In my years as a pastor, I have been asked numerous questions. I have been asked questions such as my take on “Calvanism vs. Armenianism”. Or questions on my belief in the spiritual gifts. And also easier questions as to who I believe is the best NFL running back of all time. Of course that’s an easy one…Barry Sanders. But if I were to tell you what the most difficult question I have been asked, I would have to say the “Christian and suicide” question. Regrettably I bring this up due to a pastor friend of mine who took his life after an altercation with his wife. It baffles my mind to sit back and think that the life of this young man while alive was a miracle indeed and had shown the power of God throughout his life and ministry. Yet in a matter of moments when emotions are high and anger is flaring, the sinful side of humanity sneaks it’s ugly head in and causes one to do the unthinkable! What causes a man to do this? Sin. What contributed to a man, husband, father, pastor to take his own life? Answer: It was due to a mind that was not under the submission of the Holy Spirit. Thus the question on the table is…where did this pastor go? Heaven? Hell? Is suicide the “other” unforgivable sin? I’m sure there are many takes and insights as to what one may think and believe as to what happens if a Christian (a pastor much less) would commit suicide. One may say that suicide for a Christian is to “do away with the life that God has given you, therefore forfeits salvation due to disobedience”. While others may believe that suicide, though bad, is still not the “other” unforgivable sin. Regrettably in ministry, I have seen the bad, the unthinkable and outrageous things that Christians do. It reminds us that even as followers of Christ we exist in a sinful shell! “Oh the wretched man that I am”, cries Luther! “The things I want to do, I don’t do them. And the things I shouldn’t do, I do” laments Paul! As long as we are in this flesh, it takes only one time to take our eyes off the Lord and away from His word and BAM!! Your marriage, ministry and life can be over. So to answer the question, where is this pastor today? Heaven? Hell? (Now,right where you are sitting, as I sit next to a window at Panera with a hot coffee to my right, can you shout “Amen!” because of God’s grace?) Grace and mercy at Calvary’s cross, under the sweet shed blood of Jesus our Lord, forgave us of sins past, sins present and sins of our future! Horrifically, even in the midst of a pastor and wife in a heated argument and a suicide short after, God’s grace is sufficient, even in our most vulnerable of times! Please understand, don’t take this as an “escape” to commit sin just to smear the blood of Christ on His Father’s face! Take this as an example of what NOT to do and an encouragement to never leave the Lord. In bitter sweet emotion, this pastor, who I believe is in the presence of the Life Giver, knows what he has caused while on earth. Both to his family and his church. Yet, with the Lord indeed.
I would love to hear your comments and insights to this “controversial” subject. It’s not necessarily who’s right and who’s wrong, because in the end, God is right and sovereign and He, only He, has the final say. Please pray for the family of Thomas Young and The Sanctuary Church in Sugar Land, TX.
Because of Grace- Pastor Sammy