“Suicide isn’t a blot on anyone’s name, it’s a tragedy.” Kay Redfield Jamieson
When we look at the Bible, I think we see suicide portrayed as a tragedy. Far from how it was meant to be, suicide is an abrupt end to life and the hope that things could be different for the individual and their families.
Something to be neither shamed nor encouraged. It is to be grieved.
For example, the suicide of Saul died is the tragic conclusion to a tragic life. David’s response is not to demand that he be vilified (which may have been his right). His response is to lament for him as he laments the death of Jonathan.
1 Samuel 1: 12 describes it:
“And they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.”
Writer O’Mathuna writes “Rather than viewing Saul’s suicide as an isolated incident with no moral comment, this scene is the tragic conclusion to a literary masterpiece soaked in moral comment. Tragedy implies that what “is” is not what “ought” to be.”
And the response to tragedy can be nothing but lament. Lament acknowledges the agony – but refuses to deny the goodness and greatness of God.
To rage against the dying of the light and the snuffing out of hope that suicide signifies.
Lament in the aftermath of a suicide has to grieve and celebrate that the life that has gone before pointing forward to the source of all hope.
Our hope has to reach through the way we interact with the families left behind; to practically show that we are hoping against hope for them, that as Rick Warren put so beautifully in the wake of his son Matthew’s suicide; “in God’s garden of grace, even broken trees bear fruit.”
Even hopelessness can inspire hope when we allow God to work with the hopelessness.