Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Suicide Sucks

My heart feels very heavy this evening. It's hard to articulate the feelings I have. I am at a loss for words. I know I'm angry, sad, shocked, and confused... but there's much, much more. I just don't know how to express all that's going on.

My dad called me this evening and let me know that one of his closest friends had committed suicide and his body was found this morning. I was shocked.

Mourning a death is one thing, but mourning a death by choice is another. It's so sad. It makes me sick to my stomach. I hate suicide, it sucks!

I can't imagine being in a place where death seems like the best option. Where death seems like it's the only way out. Where death feels like the only relief from the pain and suffering they are going through.

Photo Credit: http://www.freeimages.com/profile/aroncb

I'm sad he made the decision to take his own life, but I am thankful this man knew Jesus. And I know and am assured he is in heaven now.

He was, and still is, a lover and follower of Jesus. And now for the first time, he is able to love Jesus without any pain, suffering, or heartache. He is free.

I know suicide can be a hot topic in the church. There are many who believe that if you commit suicide, then you go to hell. But I really don't believe this is the case.

God judges the heart. (1 Samuel 16:7, Jeremiah 17:10) Suicide stems from anguish and pain in the soul or mind, not their spirit. So if anyone, including those who have committed suicide, have made the decision in their heart to give their lives to Jesus, then they are saved. (Romans 10:9, 10:13) Their names are in the Book of Life. (Luke 10:20, Revelation 20:15) Just as an outward act can't save us and get us to heaven, I don't believe an outward act - done out of pain - can damn us to hell. God knows the heart and that's what He ultimately judges.

This man was a huge influence on me in the area of witnessing and talking to people about Jesus. He and my dad have literally lead thousands of people to the Lord over the years. I remember going witnessing with them on a number of occasions when I was growing up. It had a huge impact on me and my faith. It showed me the importance and the priority of telling people about Jesus. They displayed the love of Jesus in their words and in their actions.

I also remember many stories they shared and told of leading people to Jesus. Everywhere they went was an opportunity to lead someone to the Lord. Restaurants, gas stations, malls, music festivals, door to door, and the list goes on and on. Witnessing was a passion and a lifestyle for him and my dad, just as it was for Jesus.

I hope I can reach half the people these two men have reached when my time is up. They both have led more people to the Lord individually then every single other person I have ever met... combined. I seriously believe this to be true. And neither of them were ever in the five fold ministry. They weren't pastors, or apostles, or prophets, or teachers, or evangelists. They rarely had an opportunity to speak to large crowds. They just loved Jesus and loved people.

They were Christians who took Jesus' words to heart. They were men of God who boldly proclaimed the Gospel, no matter the consequence. They have beautiful feet. (Romans 10:15, Isaiah 52:7) Even though my dad has some pretty gnarly toe nails at times haha.

This man was struggling and had lost hope in some areas in his life, but that didn't keep him from helping others find true hope. That is very admirable to me. That's selfless. That's the heart of a servant. He didn't just look out for himself, he looked out for others too. (Philippians 2:4)

I am proud I knew this man. He was a great man of God and a great fisher of men. I am saddened he wasn't able to fulfill his calling and finish the race set before him. I am saddened he cut his race short. Only God knows how many more people he would have brought into the Kingdom if he had stuck around until his time was supposed to be up. This is a tragedy.

I mourn his death, and I mourn the loss of his passion to see people come to Christ. The Church lost a good man and a good example of a fisher of men today.

I will be praying for peace and comfort for your friends and family as they struggle to understand your decision. I look forward to seeing you again and sharing more stories with you about leading people to Jesus.

Until then,
- Joel


Check out my wife's blog [click here], she is starting a series called 'Living Eulogy.' She will be writing about people who have influenced her in certain ways and helped change her life for the better. People who have been there for her, who have loved her. People she wants to thank now, before they pass on.

We should take her challenge and let people know the difference they have made in our life NOW, before they are gone. It could mean the world to them. Maybe it will make a difference in their life to hear from you, maybe it will be THE difference for someone. Maybe it would have been the difference for this man.

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