Episode 265: Comedian Robin Williams took his own life last week. His frenetic style could be rather blue at times. However, I knew him from his kid-friendly movies like Aladdin and Mrs. Doubtfire. He was brilliant, but tortured by depression. It was ultimately depression which lead to his suicide.
Depression is a serious mental condition which is not to be taken lightly. The church historically has been a haven for the mentally ill. In fact, early church writers considered conditions like depression as primarily a spiritual issue which must be handled with devotion to certain spiritual disciplines (i.e. fasting, prayers, etc.). While there may be a tendency on the part of some to scoff at this idea, we must remember that Christianity is a religion of the mind. We are to love the Lord our God with all our mind (Mark 12.30). Our minds are to be renewed so that we become transformed into the image of Christ (Romans 12.2).
Tragically, many who suffer from depression unfortunately turn to suicide and Robin Williams is a most recent example. Suicide is murder of self and murder is categorically condemned in Scripture (Genesis 9.6; Exodus 20.13; Leviticus 24.21; Deuteronomy 5.17; Luke 18.20; Romans 13.9). Murder is an affront to God because it strikes right at the crown jewel of His creation: His image in man. Suicide is smashing to pieces God’s image in one’s self.
Suicide is a sin. It is not the unforgiveable sin, but a sin nevertheless. Like all sin, it is selfish, focused on the gratification of the irrational thought (there’s the mind again) that the world would be better without me. However, doing yourself in is not doing your loved ones a favor. The grim truth is that family members and loved ones are left heartbroken and grief stricken as they attempt to pick up the pieces of their shattered lives and move forward without this person.