New Church Life March/April 2017 - Page 105

  Life Lines comfort on suicide The editorial, “The Cry of Suicide” on page 75, refers to a wonderfully compassionate study by the Rev. John L. Odhner, “Reflections on Suicide,” in the July/August 2015 issue of New Church Life. Suicide is a tragic scourge of our intense age and the Church has not been immune. We need all the comfort and guidance we can get – about suicide itself, mental health issues, and what we can do to help those at risk – and more material has been included in this issue. Some of the points Mr. Odhner included in his Summary deserve to be repeated here: • A person may take his or her own life for good reasons, bad reasons, or a mixture of both. We cannot judge the inner motivations involved in suicide, only the outward appearances. • The act of suicide is always wrong and painful. It is an evil which comes from hell, just like war and disease. But this does not mean that a person who commits suicide is evil. That person may be a victim of forces entirely beyond his or her control. • Suicide is caused by the influence of evil spirits who love to harm people. These people can cause suicidal compulsions and temporary insanity. The individuals involved may or may not be at fault in opening themselves up to evil spirits. • Suicide is permitted for the sake of eternal good that can come to those affected by it. Committing suicide does not prevent a person from entering heaven, and may in fact help keep a person out of hell. Good can also come of it to loved ones left behind. • The quality of our life after death is based more on how we live our life in this world than on how we die. A moment of death-bed repentance will not make an angel of someone who has enjoyed a life of evil. And one act of evil at the end of a person’s life, even committed deliberately, will not destroy all a person’s good loves and intentions. As mentioned in the editorial, this article can be found online at www. newchurchlife.org, click on “Read Recent Issues” and look for the July/August 2015 issue. It is well worth careful consideration. (BMH) 171