Suicide: A Final Act

By Curtis Rittenour | Posted August 18, 2014

Many fans were devastated when they heard the news that celebrated comedian Robin Williams ended his own life on August 11. The American actor rose to fame in the 70s playing an alien in the TV series Mork & Mindy. He also performed in dozens of popular films and won many acting awards, amassing a personal fortune along the way.

Williams was open about his struggles with alcohol, drugs, and depression. Early on in his burgeoning career, he became addicted to cocaine but gave it up after the sudden overdose death of his friend, fellow actor John Belushi. Williams turned to cycling to help him deal with his ongoing depression, but unfortunately, he eventually lost the battle.

Depression is a complex illness with many factors contributing to feelings of hopelessness, so when it comes to suicide, we should be careful not to make quick judgments. We don’t know the thoughts and experiences of someone who takes his or her own life. Only God knows a person’s heart (Psalm 139:1). We must therefore leave a person’s ultimate fate in His hands.

But suicide is still a “final choice” action—it’s impossible to change your mind after the fact. We must also recognize the value of life emphasized in the Bible (Exodus 20:13) and that, in this sin-filled world, suicide is a violation of God’s will.

While the Bible does not specifically address the act of suicide, we do find examples of people killing themselves in Scripture. Abimelech was fatally wounded in battle and asked his armor bearer to end his life (Judges 9:54). Samson purposely collapsed a building filled with his enemies, thus ending his own life (Judges 16:29–31). Saul asked his armor bearer to end his life after he lost his sons and troops in battle (1 Samuel 31:3–6). Ahithophel hung himself (2 Samuel 17:23). Zimri purposely set fire to the king’s palace and died inside (1 Kings 16:18). Judas, a disciple who betrayed Jesus, went out and hung himself (Matthew 27:5).

All of these stories, except that of Samson, are not presented favorably. The others were clearly ungodly men who acted out of desperation. But Samson is actually listed among the faithful heroes of faith in Hebrews 11. His sacrificial death has been compared to that of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross.

Regardless, suicide is a tragic loss for those left behind. It shouldn’t be a time for finger-pointing and judging others—rather, it needs to be a time of reflection and prayer about what really matters in this world and how we can help others find eternal joy in Jesus Christ.

Robin Williams was beloved by millions, was by all accounts a part of a loving family, and had everything money could buy. Yet hopelessness consumed him. In these last days, we need to remember that ultimate hope isn’t found in the things of this world—which will all eventually turn to ash—but in Jesus Christ alone.

If you or a loved one is contemplating suicide, please get immediate help. There are resources available and loving people who will help walk you through your darkness. Call your pastor, a Christian counselor, or 9-1-1 immediately. Don’t delay.

New Life Clinics: 800-639-5433
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255.

Click here to watch “Hope Against Depression,” with Pastor Doug.

Click here to read "Tips to Battle the Blues."

Curtis Rittenour
Curtis J. Rittenour is the senior writer at Amazing Facts International. He pastored for 25 years and has authored books, magazine articles, blogs, and seminars.

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