From a very young age I was taught that suicide was categorically wrong, that it was the unpardonable sin, and that those who saw it through would inevitably be condemned. The reasoning, I suppose, for this line of thinking was that once you are dead you cannot ask for forgiveness.
As I grew older I had to revise my thinking away from what I was taught, and now I find myself at a place where I do not consider suicide categorically wrong. How could I when confronted with the death of a friend, who at the time of his passing was clearly not in a right frame of mind? How could I once I became aware of people with bipolar issues, schizophrenia, and other dissociative or physiological conditions? I have come to realize that the matter of suicide is not always simple, black-and-white or clear-cut. Therefore, it would be wrong for me to judge and condemn those who do opt for suicide.
Another thing that I came to learn as I grew older, is that the real issue is not whether or not suicide is right or wrong, but rather that suicide is necessary. Suicide is a requirement of life. Now, before you rush out to fetch the matches for the pyre of my blasphemy, allow me to explain.
You and I share the same construct – the tripartite body, soul and spirit. We are a spirit, that has a soul, and that is housed in a body. This unique construct has caused God to declare it “very good” and other writers declare us “the crown of God’s creation.” Initially we were perfect but somewhere along the line mankind rebelled against its own construct and chose to misalign themselves from God’s intention. Enter what we refer to as sin – and with sin death. Before sin there was no death, but sin and death are inseparable.
Man’s spirit was originally the highest part of his entire being to which soul and body were to be subject. Under normal conditions the spirit is like a mistress, the soul like a steward, and the body like a servant, The mistress commits matters to the steward who in turn commands the servant to carry them out. The mistress gives orders privately to the steward; the steward in turn transmits them openly to the servant. The steward appears to be the lord of all, but in actuality the lord over all is the mistress. Unfortunately man has fallen; he has been defeated and has sinned; consequently, the proper order of spirit, soul and body has been confused… God’s thought is for the spirit to have the pre-eminence, ruling our soul. But once man turns fleshly his spirit sinks into servitude to the soul. Further degradation follows when man becomes “bodily” (of the body), for the basest body rises to be sovereign. Man has then descended from “spiritcontrol” to “soul-control,” and from “soulcontrol” to “bodycontrol” … Sin has slain the spirit: spiritual death hence becomes the portion of all, for all are dead in sins and trespasses. Sin has rendered the soul independent: the soulish life is therefore but a selfish and self-willed one. Sin has finally empowered the body: sinful nature accordingly reigns through the body.
(Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, Chapter 3)
Now, there is a way to restore the natural order of God, and that is simply through death. The man who sins must die, there is simply no other way.
Neither animal nor angel can suffer the penalty of sin in man’s stead. It is man’s triune nature which sins, therefore it is man who must die. Only humanity can atone for humanity but because sin is in his humanity, man’s own death cannot atone for his sin. The Lord Jesus came and took human nature upon himself in order that He might be judged instead of humanity. Untainted by sin, His holy human nature could therefore through death atone for sinful humanity. He died a substitute, suffered all penalty of sin, and offered his life a ransom for many. Consequently, whoever believes on Him shall be judged no more (John 5.24).
Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, Chapter 4
And now, post-cross, we must choose whether or not to accept this gift from God – whether or not to choose life over death, or in a manner of speaking, life through death. As you may have surmised, this is where suicide enters in. We need to allow God to restore us, and to regenerate our spirit… to kick-start our spiritual engine that has spluttered and died! Now, I am not simply advocating us picking up a gun and blowing a hole in our head, or jumping of a bridge. No! I am talking about consciously killing off sin in our lives, renouncing every form of rebellion against God, and intentionally reinstating the order of spirit, soul and body. The suicide I am speaking of doesn’t work from the outside in (from body, to soul, to spirit), but rather works from the inside out!
“As the action of one man, Adam, represents the action of all mankind, so the work of one man, Christ, represents the work of all,” and, “since humanity must be judged, the Son of God – even the man Jesus Christ – suffered in his spirit, soul and body on the cross” for every sin and rebellion I have ever committed! So I must die in order to be born again; every work of rebellion must be put to death so that I may live in the intention of God. “The concept of regeneration as found in the Bible speaks of the process of passing out of death into life.” So in a sense, suicide from the inside out!
Our rebellion must be killed off. Our sin must be sacrificed at the altar of life. We must commit suicide… intentionally.
Please know that I choose my words carefully and do not want to minimize the agony and torment of those who have had to deal with a physical suicide and the of a loved one in their lives. I’ve experienced it and know what utter feelings of despair and anguish that engenders. But, speaking spiritually, are you ready to take the step?
(image source: http://www.esquire.co.uk/culture/news/a9202/britain-male-suicide-crisis/)