Suicide - A Christian Perspective continued....
REASONS FOR SUICIDE
The Bible reflects all human experience, and that includes
some suicide cases. In the Old Testament there was Saul, the King of Israel who
was seriously wounded in battle with the Philistines. He asked his
armour-bearer to kill him, and when his request was refused he 'took a sword
and fell on it'.
His decision was in line with a time-honoured military tradition whereby the
taking of one's life avoided the dishonour of being captured or killed by the
enemy. It was an early form of the Japanese hara kiri which is a ceremonial
form of suicide following shame or failure. A similar thing took place at the
end of world-war 2 when Hitler and some of his top generals swallowed poison
phials or shot themselves.
One of the most ignoble suicides in all history must have
been that of Judas Iscariot after he had betrayed Jesus for thirty pieces of
silver. He had probably hoped that Jesus would miraculously escape from his
captors, but when this did not happen he hurried back to his sponsors - the
Pharisees - and with bitter remorse returned the money. They did not want to
know, so he hanged himself.
There was also the Old Testament prophet Elijah, who went
into a deep trough of depression when Queen Jezebel threatened to kill him. In
his fear and panic he asked God to take his life; a request that
savoured of a suicidal tendency.
There is a further case in the New Testament where a
demon-possessed boy was brought to Jesus for healing. His father reported how
the spirits would take his son to the fire and sometimes to the water, an obvious
reference to the self-destructive urges prompted by occult powers. Then there
was the maniac of Gadara, who, when under demon influence would harm himself,
by cutting himself with stones. After Jesus had delivered him, the spirits went into some
pigs and destroyed them.
It must be made clear that not all suicides are by any means
the results of occult invasion. The following case histories show various
states of mind when people contemplated suicide.
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