thoughts on suicide and God and mental illness

So many good Christians don’t understand the impact of their words and I’m sure families of suicide victims have heard many people say the wrong things (In my humble opinion) regarding what God thinks of suicide.    Hearing that your family member is probably not in heaven, which I’m sure many have heard over and over again is far from comforting or even helpful.  Before I worked with the mentally ill I would have probably said the same things.  Mental illness is an illness, just like diabetes, cancer, etc.  No one (no one who truly understands God , anyway)  would ever say that victims of those illnesses were not in heaven if they were Christians prior to becoming ill.  Because mental illness affects the brain’s ability to reason, think things through, and even tricks the brain into believing things that are not true- it can make it appear that the person made a decision based on their own free will.  I do not believe that is true.  Mental illness causes the brain to malfunction, just like lung cancer causes the lungs to malfunction.  Our brain, malfunctioning, will cause one to “decide” to do things that under a normal functioning brain, a person would never do.  The brain is broken and sometimes this fracture is not noticed as the serious break it is until it is too late.  The brain can also trick someone into believing that telling someone how much they hurt or their plan would be harmful to them.  Because of this, bad things can happen to good people afflicted with mental illness.  If you or someone you know is struggling with coming to terms with a suicide, please pray for them.

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