preacherman

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Churches Understanding of Mental Illness & Suicide

Several years back I did a post entitled: "Is Suicide The Unforgivable Sin." It has one of the most viewed and discussed post on Preacherman. I am very saddened by the loss that Pastor Rick Warren and his family are facing right now with the death of their son. I cannot imagine the pain. As a minister I have done funerals for people who have committed suicide. They aren't easy. Many questions follow from family and friends. Mental illnesses such as depression face millions. I have hear ministers try to just talk people into feeling good from the pulpit. I have heard ministers try to even guilt people into not having depression claiming it is lack of faith or focus. I strongly believe that it is not lack of faith and the claims, stances and approaches the Church has taken shows our ignorance. Ministers, church leaders need to make people who suffer with depression and mental illness feel good and be aware that their are medications that can and will help. As Churches we need to deal with real questions concerning the topic of suicide. Some of the questions that I posed in my previous article referenced above addresses the following questions. We need not be afraid but ask and seek the answers. We can not ignore this issue. I know this subject is very sensitive, yet I want your true answers to the questions you choose to respond to as well. The questions: Is suicide self-murder? If confession cannot be made after the act, then where does the soul go? Is there such a thing as pre-confession? Is the unforgivable sin suicide? Is there any sin that Jesus won't forgive? Is God's Grace big enough and cover even suicide? What does the Bible say about the "Unforgivable sin?" Does the Bible say it is unforgivable? What feelings does the act of suicide bring on loved ones? What are some signs of someone who might commit suicide? Does the act of suicide give loved ones hell on earth as they have feelings of guilt, blame, loss, sadness, depression, and even questions such as these and on and on? Have you ever had these thoughts? How have anti-depressants helped your life? Does it make you mad when preacher make believers feel guilty who are on these drugs and can it drive a person to the act of suicide? How can we become more educated, compassionate and offer help when it comes to those suffering with mental illness and depression? What can ministers do to become more informed? What has your experience been as a minister/counselor when it comes to this? What advice or counsel have you given to help people who have lost someone to suicide? What do you think? Share your thoughts.

31 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sad

1:22 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

We need to be more gracious, forgiving and understanding of those who have done and experience suicide. Sooo very, very sad. My thoughts are with Pastor Rick Warren.

1:23 AM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Great blog about the church's and many ministers' misunderstandings about suicide and mental illness Kinney! It's been a blessing to me to be a Christian and also have a degree in counseling psychology. Being a Christian and a counselor has given me the insight to realize that many psychologists misjudge and misunderstand Christianity. Conversely, many individual Christians, ministers, and churches misunderstand psychology. Many ministers would do well to understand the world of mental illness by learning about psychology and the world of professional counseling --- then many of them would not be so quick to judge. Thank you for today's perceptive blog!

1:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been made to feel guilt. Sad. Drives me away from Church.

1:48 AM  
Anonymous Carol said...

I felt judged. I wish the Church understood.

1:51 AM  
Blogger Harvey said...

It has always burdened me when I hear people say that a person who ends their life through suicide cannot ask forgiveness for "self-murder", etc. That same thing can be said about those who are killed in an auto accident when a drunken driver plows into them head-on and they gasp out some profanity!

Personally, I do not believe anyone has fully healthy mental status at the time they commit suicide. If they did they would realize the resulting pain and anguish for those left behind and would seek help. To blame someone who is not properly functioning mentally for their error is condescending, judgmental, and pompous. My God is a God of mercy and love, although a God of tough love at times. Yet, I do not believe God holds a person who is not mentally healthy responsible for their actions when in an incapacitated state. Who am I that I would presume to remove God form His throne and take His role as Judge in anything, especially in such cases as judging a person's eternal soul?

5:13 AM  
Blogger Kansas Bob said...

The writer of Proverbs tells us that hope deferred makes the heart sick.

I wonder if depression can sometimes be viewed as having a sick heart that is caused by losing hope?

I can relate. I have struggled the most with depression when a hope of things getting better has been so distant. Yet I have found reasons to live. Do not know where I would be if not for those reasons.

So I cannot and will not judge the eternal state of one who could not find a reason to live.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous David Chapman said...

It is sad what happened and shows a under-appreciation for mental health awareness. Of course it's offensive what fundies are saying because they are regressive. That is kind of their thing. Jesus said they will know you by their love but people know them by their hate.

9:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

First we need to address the "unforgivable sin" .

Mat 12:31 Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy [against] the [Holy] Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.

I don't see suicide in there anywhere. The Holy Ghost spoken of here is, God the Father himself.
1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV
“No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

So does this verse mean that the hardships and trials of life will not be more than you can bear? Not really. This Bible verse is referring to righteous living and how we deal with the temptations of life. When we are faced with temptations, and we all are, along with the temptation comes a choice. And God has given us His promise that He is faithful to give us the strength to choose the right, and give us a way out of the temptation. The choice is ours, and it is always in our power to resist sin. Jesus has taught us that we must become like Him, conformed to the image of His likeness. And by His Spirit He has given us the power to do just that.

First of all suicide is not the taking of a life, it is the giving back of a life. I believe Jesus said the giving of a life was the greatest love of all. Unless we know exactly what a person is thinking when they commit that act we do not have any right judging them for what they did. Did Jesus commit a sin when he gave his life to save others, he knew exactly what he was getting into yet he went forward to his death. No we don't know what drives one to commit suicide (the giving of his or her life) but we know one thing for sure it is not murder. If the killer at Sandy Hook had committed suicide instead of killing 26 people do you think God would counted it as murder, or sacrifice. judge not.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Paul G said...

SUICIDE; In my understanding is murder!
Murder your neighbor and murder yourself is the same spirit the devil.
The Lord Jesus said that the devil is a murderer from the beginning and everyone who murders carries out the desire of his or her father the devil.

Having said that, because of ignorance and unbelief in Jesus Christ our Lord and the Scriptures we tend to lie, pervert and dilute the plain meaning of the Word to hide our unbelief. Instead of calling it murder, we call it manslaughter, instead of calling it demon possessed, we call it Mentally Ill or Mentally Imbalanced and all those with deep depression we also call Mentally Ill etc. Out of unbelief and inadequateness we send those brothers and sisters who are cruelly demon possessed to the psychiatrist and then pump them full of drugs to subdue the demon (devil) in them so that it cannot manifest itself.

However, that is the ways of this world and not the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus Christ came into this word to set the captives free and to heal those who are sick, and by 'SICK' I do not mean Mentally sick. There is not such a thing as 'Mentally Sick' people.

Sickness and disease is generally the result of our sins and transgressions, but it also can be caused by a devil(demon), and to know the difference it needs discernment. If you lack on discernment, ask of the Lord Jesus Christ and He will give it to you freely.

DEMON POSSESSION is the occupation of a domain or many domains by a devil (demon) within the soul of a human being.
A devil (demon) cannot occupy or control the spirit, but only the soul and through the soul the body of a person.

The soul of a person is the domain of feeling, hearing, emotion, thinking, smell, tasting, imagination, seeing, speaking and action, those are the domain's of the soul.

Demons (devils) can occupy and control one or more of those domains and that is called demon possession.
Please read next comment.

6:07 PM  
Blogger Paul G said...

A demon ALWAYS caries out its nature within a person and the nature of that devil is identified by its deeds or behavior and by its manifestation we know its name.

A devil who has made its abode in a person in the domain of the emotion will cause deep depressions even to the point of SUICIDE, that is because that person is not any more in control over their emotions and maybe their mind and decisions, it is now the demon who is in control and will carries out its desires in the body it occupies.
Therefore all devils need to be cast out, which is called deliverance.

The Bible says, (Mark 16:17) "And those signs will accompany those who BELIEVE: In My Name they WILL drive out demons" etc.

Notice it doesn't say 'send them to the psychiatrist, or a doctor'.
How can anyone say that they believe in Jesus Christ and don't do what He said? That amazes me.
How can anyone say that they love their brother or sister and is not even willing to lift a finger as to cast out that devil who holds them in prison, and let the devil destroy them and have victory over them?

Everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and is born again can command a demon to come out of the person it possesses. Demons do not like to leave the body they possess, therefore by the Holy Spirit which is in you, you have to command them to come out.

When a demon comes out of a person, it has no dwelling place, so it travels over the waters to find another dwelling place and if it cannot find one it will return and bring seven more demons with it.
Therefore it is important that the person of whom you have cast out a devil is filled with the Word of truth, so that those devils cannot re-enter, otherwise the second possession will be worse then the first.

Unless we stop playing church and put away all church rubbish and start to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, we all will perish in sickness and disease, in destruction and calamities, in delusion and demon possession etc.

And do not be deceived the Lord is not a respecter of persons, but He rewards everyone who draws close to Him, seeks His counsel and acts upon.
Kind regard
Paul

6:12 PM  
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Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.G. if what you say is true that demon possession is the cause of suicide, why would the demon destroy his own abode.?

10:24 PM  
Blogger Paul G said...

Anonymous;
Suicide is not always caused by a demon. There are many reasons why people kill themselves, like fear of a long-suffering, slow and agonising death etc.

Demon possession has taken place when someone else, other than you is in control over the faculties of your soul and you have no power over it. In this case you need a brother or a sister or an assembly of BELIEVERS to set you free, by believers I mean someone who believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and not someone who only ACKNOWLEDGES God, or believes in a god of his or her own making.

Now, that also works the other way around, if you cast out a devil of a loved one, it is good to have the gift of discernment of spirits according to 1 Corinthian 12:10.
Also it is important to know that the Lord is good and that He wills that no one should perish but all to be saved.
In case we lack of ANYTHING, we should ask the Lord Jesus Christ and He will give it freely.
Do not ask your pastor who doesn't believe, and if you are a pastor you should send the sheep to the good Shepard the Lord Jesus Christ and not to a psychiatrist.

We all get sometimes depressed for various reasons for a short time, but deep depression is always demonic, because it is a question of lord-ship.

A demon (devil) is by nature a liar, thief, pervert, destroyer and a murderer, therefore it MUST carry out its nature and fulfills its purpose in that person and through that person it possess, even to the point of destroying its dwelling place, and after it will be on the search for another available dwelling place to again fulfill its purpose. A good example is Judas Iscariot.
A demon is neither male or female, they can not reproduce and for that reason I call it, 'IT'.
However, Satan is called 'he' because he possessed a male beast and produced a son, please read the book of Genesis.
Kind regards
Paul

12:51 AM  
Anonymous Jon said...

My mother committed suicide, from what I can tell. She was found drowned in a lake in her night gown with multiple toxins in her blood on Mother's Day. I have struggled with the idea of suicide being the unforgivable sin but I have taken comfort in that my mother was a baptized Christian. In my growth on this topic I have come to realize two things: 1. My mother was covered by grace through Christ for her sins and she did not have to ask for forgiveness for each and every sin but live in His grace and have a repentant spirit for her sins. 2. My mother was a drug addict and alcoholic. She rarely was in her right mind toward the end of her life at age 36. She had been a good Christian woman at one time but had always battled with depression and other unknown mental illnesses. I believe she self medicated back then because she wasn't finding relief in conventional treatment. Her self medication led to addiction and addiction led to her eventual death. I know that God takes into account people's motives for sin. Most people who commit suicide are not at all trying to hurt the ones they love and don't mean harm to anyone else but themselves. They are trying to further escape from the hell they are living in and are usually not in a coherent mindset. I believe these two things, grace and motive are what are taken into account by God. I love my mother and I know she was just wanting to not hurt anymore...

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Blogger preacherman said...

I want to thank everyone for the discussion especially Jon. I know how difficult it was for you to share and open your self up like that. I can't imagine what you have gone through and the pain, sorrow that you have experienced. I know your mom is looking down on you and proud of who you have become. Thanks for again for sharing.

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