Suicide is not a sin; it is result of an illness

I recently read an article titled “Is SUICIDE an unforgivable sin?” linked to a Facebook post by Reasons For Hope http://www.rforh.com/blog/is-suicide-an-unforgivable-sin/. I think this may be the WORST article I have read yet about Christianity and suicide. The article begins with this: “Let me begin by saying, I don’t believe that most churches teach a person goes straight to hell if they commit suicide (although there are some churches that teach or imply that). In fact, this is not something that is often addressed in most churches, and yet with the increasing rate of suicide it needs to be addressed” Kudos for at least acknowledging that suicide needs to be addressed… During the article the term committed suicide is used over and over again…

I tried contacting the author to educate her but was not successful. First, please, please stop saying COMMIT suicide. Say “died by suicide” or “died unexpectedly” or just plain “died”… When we use the words commit it implies criminality, shame, guilt, etc… That not a good way to pay our respect and it also sends a negative message to those who may still be struggling. If a person who has suicidal ideations hears that negative connotation it sends another message to them reminding them how “bad” they are… How shameful. Adding shame or making someone feel like a bad person isn’t inviting anyone to ask for help…

Ok, that covers the language piece… Now for the worst part of the article. The other states “Sadly, many Christians experience dark seasons of the soul and fail to find the comfort they need in Jesus. And tragically, some have taken their own life. This is why it is important to spend time in prayer and in reading the Bible, so, when a storm threatens to overtake us, we are prepared to find comfort and strength in Jesus and His Word. The Bible will give us the answers we need to deal with all problems in life, and in prayer our faith will grow stronger and we can find peace and comfort. These practices will build a foundation to stand upon in our darkest days.With all that said, we must acknowledge that there have been prepared believers who have lost their “footings” and have fallen and have taken their own lives. So is suicide a sin? Yes, it is. Suicide is the taking of human life.” Why don’t they mention that this is an ILLNESS? The Christ I know and worship will not punish for having a debilitating illness. He doesn’t punish those that die from cancer, diabetes or heart failure… Why would he punish for dying as a result of untreated or under-treated mental illness? This sickens me. As a Christian who works everyday of my life to shed light on substance abuse and mental health issues I take offense to peoples blatant disregard for other peoples wellness. I appreciate the power of prayer, but I also appreciate the severity of untreated mental illness… Is this author really stating that people that die from diabetes die because they didn’t pray hard enough? There is NO DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DIABETES AND MENTAL ILLNESS. Diabetes is the result of a chemical imbalance in the body; too much insulin or not enough. Mental illness is the result of a chemical imbalance in the brain. Lets stop treating mental illness and addiction as a choice.

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