The disappointing news of another Christian suicide came to my attention yesterday. According to the Christian Post article, "Jarrid Wilson, associate pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California, has died by suicide aged 30." Wilson killed himself "Monday night, on the eve of World Suicide Prevention Day."
According to a second Christian Post article, "Jarrid and his wife, Juli, founded an outreach to help people dealing with depression and suicidal thoughts called 'Anthem of Hope.' In the article, Wilson was described as a man who "loved the Lord and had a servant's heart." On the outside, Wilson was reported to be "vibrant, positive, and was always serving and helping others." On the inside of Pastor Wilson, however, the fierce battle between his mind and soul had climaxed."
It is not my intent to attack or judge a Christian's choice to self-murder. However, I am sincerely interested in understanding what drives a Christian to forfeit the abundant life Christ died to give His believers. After all, it's not unreasonable to wonder why anyone who claims they love God would evict the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from indwelling them. Who told these suicidal Christians to kill themselves? Is mental illness more powerful than the Holy Spirit and the living word of God?
Believers, because we truly believe, trust and hope in God's promises and the teachings of Christ and His disciples.
Isaiah 41:10--"Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.
Hebrews 13:5-- "Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee."
Jeremiah 29:11--"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end."
John 10:10--"The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life and that they might have it more abundantly."
I John 4:4--"Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world."
Psalm 55:22--" Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee: he shall never suffer the righteous to be moved."
There are several additional passages in which, if we truly believe them, our hope in Christ enables us to press on and defeat combative thoughts and emotions contradicting the Word of God.
The "nobody's perfect" excuse is understandable if it were just a few Pastors and Christians killing themselves, but a brief excerpt documented in another Christian Post article reveals national statistics that are incomprehensible. "[T]he suicide rate among 18- to 19-year-olds has increased 56 percent in the years 2008 to 2017. In that same span of time, anxiety and hopelessness among 18- to 25-year-olds has risen 71 percent. Depression among 20- and 21-year-olds has more than doubled from 2009 to 2017. Among 16- and 17-year-olds depression grew 69 percent."
The ugly facts leave us who strive to endure to the end wondering: Is this the work of Satan? Jesus's declaration to build his church upon the truth that He is the Christ, the Son of the Living God. "And the gates of hell shall not prevail against it," stands forever.
Did suicidal Christians not follow the Apostle Paul's instructions to study the word of God? Did they forget to put on the whole armor of God? Did they fail to pick up their cross daily and follow Christ?
If Christian suicide is evolving into a social trend, why should believers follow celebrity televangelists like Benny Hinn? For decades Hinn has preached the prosperity and health message; a gainful message of notoriety and wealth. Hinn conditioned believers from all over the world to pay for God's blessings and healing. Recently, Benny Hinn decided to change his prosperity message to the Cross of Christ. After sowing into Benny Hinn's ministry to receive from God, millions of Christians are still waiting to reap the harvest of their financial seed. I'm one of them! But choosing to kill me because of my impatience never enters my mind!
Waiting on the LORD by faith and not by sight is part of a believer's lifestyle. I can't help but wonder about those who didn't have Christ. For example, King Saul preferred death over falling into the hands of his enemies (I Samuel 31:4-5). Ahithophel, an advisor to King David preferred death over being punished after David returned to his throne (II Samuel 17:23). Some might consider Samson's death suicide, however, he ended his life killing others in service of God (Judges 16:28-30).
Millions of people, at one point in their lives, wished for death but never resorted to killing themselves. Take Job, for example. By chapter six verses eight through eleven, he was in such agony, he cursed the day he was born. The prophets Elijah and Jeremiah agonized over their lives but neither of them killed themselves.
Friends, life is a series of testing trials and tribulations!
Remember what Paul wrote in Romans 12? He said, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, ..." Neither God nor the Apostle Paul commanded anyone to end their life. Do believers fully realize the sacrifice of Christ on the Cross?
I hope what you've read provides concentrated spiritual food for your Christ-like souls. No Christian is "born-again" to become so burdened down emotionally, psychologically, or biologically that he or she should choose to be persuaded to murder themselves. Breaking God's commandments is not how the Holy Spirit works.
Therefore, I leave you with this: "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it" (I Corinthians 10:13).