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Choosing Life

Victory Over the Temptation to End It All

You have the right to kill yourself!

That may come to you as a surprise. Especially if you’re a Christian and you know the commandment “Thou shalt not kill. But it shouldn’t be too big a surprise if you understand the character of God.

At the very heart of Christianity is the belief that man was created a free moral agent. He has the ability and the responsibility to freely choose the course of his life.

God gives each of us the power to choose how we want to live our lives. The plan of salvation would be absolutely meaningless if it were not for this basic fact. God is a loving God. He gave His only Son as a sacrifice to guarantee our right to make choices in our daily lives. But we must choose salvation for ourselves. God never forces it on us.

If we accept the fact that we have the freedom to choose, then there must be at least two options from which to choose. To have only one option is to have no choice at all.

Some options are better than others. No matter what choice a person makes, there’s a price that must be paid. Each person is responsible for the choices he makes. A good choice usually yields a pleasant price, at least in the long run. And a bad choice will probably result in an unpleasant price over time. Let’s take a closer look at our available choices.

Most people commit suicide because they’ve come to a point in their life where they feel it’s impossible to go on. The future seems bleak and pointless, especially if it contains no hope of a change from the present situation. They feel hopeless, helpless, and alone.

This desperate feeling may be due to severe physical pain, such as in a terminal illness. It may be the result of extreme mental anguish, such as the ending of a meaningful relationship. In these moments of despair, you may feel that you’re alone in the world and that there’s no one who can help alleviate the pain.

Life has lost its luster and joy. All you can concentrate on is finding some means of ending the pain.

With such feelings, ending your life sometimes seems like a good option. In death there is no pain, physical or mental, no consuming feeling of loneliness. But there’s a price to pay. Suicide is a final choice. An ultimate option. And while it ends the pain, it also ends all the possibilities for joy and happiness in life.

But the other option, choosing to continue living, also has a price. If severe physical pain is the problem, for example, choosing to live will mean learning to cope with the pain on a continuing basis. You can’t avoid paying a price for either choice.

Many of us have experienced something in our life that seems so overwhelming we’ve considered the suicide option. In fact, for every person who kills himself, there are ten who make serious attempt at self-destruction, and fail. Yet few of us ever share these thoughts with others. Even when we feel desperately alone, we hate the thought of suicide so much, we resist the urge to tell someone what we’re considering.

Unfortunately denying our inner thoughts makes us feel even lonelier. It’s as if there’s no one with whom we can share our pain without them losing respect for us. So what can we do?

Did you know there is someone with whom we can always share our thoughts? Even our suicidal ones. Who always has our best interest in mind. Who’s willing to share our pain with us. Who wants to help us find the strength to cope with our pain in a meaningful way.

It’s our heavenly Father. He’s always there ready to help. All we’ve got to do is acknowledge our need and ask for help. The choice is ours. God’s help is never forced upon us.

But the very act of admitting our intentions to God lightens the burden that’s been so oppressive, and starts us down the road to solving the problem.

In creating us, God gave us the right and the responsibility to choose. Under no circumstances will He take away our freedom of choice. But when we make that choice, when we choose the option to live, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. And the temptation to end life is defeated. It may be a battle that for a while we need to fight daily. But the victory is sure. And every victory won makes us stronger.

Yes, you have the right to kill yourself. But more important, you have the choice of making your life as fulfilling as God intended it to be.

Copyright © 1996, Published for NAD Church Ministries Department

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