< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: Suicide Q&A

Monday, January 24, 2011

Suicide Q&A

A member of our church congregation committed suicide this month and the church had a question and answer type program to try and help the rest of us.

A lot was talked about, but here were the top 4 concerns:

1. Please address why there are more suicides around Christmas and what can we (family, friends and church body) do to help:

Holidays are a likely time for suicides because they are looked at as family time and people who are struggling with depression are the ones who feel most unloved. Friends and church family can help by inviting them to join there celebration. “Invite the uninvited.” Hug them, pray with them and always tell them and show them they are loved.

2. I grew up hearing that suicide is a mortal sin. Meaning the person won’t go to heaven.

The Catholic Church used to teach that suicide is a mortal sin because you couldn’t confess your sin (of murder - self murder) because you were dead. This is not Biblical at all. This would be like saying that what Jesus did on the cross wasn’t enough. Romans 5:21 says that where sin abounds grace super abounds! And Revelation 1:5 says Jesus released us from our sins by His blood. Once we are saved we are saved forever! Paul tells us that “nothing can separate us from the love of God.”
A Christian’s faith is supposed to grow, but sometimes it’s weak. At those times, Christ covers us. 2 Timothy 2:13 if we are faithless, he remains faithful, for he cannot disown himself.
3. How can we help survivors?

Just be there for them. Ecclesiastes 7:2 says, 2It is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, because that is the end of every man, and the living takes it to heart. So go to them. You don’t even have to SAY anything. Help where needed. Listen. Hug. Pray with them. But BE THERE as long as they need you!

4.What do we do if we think someone is depressed and suicidal?

First you have to be aware. You have to be in their life enough to know what’s going on. You can talk to them about how God might be able to use what they are going through for good – so that they see that possibility. Let them know that they CAN get through it. Sometimes a depressed person needs to count on the faith of another person while theirs is faltering. Remind them that the definition of suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem. As deep and painful as it is, it’s temporary. Let them know they are not alone and that you care. That they are loved. Try to get them to see a Dr. to make sure there isn’t an underlying physical problem. If they are on medication, see if it needs to be adjusted. If they are talking about suicide, call 911 or the suicide hotline.



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