Has suicide affected you or your church?

Suicide is a big issue, both theologically and emotionally.

In our county, suicides are breaking records, but, fortunately, have not affected our church or family at this time.  But how about you?  Comments welcome, including what churches can do better.  Some of this will be hard for some of you, so do not feel like you must comment.  On the other hand, sharing may help deal with grief.

Suicide has affected my family or personal life.
21% (3 votes)
Suicide has affected my church.
29% (4 votes)
Although we have not had any suicides (at least in recent years) in our church, we have had serious attempts.
7% (1 vote)
7% (1 vote)
36% (5 votes)
Total votes: 14
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There are 3 Comments

Nord Zootman's picture

I and my ministry have certainly been impacted by suicide. In my personal life I have been involved closely with some who have taken their own lives including my brother in law. I have had someone else take their life with a note in their hand for whoever found them to call me, and left me a note of apology and instructions on handling their affairs. I have been asked to help a 12 year old understand why his father committed suicide. As a pastor I have preached more than one service for people of a variety of ages who ended their own lives, including one young person who wrote his father a hateful letter then killed himself. I have also ministered in situations where the person almost certainly ended their own life but it was kept secret.

What could we do better as a church? Perhaps be more honest about it's occurrence and the underlying issues  - the mental, emotional, and spiritual struggles that lead to it. We need to be clear that while it is a sin, it is not the unpardonable sin. Christians die committing other sins every day and yet this is viewed differently. We need to come alongside families who feel shame, even though there is nothing to be ashamed about. We also need to recognize the anger that this can create in loved one's lives which compounds their grief. Most of all, we need to lovingly speak truth into peoples lives wether it be someone who is contemplating suicide or dealing with the devastation of it.

Bert Perry's picture

The coworker was a very good engineer who knew how to do just about anything--hunting, work, woodworking, etc..--except apparently love his wife in a way she understood.  That one made some sense.  The one that didn't was my coworker's son, who was an engineering grad with a good deal from a grad school.  Everything to look forward to, but obviously something went wrong.

Aspiring to be a stick in the mud.

Mark_Smith's picture

I had attended a church for 13 years. The pastor was friendly in the pulpit but personally aloof. Claimed the church was a family. Everyone believed it, but not the pastor's family. It turned out he dealt with mental health issues most of his life. When he was about 55 you could literally see his countenance change, and by that I mean his facial expressions. One day we woke up to the news he had been arrested for running into his daughter's car in their driveway. It was awkward, but the the church and he continued on. A month later he was arrested while driving. At the jail they sent him to the hospital for evaluation. A day later he walked away from the secure psych ward "to go get some tacos". I kid you not. That is what he said. Obviously he had lost it. Another week later his wife came home from shopping and he had hanged himself in the garage.

Turns out off and on for years he would just disappear for days at a time with no recollection of what happened. The pastor and his family hid this from the church. When he hit his daughter's car she had blocked him in because he said he was leaving them... Prior to this we were told he had kidney problems but no mention of mental problems.