anyone choose to go to Hell when they could choose to go to Heaven? If you’ve never thought of it that way, please do so now. Don’t assume you will go to Heaven because you are a “good” person. Salvation is based on faith, not works.

Here are some things I learned or had confirmed during this study:
1. God is sovereign over life, death and eternity.
2. It is very, very important how we choose to spend eternity.
3. Just as Heaven is indescribably beautiful, Hell is indescribably horrible.
4. Heaven and Hell are real, physical places.
5. Life and value of babies, including preborn ones, is confirmed.
6. NDE experiences differ from dreams or hallucinations in that they make sense and they are clearly remembered, even after many years.
7. Those having NDEs stopped before entering the Gate of Pearl or the pit of Hell, from which there is no return.
8. Most of those going to Heaven don’t want to come back.
9. All of those going to Hell want to come back.
10. Those going to Heaven had a sense of warmth, love and well being.
11. Many told of hearing heavenly music, colors and more beautiful sights than they could describe.
12. Many told of seeing loved ones who had gone on before. These people were recognizable and welcoming.
13. We won’t be angels in Heaven. We will rule over angels.
14. God is not limited by time or space. Neither will we be.
15. Heaven will be absolutely wonderful!!! OUT OF THIS WORLD!!!

Copyright 2013 by Joyce C. Rogers

(Tomorrow I will post her bibliography of resources used for these two blog posts.)

What really matters

Arizona Cardinals v Philadelphia Eagles
Copyright 2013 by Bob Rogers

Millions of people gather around their television sets to watch sports championship games. Some will be very happy after the game, and others will be very disappointed. But in the end, it really doesn’t matter.

Philippians 2:10-11 says that in the end, “At the name of Jesus every knee will bow… and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

In the end, it will not matter what team you follow, but it will matter whether or not you followed Jesus. In the end, it will not matter what nation you lived in, but it will matter whether you were you in the kingdom of God. In the end, it will not matter what terrorists you feared, but whether you feared God. In the end, it will not matter which church you attended, but whether you were part of the body of Christ.

In the end, it will not matter what your political affiliation was, but whether your affiliation was with Jesus. In the end, it will not matter where you worked, but whether you served Jesus. In the end, it will not matter what family or culture you were born in, but whether you were born again into the family of God. Because in the end, what will matter is not whether you got your name in the history books, but did you get your name in the Lamb’s Book of Life?