A Pastor Dies By Suicide: Three Things We All Need to Know

"I received the below question, which is often asked concerning this issue: 'If a minister confides to leaders in his church that they are contemplating suicide, do you think their ministry is over?' I responded that it depends on the church. Unfortunately, we all know that would be disqualifying a lot of churches." - Christianity Today

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Aaron Blumer's picture

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I don't want to be misunderstood here...  I believe a suicide is always a tragedy, and I believe some do occur because of mental illness. But in general, I think we're on the wrong track if embrace an oversimplified "the suicider is the victim" message on the topic.

The truth is that destroying yourself is sin, and the greatest victims, by far, are those you leave behind. A better message about suicide would be to refocus for a while on accountability, stewardship, and similar themes...

2 Co 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.

1 Co 6:19–20 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

Jas 3:1 Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness.

The article does touch a bit on some of the theological problems that tend to create more room for suicidal thinking... but not much.

Ge 1:27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him;

Ec 12:13 13 The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

But can we educate pastors better about where to get help when the struggle gets overwhelming? Certainly! (In some of my darkest hours, the idea of ending myself has crossed my mind, though only in an abstract sort of way. I would be too afraid to stand before God having done such a thing... that, and awareness of the people who would be harmed by it, put suicide quickly back in its "unthinkable" box where it belongs.)