Today, I would like to focus on a very desperate situation that many of us see in our lives. All of us to one extent or the other have friends. What seems to be a part of the problem is whether these friends are who we say they are. This friends, thing is not a simple matter for any of us. Simply stated, we all want to be liked and loved for all the right reasons. The problem is that many of them are friendly but not real friends, more like they are acquaintances that we deal with on a daily basis. This leads to the matter at hand that troubles my heart the most and causes some very unusual situations to occur.
There was an individual that my wife and I knew fairly well and over a number of years, through business dealings. It went from business acquaintances to being more on a friendly level; we got to know this person’s family, dinners together and so on. We shared many things together and over time, I believed they were truly friends of ours and we enjoyed our time together. The wife did not enjoy cooking, therefore many of our gatherings were a meal out at a restaurant and as good friends we usually went dutch; this family had started their own businesses and were doing all right financially, yet it was difficult at times, which we clearly understood.
John was quite the entrepreneur to the point that they became owners of their own businesses and began doing better and better, yet we kept things the same, going dutch as it were, etc. My wife was a member of a big hospital group and had become part of the higher administration. I had finished all my schooling and had entered a very select medical discipline. It would be easy to compare and see where and why we all got along, as the old adage says, “Opposites attract.” Thus were we as friends.
Finally it came time for my wife and I to downsize, so to speak simply for the reason we were all growing older and the rigors of our professions were increasing rather than leveling off or coming down. We decided to move in other directions and so it was, our friends had started a business selling used cars and were now doing very well and growing rapidly. John decided he needed some specialized help in the area that my wife is most proficient. So he decided to hire my wife and she went to work for him. Not too many years later I backed out of the medical field and went to work for my friend as well.
Money has a very distinct way of ruining many a good thing and so it was with the relationship with our friends. John became obsessed with gaining wealth, property and the stigma of wealth. The seeking for more income led to a desire for more power, the idea that this is a combined attribute that would enhance ones acquisition of wealth. Ultimately, this became a real problem, that we, as his friends noticed and yet he remained oblivious to it. There was one other thing that made the most difference, my wife and I are born-again believers and they are not.
2 Corinthians 6:14-17: “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial?
Or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.
Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you”
Many believers will recognize this passage of Scripture. Many however, will believe that these verses only apply to choosing a spouse. This area of belief would be incorrect. It applies to whomever you choose to be friends with as well, or in any friendly association, with any number of people. This became a distinction of unrest between my Wife and I and our good friends. It did not destroy our friendship per-say, but it was a concern and contention that we all faced daily.
With time John was a multi-millionaire and he began spending more than he actually had available to him. I believe he did this in part because he did not understand some of the better business tactics. In time his business began to waver, banks requiring more than he thought they should.
In the end the banks won the struggle and the business failed. John felt he had failed as well. He became reclusive and struggled with the idea he had hurt too many people. In some ways he was right, in other ways he had been too forgiving of things and people he needed to be harder on. It was all this concern and the idea he was worth more dead than alive, John took his own life.
I have driven past the sixteen car lots John had owned and I can still see in my mind’s eye, the people milling about, as if nothing had happened. Yet these same places belong to others now and it just isn’t quite the same. The building are still there as a continual reminder, yet his name all that he did have been rubbed out and new banners and names exist.
Job 7:7-10: “O remember that my life is wind: mine eye shall no more see good. The eye of him that hath seen me shall see me no more: Thine eyes are upon me, and I am not. As the cloud is consumed and vanisheth away: So he that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more. He shall return no more to his house, neither shall his place know him any more.”
Job 7:20-21: “I have sinned; what shall I do unto thee, O thou preserver of men? why hast thou set me as a mark against thee, so that I am a burden to myself? And why dost thou not pardon my transgression, and take away my iniquity? For now shall I sleep in the dust; and thou shalt seek me in the morning, but I shall not be.”
Is it not a horrible idea for you and me to know, that one day we shall be gone from this earth and no one will remember we were ever here, except those that were closest to us? How are we to think of these things? Is there no answer for the act of suicide or is there? We must learn to separate the facts according to God, from those we hear from others around us. Does this create problems? Absolutely! It is then important to look at the situation through the lens of God and never to rely on our own, or anyone else’s, wisdom.
Let’s take a closer look. We already understand that “murder” is to kill another, to take their life from them. But what most miss, is that murder is to, “Plan to kill someone.” We call this pre-mediation or premeditated murder. Now, for a moment let’s look at “suicide.” Is it not true, that people that commit suicide, usually plan this out?
We know that women, who commit suicide typically do so in a manner where their body will not be disfigured and usually men will do the opposite. With that soundly registered in our minds, if there is no accident, a fall or car crash, it is usually suicide. Have you never noticed the similarities between homicide and suicide? Even the words we used to describe the actions are similar, right? That is because both of them are in essence a “murder.”
We usually see where someone takes the life of another and we call it “murder.” Since suicide is usually a thought out process, we could call it “self-premeditated murder.” Women will typically overdose themselves, while men will take the quickest route, typically with a gun. Either way, a true suicide results in death of that individual by his or her own hand. In other words they thought it out and completed the task.
Genesis 2:7: “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”
Exodus 20:13: “Thou shalt not kill.” (Strong’s Hebrew Lexicon — harag haw-rag’ — destroy, out of hand, kill, murder (-er), put to (death).)
Exodus 21:14: “But if a man come presumptuously upon his neighbour, to slay him with guile; thou shalt take him from mine altar, that he may die.”
Ecclesiastes 3:19-20: “For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no preeminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again.”
As we see from all the Scripture here, suicide is not something that will keep you out of heaven or if committed will assure you of going to hell…it is simply a sin, just like every other sin. Murdering another is a sin and to murder one self is a sin as well. For most people, in viewing such a terrible act it is nothing more than that life being snuffed out.
For lack of a better way to put it, death is simply death and nothing more, a person comes to the end of his or her life, whether it be by someone else’s hand or their own hand, it is still simply death. The problem is understanding why, someone would choose to kill themselves, as compared to someone murdering them (for whatever reason).
The question that comes next into a sober mind is this: Did this person do so of their own volition or was it God?
Death will come to everyone at some point in time, because our existence here was meant to be temporary. Ever since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden, this has been the case and as such, it will continue until the Lord God says enough. It is the wisdom of man, to say it is more wrong to commit suicide and that hell then follows for that person that commits suicide. Who is to say, whether God called that person home and suicide was the only way? Having said that, is that call by God, something that requires hell? Absolutely not!
If a deceased individual was born-again, he or she is in heaven once life is over here on earth. If he or she never accepted Jesus Christ, the destination is indeed hell. That is the answer and the only answer there is! It is not for you or me to judge other persons or their lives, or how they depart from this earth — that act belongs to God only, and HE will be the Judge! Does it hurt in our hearts? Absolutely, it does and even more so, if we believe they were lost to Jesus Christ. Thus the reason for bringing all who are lost to Jesus Christ; He will direct their lives, not you or I.
Hebrews 9:27: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:”