Frank Viola Author
Jan 22 2014
This article has been edited and now appears in my Titan.
September 10, 2014 at 2:17 pm
Very gracious and well said. It is a shame we have ‘not so learned Christ’ or yet learned that our fellow man is loved by our Father & died for by His Son
September 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm
This article was an eye opener to me and I felt convicted and immediately repented, for I too have fallen prey to that judgmental spirit whenever someone commits suicide. I have felt if you commit suicide there is no hope for you, but I failed to remember that God is merciful and He alone knows the truth about a person’s heart. Eternity will reveal who made it and who didn’t. Thank you for this gentle reminder.
aly d. chase says
September 15, 2014 at 1:45 pm
Shared on Facebook. Thank you for being brave and speaking without fear of rebuke, Frank.
Richard King says
September 15, 2014 at 1:54 pm
This article really touched my heart. We as christians have no right to condemn anyone for there mistakes. God only knows we make mistakes each and every day of our lives. There was a time in my life that i became very depressed and actually tried to commit sucide. I didn’t think ” oh ok, I think I will kill myself today. I just got in my car and drove towards the cliff at a high rate of speed. All I thought about was how badly I had hurt those I loved. Thanks be to God I ran out of gas and coasted within feet of the cliff. I thank the Lord that I had good christian friends that helped me get through this. PLEASE don’t make the families of the person who does this have to go through any more than they need to. ” AND THE MOST IMPORTANT COMMANDMENT IS LOVE”
Lindy J. Combs says
September 15, 2014 at 3:12 pm
Marc Goodman says
September 15, 2014 at 2:38 pm
Frank I think a lot of these professing Christians just have not gone through enough pain with their own children and erroneously think that they have all the answers. My wife and I have been deep into despair with my son and I can tell you it is fraught with difficulties never before faced by most Christians. I can say that those we met along the road know all too well the frustration and pain brought about by our children’s decisions. They are the ones that I found to be the most compassionate simply because there was nothing left in their hearts but love.
September 15, 2014 at 3:07 pm
Thank you Frank your words truly ministered to me.
September 15, 2014 at 3:10 pm
Maybe someone will be encouraged with this: I recall my own personal plans in 1995 for how to quickly end my own life, since I **truly believed** everyone who knew me would be better off without me and my “caldron” of pain. Self centeredness? You bet’cha…from deep rejection and repeated abandonment…woundings. Since childhood, I had believed I was a burden on planet Earth. But then someone came along who exposed the lies I had internalized as truth about me. She convinced me from Psalm 139 that I was **supposed** to have been born, that God literally chose me. I began to learn that “I matter!”
“The Butterfly Effect”…in that book, Andy Andrews, a Christian comedian, speaker, author…compiled He authored/compiled the book after researching many interviews with teenagers who had survived their own attempt at suicide. The most common response was that they just did “not believe that they mattered”. The book shows how much one person…each of us. The book contains about five different stories about famous people who changed the world by their seemingly small action, like a butterfly flapping its wings.
Youtube has many of his public speaking videos about the butterfly effect.
September 15, 2014 at 3:44 pm
Frank, This is one of the best posts I have read by you. All I can say is, amen and amen, and God bless your beautiful heart for those who are hurting and suffering. THAT’S the Jesus I know!
Pieter Fourie says
September 15, 2014 at 3:49 pm
Thank you Frank – for not rebuking me, but for a gentle reminder, as the Holy Spirit would do. I have shared your article with a retweet and on Facebook. I am sometimes a prisoner to the black dog ie depression and it is only through the grace of God and medicine, which He is also the author of, that I am able to deal with it. We as Christians should stop condemning others, because it is only through the grace of God that we became saved sinners. That is why I end with this quote of yours in this article: “During times like this, our hearts (Pieter’s heart) should burn. WE (Pieter) should be consumed with guilt that we haven’t (Pieter has’nt) done enough to share the Good News.”
September 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm
Thank you for this article. Wounds are still very raw but it is helpful in knowing how to respond to my own nephews completely unexpected taking of his own life just over two weeks ago.
Joshua Lawson says
September 15, 2014 at 4:41 pm
Amber Passini says
September 15, 2014 at 4:53 pm
Frank, yet again you serve up exactly the kind of response we should have. Thank you for always pointing back to Christ. Can you tell us the title of that Watchman Nee book you read? Thank you.
Frank Viola says
September 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm
Thanks Amber. I don’t remember which, I’m sorry, but I *think* it’s one of these: http://frankviola.org/watchmannee
September 15, 2014 at 6:32 pm
We are a family who love Jesus, my husband comes from a family of pastors. We have 2 beautiful members of our family who struggle with depression, both fight the incredible pull to self-harm and battle suicidal thoughts. It is devastating. They both love Jesus and one has a huge heart for mission. We don’t understand why, we have tried many approaches. We never thought we would face this, these family members are loved and they know it.
My heart goes out to Rick Warren and I am saddened by the lack of compassion from those Christians who speak so judgementally. We hold on to Jesus.
Jacquie Woodward says
September 15, 2014 at 7:03 pm
I appreciate your articulating what I have felt about both the Warren and the Williams tragedies…..and too many others. There are parallel tragedies in these events—the torment and loss of the suicide victim and the nasty dark spot in the hearts of those who cannot or will not respond in love and yet claim the name of the Lord. Nee also makes a good point.
Jim Cooper says
September 15, 2014 at 7:27 pm
WELL, WELL said.
September 15, 2014 at 9:25 pm
Thank you so much for your words of kindness, compassion and wisdom towards those who have and who regrettably may face such pain and agonising loss. We need to be sobered by such words, I know I have and especially in light of who we are before God.
He is our judge ultimately as you have pointed out through scripture, Lord help us and save us from ourselves (our fallen nature) and protect others from us also (the self righteous, misinformed fallen part of us), and make us a people revealing your own heart, reflecting Christs Life towards those around us.
Love you brother.
September 16, 2014 at 12:28 am
Thankyou Frank. I have lost friends to suicide. Also have had close contact with others who have survived suicide attempts. Life is precious, and God breathed. It would “appear” that affluent Western living can be very fast paced, exciting, yet exhausting. By teaching our children to live by the Indwelling Life of Christ, Jesus can guide the meaning in and of life because He is our Life. Then it doesnt look so much that we are releasing our kids into a life pace similar to a Nascar revving redline up on jacks. There you go kids, learn to drive or crash and burn! Thankyou Jesus for teaching us how to live well.
Fiona Linford says
September 16, 2014 at 1:53 am
Well said Frank, as someone who has struggled with mental illness myself I am so grateful to have a loving saviour who loves me regardless. I wanted to cry reading those comments others said after Rick Warren lost his son. They don’t get Him do they? If you have met Jesus there is no way you could say those things.
Noel Wood says
September 16, 2014 at 10:16 am
How quick people are to vent unchristian vitriol on anyone that does not meet the Ideal Standard (Jesus). Sometimes I think that when bad things happen, as they often do in this fallen tragic world, it is a test of our heart reaction, as to what comes out of our months. Remember Jesus said what comes out of our mouths is what’s in our hearts. It would be mightily interesting if we could have a glimpse into the hearts of those who criticise so freely, would they meet the Ideal Standard? We all stand in need of Him 24/7, without Him we can do nothing. Look again at the circumstances of when Jesus said to the woman taken in adultery ” neither do I condemn you”. Let the love of God have it’s perfect way in our hearts and lives today. Blessings.
Tex Tonroy says
September 16, 2014 at 12:49 pm
Because of what it says in Matt 6:14-15, I’m literally scared to judge people. Did those ‘Christians’ miss Rom 8:1-4?? Or Jesus’ “he who is without sin can cast the first stone”? I’m gratified to know there are brothers and sisters out there like you Frank. Thank God for you and them.
September 16, 2014 at 6:10 pm
Very well put, Frank! Suicide is a very selfish act, but as you stated, people can fall into such despair, even to thinking that others will be better off without them. I have been in that mode twice in my life: once at age four (interrupted by calls from mother, who missed me) and again in 1997, while at Santa Monica Pier. This last time I was so down I had blacked out driving to the pier. I had no other thots except ending all pain and misery from recent events in my life. I ‘felt’ alone at the time and had a very severe migraine – not for the first time that week. But, Father God came for me: I found a quarter in my pocket and a number came to mind. I connected with a person who talked me back.
We live in such a broken society where people, generally speaking, lack love for others. Our connections are broken, even in some Christian circles. Often, any love shown or found is fraud and can lead to extreme despondence. God knew this would become the case and I thank him for His Son, in whom we find unconditional love and acceptance, no matter what sin we have committed. That night in Santa Monica, began anew the search for and acceptance of Truth: allowing Christ, who is our Eternal Live, renew me spiritually, while a sloughing off of the old man accelerated. If I were alone on a desert island, Christ would be enough! I thank God for His never-ending grace and mercy.
September 16, 2014 at 7:04 pm
One of the most painful and derogatory sentiments about suicide that I have heard over the years, is that “suicide is a demonic spirit, and everyone who commits suicide is demon possessed or demon oppressed”. This is so offensive and undiscerning, in my opinion. Even if there were demons involved, does Jesus accuse people or set them free?
It seems like some people are so obsessed with knowing the eternal fate of someone else, especially if it’s a suicide. We just HAVE to know if their choices landed them in heaven or hell, because we want to have all the right answers when our time comes. And I think the reason we do it is because of fear of the unknown. And sometimes people want to use other people’s tragedies as a platform for their preachy cautionary tales. It’s flesh on display.
Sometimes we have to cut the bull and CARE. Cry! Feel! People are truly hurting and Christ is touched by the feeling of their infirmity. If we touch His Life, we too will be slower to commentate and more swift to mourn with those who mourn.
September 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm
There was an extremely dark period in my life where I was suffering from such severe depression that I attempted suicide and later spent time in a psychiatric clinic with a long stretch of strong medication and treatment from many therapists and counsellors before being able to re-enter “normal life” again. It was a very long & rocky road.
Fortunately, thank the Lord, I wasn’t successful. I can say from my own personal experience that if you haven’t actually been to that level of darkness and despair and rock bottom to that degree- then you do NOT understand it – and therefore do not judge something you don’t understand.
At that point, you are WAY beyond considering anyone else’s feelings or pain – your own pain and despair is so deep and so all-encompassing that you are truly not in your right mind anymore.
All you can focus on is how to do ANYTHING to try to escape an agony and torment that I cannot describe in mere words.
And the ONLY answer you can see in front of you at that point is suicide – despite how misleading and erroneous it is from a now sane point of view (I truly believe a person crosses a line into insanity at the point of taking their own life – I know I did).
Yes, I believe when you’re at that extreme low – the demonic knows it and attempts to make it a whole lot worse. I felt and was aware of that aspect of it too at the time, but at that low point, it is so strong that you are literally unable to stand up to it or to pull yourself up or resist it in any way anymore. You just don’t have it in you anymore by that stage.
Today, I am so thankful that I never succeeded and so deeply mourn when I hear of others who did succeed in taking their own life, whether they professed to know Christ or not. I understand. I’ve been there. But now I also know that THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE – IT’S HIM!
And mercy always triumph’s over justice – God alone knows our hearts and therefore He alone is qualified to Judge. And He is a just judge.
September 17, 2014 at 5:46 pm
Thank you! Very well said and appropriate. I appreciate your willingness to step out, speak truth, and cause us to stop and think, and then look at our own hearts. It is so about love… I’m not sure why we forget to love others like Christ loves us. If we are really loving… we can’t be judging.
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