I loved Mork and Mindy. The quirky Mork from Ork made me laugh every week. I was too young and uninformed to be drawn to the other show "Three's Company" so I had a steady diet of Mork; naa noo naa noo. So I couldn't believe it, but then again, to some it makes perfect sense.
Just after a sermon on what happens when I die, The question: "What about when people commit suicide?" was right their in my to do list. Do people who commit suicide go to heaven?
My answer: It depends.
First let me say that many people today struggle with psychological and emotional issues and our culture seems unwilling, or at least very unprepared to help. As a result, many people resort to handling the problem in a very permanent manner, suicide. It this describes your situation, I beg you to tell someone. Tell me. Find help. God sent his son into the world that you may have life and have it in abundance. I and others want to help you have this abundant life, it is possible, no matter how difficult your current situation is.
I remember years ago when teenagers in a Maryland community seemed to be making this same decision in shocking regularity. My immediate thought then and again yesterday when I saw the news, was how could things get that bad in life that the only choice was to die? The fact is, I really don't understand how someone could be that hopeless about tomorrow as to take their own life, but that is the issue.
For a brief moment, they can't see any reason to live, and they make a permanent decision to a temporary problem. I can only imagine the pain caused in the lives of loved ones left behind who never knew their loved one was suffering so. I believe this to be of the saddest deaths to mourn. While the one who takes his own life obviously saw no other way to live, not able to or willing to include their loved ones in their present suffering; only to leave them to suffer after their death. It is sad, for them and their families, that such a choice would seem like the best choice. I have referred to this choice as selfish, and while the language is strong and uncomfortable, they came to this decision without the inclusion of others. I do not intend to minimize the illness that so many people who commit suicide are dealing with.
I also believe suicide to be a sin. This is not a universal Christian position, but mine is based on the fact that taking a life is not something that can be done casually. God alone should determine the length of our lives. When we put ourselves in the place of God in this regard as in others, we sin.
But when we are talking about how suicide affects our eternity, I have to say it depends. Normally (if we can say that) this decision is made by people who are not in a healthy state of mind, in Robin Williams case - depression; therefore, I am confident their decision has no effect on their eternal home. The only thing that determines our eternity is our relationship with God through Christ. Not the manner of death, especially a manner brought on by a lapse in health; in the case of suicide, mental health.
Ultimately, I believe suicide to be a sin, but a sin for which the grace of God through faith in Jesus' work in life, death, and the resurrection continues to cover for those who die in faith.
You may disagree with me, but I ask that you join me as I pray for the Williams family, and others whose pain is refreshed as they are reminded of their own loved one who made the same choice.
6/2014-2/2017 Pastor Gary Priddy