Nov 13

This article looks at what brings suicidal thoughts, shows that the Bible prohibits suicide, and shares how one can deal with a person who is suicidal.

In 2005, 32,637 suicides occurred in the United States. I wept when I read that statistic. Also, the picture to the right very much touched my heart. This should give us a greater holy hatred for the devil and sin.

There are four times as many men committing suicide than women. In the US, over half of the men that committed suicide used a firearm, whereas 40% of women poison themselves and only 30% used a firearm.

I was surprised to find out that elderly people (65+ yrs) have the highest rate of suicide in the US, with 14.7 deaths per 100,000 compared with 10.0 per 100,000 for youth (15-24 yrs). Also, the West has the highest rate with 12.1 per 100,000 compared with 8.1 per 100,000 in the Northeast.

The following information was written by Steve Carr, who is the Pastor of a congregation of 500 people and has received training and experience in counseling suicidal cases. I modified and added to the article a few points on logistics and modesty. This information will leave you better equipped to deal with a suicidal person if the Lord should allow you to be put into that position.

Despair, or a Total Lack of Hope — When a person is caught in the midst of a problem that they feel has no solution, they naturally lose hope. When they continue to struggle with what they perceive as a problem with no solution, many people arrive at a place of complete despair. Thoughts of suicide are a natural result. The key to understanding someone who is thinking of suicide is that they see their problem as an either or situation. Either they go on in hopelessness, or they commit suicide. They see no other answer or possible solution. We notice that Judas saw no remedy for the guilt of betraying Christ (Matt. 27:3-5). Job saw no relief for the physical misery he was enduring (Job 3:20-21). Solomon hated life because he saw no purpose in living (Ecc. 2:17). The keeper of the prison thought the prisoners had escaped and felt he would be put to death. (Acts 16:25-30).

Another Cause of Suicidal Thoughts is Anger — This anger can be towards anyone, for any reason. Jonah wanted to die because he was angry at God for His mercy toward the people of Ninevah (Jonah 4:1-9). He was also angry at the Ninevites because of their wickedness. Samson’s desire to take revenge on the Philistines motivated him to take his own life along with theirs (Judges 16:27-31). Many times people will commit suicide to get back at someone they are angry with, in an attempt to hurt them. Other times, people who are angry at themselves for their own failures will take their life in an attempt to punish themselves for their sin. This is a possible reason for Judas hanging himself (Matt. 27:3-5).

Scriptures That Prohibit Suicide
1. Murder is prohibited (Exodus 20:13). Suicide is self-murder!
2. Jesus came to save life and to do good, not to see a person kill or destroy their life (Mark 3:4). This would be contrary to the eternal purpose of God for their life (Eph. 2:10).
3. Suicide is contrary to faith, which fights and overcomes the pressures and temptations of the world (1 Tim. 6:12) (2 Tim. 4:7-8) (1 John 5:4).
4. For a person to commit suicide is to destroy something that does not belong to them. Their body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and belongs to God. To destroy one’s life is to destroy something that belongs only to Him (Ezek. 18:4) (1 Cor. 6:19-20) (Eph. 1:14). God alone has the right to give or take away life. Job recognized this right in Job 1:22.
5. Peter tells the Philippian jailer who is about to commit suicide, “Do thyself no harm” (Acts 16:27,28).

What Do You Say and Do with Someone Considering Suicide?
1. First, take everyone seriously who threatens suicide! Sometimes people think, “Oh they’re only trying to get attention.” This is a common misconception. While in some cases this may be true, who would want to be make a wrong judgment call when it concerns a person’s life?
2. Try to get the person’s name, and if you have call display, write down their phone number immediately. This is very important, because if they hang up you would need to convey this information to the police. Get their name in a way that is as disarming as possible. You may want to say, “My name is Bob and your name is…?” If they only give you their first name, record it and then try to get the last name. You may want to say, “My last name is Mutch, which is Scottish. What is your last name?” Remember to write this information down.
3. Acknowledge to them that you can see that their problem is a serious one. This enables them to feel that someone really understands and is listening. This begins to give them hope. Do not minimize their problems, as this creates the opposite effect.
4. Share with them that at one time you were in despair and could not see a way out, but a way was made out. Also let them know that there are many people who have been in despair and have found a way out. This will offer them hope that there is a way out for them.
5. Have them explain fully why they are considering suicide; listen carefully, and take notes if possible.
6. Remember, they feel they are caught in an “either or” situation where they see no solution.
7. Explain to them that there is another solution that they have not seen yet: God’s solution! With every problem or trial, God always provides a way out or the grace to sustain them (1 Cor. 10:13) (2 Cor. 12:9).
8. Minister hope by sharing God’s plan for them. If they are not a Christian, explain the plan of salvation. God will forgive all their sin and make them a new creature in Him (1 John 1:9) (2 Cor. 5:17). If they are a Christian, remind them of the power of God; that all things are possible with Him (Matt. 19:26), that His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9), that He has mercy to forgive, that His plan is fore-ordained (Eph. 2:10), and any other verses that focus their attention back on God’s ability and love.
9. Seek to resolve any anger they may have towards God, others or themselves!
10. If someone is drunk or high on drugs and they call you, this is not the time to counsel them. All you can do at this point is to keep them from doing something rash.
11. If a person asks you, “Will God forgive me and accept me into His kingdom if I kill myself?”, tell them the Scripture gives no such assurance and that it is sin to kill yourself. Then concentrate on what Jesus did say: His desire to seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10), and that He came to give abundant life (John 10:10). Encourage them that if they will allow you to counsel them, you can help them solve their problems in a Biblical way. It is the Father’s good pleasure to give them the kingdom (Luke 12:32).
12. Avoid all argument if a person is on drugs or is intoxicated. Just get the person to put the gun or knife down, or throw the pills away. Get them to do this indirectly by getting them to write down their problems, or make coffee etc.
13. After you have talked to them for a bit, ask them for their address and tell them, “I am coming over so we can talk more about this, as I feel like I can really help you.” Brothers should bring their wife or a spiritual sister from the congregation with them if the person is a woman, as some women will not want to give their address out to a man and it is good to have a modesty shield if possible.
14. Get them to talk with someone else while you go over to the house, so despair does not overtake them.
15. If you have a second phone, call the deacon in your congregation and have them phone others for prayer. If you do not have a second phone, then have someone else in the house go next door and phone. As you are talking to the person, be praying and asking God to guide you.
16. If they have a gun, you will have to call the police so they can disarm them. If they have a knife, you should meet them at the door and make sure they have put the knife down.  Then ask them to step out of the house and sit in the car.
17. In almost all cases, it is advisable get the person to come to your home or take them to the hospital. If you leave the person where they were, they may fall into the same despair again.
18. You are responsible before the Lord to follow up with this person and do whatever you can to give them spiritual and mental help.

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3 Responses to “How To Counsel Suicidal Persons”

  1. 1. Terence Says:

    Thanks for the tips will share it with my local congregation.

  2. 2. Katherine Says:

    I am a Christian who at the age of 11 and again at 23 has thoughts of suicidal. Thanks be to God that I had enough Jesus in me to think it through. I actually rationalize why I couldn’t take my life and/or anyone elses. I want to be able to counsel people from a non-biblical as well as a biblical standpoint. Thanks you for the tips. May God continue to richly bless you.

  3. 3. peter Says:

    I also believe that the LORD our Father acts in misterious ways to reach everybody: we are not alone in this valley of tears; HE loves HIS children, HIS creatures; there are a huge amount of people in this world that can bet on that: actually many already did, and they all won, I can bet on that too that they won; yes, we all have freedom of
    will, but we all have a good part of our heart, which GOD tries to reach, like a radio transmitter and a receiver: the LORD is also jealous (in a healthy way of course): HE wants us to ask HIM to come into our heart, praying with sincere words from our heart, from our mind,
    and to save us, to try to stay away from any kind of temptation, not to endanger ourselves and our Spirit, and for those that are already in any kind of danger, and sin, the LORD wants to save them as well: this is the IMPORTANT part of the Famous -Grace- from Our Creator: now, from the time the LORD Jesus died for everybody, that Grace is still available like a continuing loving burning Column of Fire (loving warm Powerful Love full of Grace), available for those that -want- to -believe-, because it is all true, authentic, real, and our Father with HIS Son and the Holy Spirit All Together never lied, and will never ever lie to anybody!!!
    That is also why it is said that Jesus is THE True Way, and HIS Spirit can give to everybody that powerful strength to knock out of the way that evil that wants to take away LORDS’ people and creatures; we are all subjected to failure, sins, mistakes, weaknesses, repetitive failures, many things that then can trap us to the point that there is no way out (it seems to nus humans), but not for HIM! Oh no! HE has the Way out!!! HE wants us to Trust HIM and love HIM, not to forget about HIM, and live then the life that HE gave us: HIS true life, for the time being on this planet, and then the one that HE promissed to eveybody; this life on the planet that we know is not easy at all, but GOD gave us a limited time
    to live on this planet, and we have to let HIM decide when it is the time to leave this planet, on HIS time though, not on ours: We don’t want the LORD to regret the gift of life that HE gave us: we just have to let go of everything that hinders us from letting HIM act on us for our own goodness: that is why also the LORD our
    GOD wants us to trust HIM, have faith in HIM, and HE wants us to know HIM better and better each Day; I saw many people that at first, and for long time, had real horrible situations, having then later, one day, starting and then continuing with a smile and thanking HIM so often eveyday! That sounds very strange! … But it is because
    the Spirit of God won on those with terribly difficult situations: they also surrendered to HIM, both themselves and their problems: the most terrible situations that can catch anybody are
    the enemies of this life (let’s ask the LORD to understand everyday which are these enemies, and to keep us away from them: nobody is immune from bad situations; luck, richness, health, success are not going to last forever, the same as for those things that are the opposite of these, and GOD made also this life limited to a certain amount of years for everybody anyway: the true smart way to live this life is to let the LORD do it HIS way, and ask HIM to come into our Heart and help us do want HE thinks is right for us, and trust HIM day by day, no matter what (the true Keys of GOD to HIS House); we need to surrender to the LORD, and ask HIM to fullfill us with HIS Holy Spirit (not to surrender to the ‘enemies’, the problems and negativities of any kind) without any condition, surrender all problems to HIM, sins of any kind, enemies,
    and trust HIM, believe that HE can free our Spirit, our mind, our heart from any kind of problem, even material problems, taking it a minute at a time, an hour at a time, at any time, anywhere: Jesus, our LORD, had to fight the evil and all sins during the extreme situation that came upon HIM: HE went through it once and for all for
    all human kind, to save us, to save our life that we carry everyday within our body, but HE did it for everybody and it had to be done only once and for all; HE doesn’t want anybody to go to death based on a personal decision: our Creator and Father sent HIS only begotten Son for the Love that HE has for all of us (let’s us not take away, or forget HIS purpose for us): it truly happened, it’s all true: it’s history, it’s not a fantasy; let’s don’t ever let down our FATHER and all of those that truly and sincerely love us, we have to focus on HIM, let’s don’t be selfish or stubborn, or even abbandoned to forcing more despair on ourselves, by being even harder upon ourselves; let us give our sufferings to HIM, HE knows what to do with our sufferings; let us give all the chances that Jesus truly deserves, to let HIM help us: let go and let GOD! HE is the ONE that truly knows what we need: let’s ask HIM today, anyday of our life, many times, as many as we want and we need: GRACIOUS LORD OUR FATHER, PLEASE SAVE ALL OF US AND FORGIVE US, SAVE ALL OF YOUR CHILDREN: GLORY TO GOD IN THE HIGHEST! LET YOUR HOLY SPIRIT COME INTO OUR HEART, AND WE THANK OUR LORD JESUS FOR CALVARY, TO SAVE ALL OF US AND TO FREE US FROM ALL SINS: BLESS US AND OUR LIFE ALWAYS OH LORD, IN YOUR HOLY NAME, JESUS, WE PRAY, AMEN!

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