By Dr. Roger Barrier, Crosswalk.com
Hi, I don't feel comfortable stating my name, but I am 17 and a Christian. I was raised as one and was always told and preached that without God and believing he died for me then I'm not living right. But I have these constant lows lately...I always pray to God for help and strength but I never get anything back and that just makes me so much more angry at him that he won't help me. I know he is but at the same time, I feel like I’d be better off just giving up. I guess my main question is, if were to one day give up and let in to my depression and commit suicide...would I go to heaven still?
I was standing on the third-floor balcony the day I decided to jump. The problem was just how to do it. If I jumped off feet first I decided that I would probably just break both legs and have to explain to everyone what I was doing. The other option was to dive face first and I decided that the sudden stop sounded awful. I remembered my freshman year in college during final exams when one of the students jumped out a dormitory window face first. The Baylor Lariat newspaper described how his eyes popped out of his head. I didn't want my eyeballs lying outside their sockets.
So, I backed away from the ledge and leaned my back against the wall and sat totally depressed.
I wasn't worried about going to Heaven or to Hell. Jesus forgave all of my sins at the cross—even suicide was forgiven.
As I sat thinking, it dawned on me that I didn't want to enter the Heavenly Throne Room before my time. I imagined Jesus saying: "Roger, what are you doing here? I'm not scheduled to see you for another forty-seven years. What am I going to do with you for the next forty-seven years?"
Arriving early to meet Jesus before He was finished with me on earth made suicide much less attractive.
Dear Unknown, you are obviously considering ending your life or you would never have written this email.
You are depressed and depressed people don't think clearly. My philosophy is never to make important or life changing decisions when I'm depressed. Life always looks dark to one who is depressed.
Most people I know who have committed suicide are depressed. In fact, I think that, with a few exceptions, no one commits suicide without being depressed.
Before you make any unchangeable-life decisions, please go find a medical doctor who can offer therapy or medicines to heal your depression. Life can look very hopeless when you are depressed.
And, it can look really good when you aren't. People who are not depressed seldom have any thoughts of suicide. So get some medical attention for depression ASAP.
If you continue to think of committing suicide, there are medical and psychological professionals who can help get you back "up on your feet." You are not alone. Go to the hospital and tell them what is going on and they will be glad to help you get through this difficult time.
I've struggled with depression throughout my life. Thank God for anti-depressants. Anti-depressants don't put rose colored glasses on before our eyes. Anti-depressants just take off the dark ones.
Depressed people don't see things rationally. They don't need reasons and explanations and not much encouragement. Hurting people need comfort.
Jesus said in Matthew Five: "Blessed are they who mourn…for they shall receive comfort." Mourning and comforting take at least two people--one to mourn and one to comfort.
Most pastors don't have many friends who can bring them comfort when they are hurting. So, one day, I went next door to Pete's house and asked him to listen while I told him about my struggles. Then, I asked him to pat me on the shoulder and just say, "I am so sorry that you are hurting. It grieves me that you are in so much pain…"
Comfort is the language of depression. Find a Pete. You will be surprised at how many Pete's are around just waiting to help.
By the way, it is not a sin to be depressed and want to commit suicide.
Job experienced deep depression as recorded in Genesis because of great trials that fell upon his life. Fortunately, Job worked through the pain finally got his life back together and had a great ending. You can, too.
Be comforted. God has a plan and purpose for your life. Hebrews 12:4-13 teaches that God matures us to look like Jesus by sending and/or allowing us to go through trials and difficulties:
"Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live!They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees.“Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed."
Jagged rocks in your life are really unrefined gemstones that God is working into your life.
Handling depression for me was made much easier the day I realized that God was using my depression to help me mature and to look to Jesus. I decided that I was alive, like all Christians, to express the love of Christ and to help advance the Kingdom of God right here, right now.
Please, whatever it takes, get the book by Hannah Hurnard, Hinds' Feet on High Places and read it. It is all about you and what God is doing in your life and how to find God's purpose behind all the disappointment and pain you are suffering.
When things don't go well, we all tend to get angry with God. When I don't feel like He is treating me well, I try to remember that the Bible never says that God will solve all of our problems. What he promises is to give us the grace and power to live victoriously through our problems. Read Philippians 4:10-14 and all of 2 Corinthians 11-12 and use Paul as a model of how to live in victory with God's help and power.
Now, concerning the suicide, yes, according to the bible people can go to Heaven even if they commit suicide. But, you don't want to commit suicide. God has a time and plan laid out for your life.
He has all sorts of good intentions for you. Again, you don't want to come into the throne room unannounced before your time. So, I would encourage you to continue to find strength and peace from God to keep on living.
Also, I want you to remember that there are people around you who are safe to share with. Cultivate relationships with them so you will have people to comfort you in your pain and give you the strength and help you need.
Let me know how you are doing.
I am praying for you.
More Christian Resources on Suicide:
Editor's Note: Pastor Roger Barrier's "Ask Roger" column regularly appears at Preach It, Teach It. Every week at Crosswalk, Dr. Barrier puts nearly 40 years of experience in the pastorate to work answering questions of doctrine or practice for laypeople, or giving advice on church leadership issues. Email him your questions at [email protected].
Dr. Roger Barrier retired as senior teaching pastor from Casas Church in Tucson, Arizona. In addition to being an author and sought-after conference speaker, Roger has mentored or taught thousands of pastors, missionaries, and Christian leaders worldwide. Casas Church, where Roger served throughout his thirty-five-year career, is a megachurch known for a well-integrated, multi-generational ministry. The value of including new generations is deeply ingrained throughout Casas to help the church move strongly right through the twenty-first century and beyond. Dr. Barrier holds degrees from Baylor University, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, and Golden Gate Seminary in Greek, religion, theology, and pastoral care. His popular book, Listening to the Voice of God, published by Bethany House, is in its second printing and is available in Thai and Portuguese. His latest work is, Got Guts? Get Godly! Pray the Prayer God Guarantees to Answer, from Xulon Press. Roger can be found blogging at Preach It, Teach It, the pastoral teaching site founded with his wife, Dr. Julie Barrier.
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