Some thoughts about the suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s son

Suicide is a terrible thing, it ends a life and brings untold grief to the ones who love the deceased most. There is no question in my mind, that in most cases, suicide is a sinful act. I say “in most cases” because of the possibility that some who have committed suicide were so mentally unbalanced that they were incapable of rational thought. I think far more suicides would fit this category than we might think. I am no psychologist but but I do know that self preservation is a human’s strongest instinct.

I am no stranger to suicide, my first cousin, a young mother and devoted wife, took her own life and seemed rational to some degree, having carefully planned the act, leaving a well thought out note to her husband and infant son. I have had numerous friends who took their own lives. I have mourned with grieving family’s who had many, many questions and few answers, the most pressing with no answer. Why?

After hearing of Rick and Kay Warren’s loss, and reading some of the most hateful tweets and posts, some supposedly from Christians, my emotions have ranged from pity to intense anger, to sadness, to confusion, and finally to forgiveness. I remember Jesus’ words from the cross, “Father, forgive them, they don’t know what they are doing“. if or not people know how gross and ugly their actions are concerning this good family and their departed son, my only option is to forgive. And so, going against my every instinct, I am by faith granting personal forgiveness to those who have sinned terribly by what they have said and continue to say.

Back to Jesus. Yes, suicide is an awful sin (in most cases…). Can if be forgiven? Yes, it has been forgiven. Many serious disciples believe that since the one who takes his or her own life is not able to confess the sin and repent it is not forgiven so the person is therefore lost.

Really? If all the atonement of Jesus did for me was to position me where I am on a day by day bargaining with God about my many sins i am in deep trouble. As I said, this is exactly what many serious Christians believe. Have you thought this through? What if tomorrow afternoon you are killed in a car crash? Did you formally deal with God about every single sin of that day? The answer is NO! You can’t even track all you have thought, or said, or failed to do. As long as you and I live in bodies of flesh we will be to some degree sinful. Is there an answer to this dilemma? Yes!

The atonement of Jesus Christ covers all sin(s), past, present, and future. If not he wasted his life. But he did not waste his life! In Romans 4 the Apostle Paul quotes David in the Psalms, 

just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works:

“Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven,
    and whose sins are covered;
blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.”

You ask, “Royce, surely you don’t believe God is not counting your sins against you, do you?” That is precisely what I believe. If not there is no way I could ever be justified by God. I’m too sinful. Oh, by the way, you are too.

Consider these words:

giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. 13 He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. (Colossians 1:12-14)


He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3)


For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. 25 Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own,26 for then he would have had to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 27 And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, 28 so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him. (Hebrews 9:24-28)


But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12)


But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God,13 waiting from that time until his enemies should be made a footstool for his feet. 14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Hebrews 10:12-14)


He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (! Peter 2:24)


For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)


Today is April 10, 2013. How many sins had you committed 1,980 years ago? That is about how long it’s been since Jesus offered his holy life, fulfilling all of God’s righteous requirements for you, by giving his body as a sacrifice for your many sins. How man had you committed in the year 33 AD?

Are you getting picture? An atonement that only covered “past sins” is not much of an atonement! Honestly, my experience is that often I can’t even live up to my own frail standards much less God’s standard which demands 100% perfection.

You see, I have been declared “righteous” (not guilty) on the bases of the life and death of Jesus, not because of my goodness. And, so it is with you if you are in Christ. Here is the deal, a life given for a life, your life, Rick Warren’s son’s life.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. (2 Corinthians 5:21)


If all God had done for us through the sacrificial death of Jesus was to forgive our past sins we would be in trouble. Before the sun went down on the next day we would be lost all over again because God’s demand is a complete holy life. Jesus’ life was that complete holy life, for you and me.

There is a mountain of Bible passages that support these facts. And, I expect there are scores that you suppose cancels these out. Well, I’ll tell you what, you try to reconcile your life with God on a daily, or even hourly basis if you want but I am satisfied with the once for all reconciliation of Jesus precious blood.

God hates sin! God hates suicide! God has done something about it. He judged it all in the person and work of Jesus our great high priest who made one offering for all people for all time. Are you in? I am all in. if not I have no hope of ever getting of my grave or seeing Jesus face to face. I have tried desperately and I find that I am not good enough to be approved by God. By the way friend, you aren’t either. 

I expect Rick Warren’s son to be in heaven along with the tens of millions of former offenders who appropriated the atonement of Jesus for their sins.

I am asking the God of all comfort to be near the Warren family and all those who loved their son. May they know the peace of God that only comes because of peace with God.

Royce Ogle
Monroe, LA


6 comments on “Some thoughts about the suicide of Pastor Rick Warren’s son

  1. I concur brother. Well thought out. Sometimes we’ll put an animal out of it’s misery but allow our kin to suffer as long as they can suck air to draw a breath. Who knows all the answers. Surely not I.

  2. Royce, this is very well said and until we understand what “true grace” is all about, we will never fully understand who we are in Christ. It needs to be less of “us” and “more” of Him. Thanks for your honesty and for sharing God’s wisdom that He has blessed you with. If we really believe God has forgiven us of our past, present, future sins, we should never be judging someone elses life.

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