A Godly Response to a Suicide

One of our students committed suicide. One of our Christian Intervention students. A student who had graduated from our classes.

On Tuesday, a couple of weeks ago, he came by the office to pick up his completion certificate as, although he had finished all his lessons, he had not attended the ceremony we have once a month in which we acknowledge those who have accomplished such a thing. “How are you doing?” Michael asked him after I had taken the certificate from the files and it had been given to him.

“Terrible. I can’t find a job. I’m doing terrible.”

He was an exceptionally attractive man, tall, polite, and pleasant. A former employer of his had told us that once–in better economic times– when he was hired on for a job, he sent a floral arrangement to the hiring office, thanking them for the opportunity of a job.

He was a nice man, yet now he stood in our office area saying, “I’m doing badly.”

Mike paused, and as the man turned toward the exit door, said, “You need to come to church, Sunday.”

“I’ve tried church and it did not help me. I’ve stopped drinking and smoking and things have become worse.” He pushed through the door…and that was the last time I saw him.

Mike followed him to his car, trying to speak encouragement to him. But the man persisted in his feeling of hopelessness. “No good, Mike. This is probably costing me a divorce. I’ll likely go back to my old ways…probably wind up in jail once more…you may not see me again.”

On Wednesday the man told his wife he was planning suicide. She removed all guns from the house. On Wednesday evening he attended a sports function with his two children. On Thursday morning, he called his wife and warned her he planned to hang himself. She called her brother who rushed to the home…too late…finding that the man had accomplished the dreadful deed.

Mike was devastated, as indeed were all of us…and of course the ghastly question was: Did we do our best? Did we do all we could have for this dear man?

A couple of days ago, Mike had a long conversation with the deceased man’s wife. I’ve been reading extensively through his Christian Intervention workbook, and from that I’ve learned how lonely he was. How isolated and alienated he felt. I’m so sorry I didn’t recognize that, she told Mike.

Because of this shattering incident, and because of exceptional growth and interest in salvation at Christ Alive, Mike, my husband, and Andrew decided on a very different Wednesday session for last night. Our 7:00 o’clock Bible study was moved to 6:00, and instead of CIP lesson 15, Andrew taught from the Bible, utilizing Search For Truth slides, on repentance, baptism in Jesus Name, and the receiving of the Holy Ghost with the evidence of speaking in tongues.

Mike opened the session. He reminded those gathered of the recent tragic death of that person who was a friend and fellow-student to many of those there. I’ve thought much about this…wondered if I did enough for him…wonder if I do enough for you in these CIP sessions…and have decided to take this extraordinary step in class tonight. My brother will be teaching you exactly how to be saved–according to the Bible.

Any who are not comfortable with this are welcome to leave now.”

It was stone-quiet. No one moved.

14 thoughts on “A Godly Response to a Suicide

  1. As I read this story, I realize that deep down in his heart, the man didn’t want to die. He was asking for help…without saying so in many words. Sometimes, its too late by the time we realize that. My heart aches…for his family!

    Gladwell

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  2. My heart hurts for you, your church, and this man’s family. I know very well that question: Did I do my best? Did I give all I could? From all that I’ve been reading about your church and your people there, I tend to think you did do all that you could.
    I am trying so hard these days to remember that every person I meet–this might be our last encounter. I am trying to make it a good one, I am trying to say “I love you” in a way that is appropriate to that individual. I want them to walk away with a piece of my heart.
    This hit me hard when I was speaking recently, and told about the last time I saw my daddy alive. Spoiled brat that I was, I had treated him miserably. If only I had known!
    I am not pretending that we can prevent a suicide, but for myself, I want to know that I gave my very best to that particular person.
    We just never know–we can put on our sweet, got-it-together smiles and act as though our world is fine. When underneath it all, we are hurting–and maybe hurting to the point of hopelessness. I long to be so transparent that, if I did ever reach that horrible point, maybe–just maybe–someone would see through my facade and be able to reach me.

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  3. Nita

    My heart aches so for all of you. What a deceiver satan is. I pray for an awakening within your meetings as to the love and power of what God can and will do. What a heavy load you must bear, yet I know you gladly bear it with such love. I will continue to pray that God gives you strength and wisdom of words as you work with these precious people.

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  4. Sis. B. Our hearts are broken for you and your church family. Please wrap your Jesus filled loving arms around your family for us at this time of loss. Please know that our church is praying for all of you.

    PG & Co.

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  5. Dale White

    We can only give love and offer hope…and pray that they will add a single molecule of faith, perhaps the only one remaining within their being..before they truly believe the lie that they are hopeless. Where there is love, there is hope.

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  6. So sorry to hear of this tragic event. I will be praying for you, Brother Buxton and the church. I remember a similar situation occuring when we were assisting. It’s not an easy thing to deal with, but I pray that somehow God will indeed through it be able to reach others and bring something good to pass.

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  7. I think suicide is especially sobering for those of us who believe what the Bible says about eternity. I’m so sorry you all are going through this, praying for you and that God will take your response and use it to reach others.

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  8. Tears are flowing down my cheeks…my heart hurting. My heart is hurting for you, for your husband, for Mike, for the man’s wife…for the students. I cry out, “GOD, HELP US REACH THEM BEFORE IT’S TOO LATE! Oh, God, help us…help them…”

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