A Biblical View of
A suicidal person is typically so wracked with mental or emotional pain that they are absolutely desperate to escape it. They are totally miserable and are certain that the only way to find happiness is to end their life. They typically are not considering the negative effects of their choice on the family members. They actually may be deluded by self-pity into thinking that everyone will be glad they are gone. Sadly, their pain is so great that they become focused only on escaping it and do not realize how their choice will hurt the people they love. Their self-focus is extreme self-centeredness.
Suicide is an extreme act of self-love, because it says, "I am so committed to my own happiness that I will take my life to gain it." Suicide is rooted in selfishness, because it is an attempt to satisfy self-serving desires at the expense of the feelings or needs of others.
There are five basic manifestations of self-love which prompt suicide:
1. Vengeance -- To hurt those who hurt us
Rom 12:17-20 "I'll show them ..." "They'll be sorry ..." "They'll see ..."
2. Guilt -- To relieve our conscience we attempt to atone for our sins
3. Avoiding trials -- To escape unhappiness death is sought
1 Cor 10:13; 1 Sam 31:4; 2 Sam 17:23; 1 Kgs 16:18; Mat 27:5
4. Solicit pity -- We want others to love us or feel sorry for us
"I am such a burden to everyone." "The world will be better off without me." "Maybe they'll miss me if I'm gone."
5. Religious merit -- For a noble cause, to gain exaltation in the after-life
ie: WW2 Japanese pilots, Buddhist priest protesters, Muslim truck-bombers
Giving up one's life to achieve religious merit is for personal gain and not to be compared with a substitutionary, sacrificial act, such as the death of Christ. True, selfless sacrifice benefits others and gains nothing for the one dying.
Suicide is not an act of genuine self-hatred
Many are tempted to think that suicide is an act of self-hatred, but Scripture teaches that no one actually hates himself, "For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as the Lord does the church …33 However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself …" Eph 5:29, 33
When Jesus taught that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves (Mat 22:30), his premise was that everyone loved themselves intensely, and needed to love others with the same intensity. In commanding us to love he used the Greek word agape, which means commitment. He did not teach that we are to have fond affection for our neighbors, but that we are to be committed to them in the same we are committed to ourselves. In other words, the same time, energy, and importance we give to ourselves, we are to give to our neighbors. Those who feel like they first need to learn to love themselves before they will be able to obey Christ's command are tragically mistaken -- those full of self-hatred or suffering from "low self esteem" are excessively committed to themselves, and are obligated to be as committed to their neighbors. In fact, they are so devoted to themselves that they cannot stop thinking about themselves -- they are on their own mind all day long. Their problem is not too little self love, but too much!
Regarding suicide, it is true that someone who takes his own life is inadvertently doing harm to himself, and doesn't appear to be "nourishing" and "cherishing" his flesh, but as we have exposed, his motives for doing self-harm express excessive self-interest. May all who are tempted with suicide flee from such selfishness! There is healing for our painful wounds in Jesus. Let nothing stop you and pursue Him with all your heart. He has the power to heal all that pains you.