The “S” Word


Last evening just before time for “Peak of the Week” at White’s Ferry Road Church I was suddenly and soundly reminded that the prince of darkness is steadily at work. As Carol and I finished our dinner my cell phone brought the news that a former associate and dear friend had committed suicide.

In the rush and confusion of the next few moments my emotions raged. A smothering sadness soon gave way to intense anger at the evil one and then compassion for a grieving son, sisters, and mother. Today I will visit with some of them and listen as they ask dozens of questions that have no answers, and love them however I am able.

I have lost a friend, and in one of the ugliest ways. For some reason all hope was lost, uncertainty about the future overwhelmed, rational thought became impossible, the inner turmoil was unbearable, all possibilities but none will ever be clear. I only know that my friend whom I loved took her own life.

And I know that my troubled friend went out to face my Heavenly Father who is altogether just, loving, long suffering, and knew my friends end long before any of us knew her beginning.

The name on her church is different than mine but she trusted the same Christ I do. She took her own life, an awful sin and affront to God. I ask myself, isn’t suicide one of the myriad of offences Jesus bore in his body and paid for in full?

I’ll close this post with a quote from John Piper. These are remarks he made at the funeral of his friend who also took her own life in 1982. They express my heart today.

A Question

Finally the question: What about our friend? Was she made new when she put her life into the hands of God? We have good reason to think she was on the new road. Not instant change, but on the road. The wounds of sin don’t heal easily.

But then came the suicide. And in our minds there lingers the question: Is she safe with Christ? Or does suicide bring condemnation? Jesus has a word for us here:

Truly I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the sons of men, and whatever blasphemies they utter; but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness but is guilty of eternal sin. (Mark 3:28–29)

Only one thing puts a person beyond forgiveness: blaspheming against the Holy Spirit. But this is not any single act, for Jesus says any sins and blasphemies will be forgiven those who follow him. No. Blasphemy against the Spirit of God is treating the Spirit as dirt by continually and persistently resisting and rejecting this call to repentance until death.

No single sin, not even suicide, evicts a person from heaven into hell. One thing does: continual rejection of God’s Spirit. Our friend, we believe, gave up that resistance and accepted the forgiveness of Christ. What sort of momentary weakness, what brief cloud of hopelessness caused her to take her life remains a mystery. But no one can say this: that her final act is unforgivable. Nor any other act by any of us. For Jesus said: all sins will be forgiven the sons of men if they give up resisting the Spirit and look to Jesus for salvation.”

Royce

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18 comments on “The “S” Word

  1. I will remember you and your friend’s loved ones in prayer. A person who trust Jesus is saved, we all have moments we are weak. Whatever wounds she had, God’s hand is wiping the tears from her eyes.

  2. I too have lost a very good, close friend to suicide. It is something that never leaves you, not the questions, not the longing, nothing.

    I appreciate your candor in dealing with this as well as the quote. It has uplifted me.

    You and the family are in my prayers.

  3. Royce, I’m so sorry to hear of the loss of your friend and the pain of her family. You wrote a beautiful piece here … a beam of light in the darkness. I pray that God’s comfort exceeds all of our expectations and needs in this time of hurt.

  4. Royce I too am sorry for your loss. It was about one year ago when I lost a friend to suicide. It still hurts and leaves questions. Thanks for the words…truly that helps.

  5. Royce, I share your grief, I didn’t know Rita as you did, but I also loved her. She was someone who always was a shining and uplifting person. Bless you for the words of comfort. I Love You, Brother.

  6. My thanks to each of you who left comments. Your kindness is very much appreciated.

    Today my friend was buried. It will not be the same knowing she is not here. But, in God’s providence, I have developed a deep love for her family. They are wonderful, kind, down to earth people who are easy to love. In loosing a friend I have found more. God is so good.

    May God’s peace be theirs. Blessed are those who morn for they will be comforted.

    Royce

  7. Royce, Thank you so much for your comforting words spoken at Rita’s service. I know that Rita loved her former co-workers at century 21 as well as her family and friends. She left a void in my heart that can never be filled,but I know that she is with Our Lord and Savior. Please continue to our family in your prayers. Thanks for sharing your love and friendship with my sister.
    May God Bless You, Linda

  8. Thank you Royce for your tender words of comfort. I was unable to be here for Rita’s funeral but my thoughts and prayers were and are still with her precious family. She was truly a dear friend of mine and I will miss her terribly.
    I look forward to the day I will see her again!

    Ann French

  9. Royce, I’m Rita’s baby brother who misses her greatly already . Thanks for speaking @her farewell ,your words and comments sure helped me and many others i’m sure .
    Duane

  10. Mr. Royce, thank you for this article! My name is Heather and i am one of Rita’s nieces. About ten years ago i struggled with this topic when a friend of mine committed suicide and with each suicide that I have dealt with since. This puts my mind to ease on a subject that has plagued me for quite some time.

  11. There is no way to understand or to begin to understand what life has in store for us. I have had my faith tested in many ways and I stand firm on the word. I know that we may never understand why things happen, we just have to know where to find strength to make it through. I told one of her family members that whatever was hurting her so much is gone and she is now at peace, with that said, I wish the same peace for her family.

  12. Royce, I feel so fortunate to have you in my life..My prayers are with you and your friends family..God Bless..

    Thanks Tim, the feelings are mutual.

    Royce

  13. Royce, I have just read your message and the many replies. You have given me a new and comforting perspective, and my heart finds ease. I hope your friend’s family is healing from such a painful loss.
    This is my first experience with your blog, and you have blessed me.
    Praising the Father for your insight and kindness, Alta

    I appreciate your kindness. The family is doing quite well. So far as I know they are all followers of Jesus. It has been a delight to get to know them.

    Royce

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