DEAR BILLY GRAHAM: My friend’s father took his own life recently, and it has been very hard on his family. He was beginning to have some serious health issues, and he left a note saying he didn’t want to be a burden to anyone. Was this a good reason? — M.M.
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Almost nothing brings greater pain to those left behind than the suicide of a loved one, regardless of the circumstances. Human life is sacred, and the Bible’s command not to destroy it applies to suicide as well as murder: “Thou shalt not kill” (Exodus 20:13, KJV).
Not only will this man’s family deeply miss him, but they will also always wonder what they could have done to prevent his suicide. If he had asked them, I’m sure they would have assured him of their love, and that they were willing to do everything they could to provide for him if his health declined.
Tragically, he thought he was sparing them pain, but in reality he was only causing them greater pain. Sadly, he also may have become so wrapped up in his own problems that he never faced the heartache his action would cause.
Whenever I answer a question about suicide, I’m always deeply aware that someone who’s reading it may be thinking about taking his/her own life. My prayer is that they will not take this final, desperate step, but instead turn to Christ and find in him the love, courage and peace they seek.
May they also discover that they are not alone. Others want to help them and share their burden, and so does God. Jesus’ promise is true: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” (John 14:27).