Suicide, Part 3
This will be the last installment on the topic of suicide. How should Christians respond to those affected by this tragedy? To begin, I will explore how Christians should not respond.
A story out of Michigan from December 2018 illustrates this. During a funeral service for a 18-year-old boy who died by suicide, a Roman Catholic priest said, “I think that we must not call what is bad good, what is wrong right. . . . Taking your own life is against God who made us and against everyone who loves us. . . . The finality of suicide makes this all the worse. You cannot make things right again.” As expected, the family was shocked. The Archdiocese of Detroit later issued a formal apology to the family.
Why shouldn’t Christians respond in this manner? Because of Rom 12:15: “Weep with those who weep.” When others suffer, Christians are to respond with sympathy, not a lecture. As this passage states, we are to literally cry with those who are crying.
Jesus himself embodies Rom 12:15 in John 11:32–5. Jesus’ spirit was “moved and greatly troubled” when he saw “Mary and the Jews who had come with her” weeping. “Jesus wept” with those who wept. He did not tell everyone that Lazarus was a sinner who deserved to die. Instead, he shared in Mary’s grief by weeping with her.
There are other ways Christians can respond to those affected by suicide. Nevertheless, “weeping with those who weep” is an important text with reference to suicide. This does not mean that we suspend our belief that suicide is sin, but it does mean that this issue takes a backseat to the immediate needs of the person affected by suicide. Let compassion reign.