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Do Thyself No Harm
By Brian Price 4/24/2011

"25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed.
27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here."
- Acts 16:25-28

Suicide, in my opinion, is perhaps the worst tragedy that happens in this world besides harming an innocent child. Today I want to talk about this terrible, and for me, troubling subject.

Here in the book of Acts is a story about the apostle Paul and his companion Silas who were thrust into prison for casting a devil out of a girl. Those who made profits from the girl's divination falsely accused Paul and Silas, and had them arrested. During the night, however, God sent an earthquake to set them free from prison.

The jailor who had the charge of the prisoners thought that the prisoners had all fled. The penalty for allowing prisoners to escape was death. However, Paul sought to stop him from his purpose because he knew there was an even greater penalty for sin after death, which is hell.

If the jailor had been allowed to take his own life that night, he would have died in his sins, and would have immediately gone to hell forever.

You see, what people do not realize when they take their life is that they are literally jumping from the pan into the fire. They think they are escaping a bad situation, but in reality, they are just going from one bad situation to the worst possible situation immaginable. Think about it. Can you imagine a worse place than hell?

I worked with a guy a few years ago who was having marriage problems. They had 3 kids. My co-worker was cheating on his wife regularly, and he really didn't care much about his wife. The wife eventually filed for divorce and left him. At work, he struggled a lot with stress. He was under a lot of pressure from the events going on in his life.

One day he got overwhelmed, and thought it was a better idea to die than to live. So he took a chain and wrapped it around his neck, and he threw himself over his second story balcony. Lucky for him, somebody saw him just in time to get help. He was rescued and taken to the hospital for treatment.

Other people are not so lucky.

In 2007, there were approximately 34,598 suicides in the United States [1]. Of those who committed suicide, those who were aged 45 to 54 had the highest rate, at 7,778 total suicides. Of those 34,598 suicides, a whopping 27,269, or 78%, were committed by men. White men, above all other races, had the highest rate. WHY take your life???

[1] http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=home.viewPage&page_id=04EA1254-BD31-1FA3-C549D77E6CA6AA37

An average NFL football stadium can hold, I imagine, a good 70,000 people. 35,000 suicides means that HALF of the stadium would be filled!

I believe that nearly everyone of us can think of someone who has taken their life, or has tried. I remember reading a story a few months ago about a young man who beat some girl within an inch of her life because she had made some remark about his deceased brother who had committed suicide. Another story I read was about a young girl who had taken her life because she was teased so badly at school for being a "whore," as they called her.

Suicide is no laughing matter ladies and gentleman!

And if you think you're all alone because you have been tempted to committ such an act as to take your life, YOU'RE NOT. The Bible tells us that even the Lord Jesus was tempted to take his own life.

"5 Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple,
6 And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.
7 Jesus said unto him, It is written again, Thou shalt not tempt the Lord thy God."
- Matthew 4:5-7
Do not think that no one else has experienced your thoughts because that is not true. Many of us have been tempted to harm ourselves. One of the most comforting story is that of Job. Job was a good man who loved God, and did the right thing all the time. He had 10 children, a large farm, and a lot of money. He had it made.

But one day he lost EVERYTHING. He lost his entire estate, all of his money, and worst of all, he lost all 10 of his children. Not one was left alive. You can imagine his pain! Yet, when faced with the temptation to do the unthinkable, look at his response:

"9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.
10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips."
- Job 2:9-10

Of course, later on in the story, you can really see this poor soul's affliction:

"13 When I say, My bed shall comfort me, my couch shall ease my complaints;
14 Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions:
15 So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life.
16 I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity."
- Job 7:13-16
If you notice, Job says that his soul chooses strangling and death rather than life! If you were in his shoes, I am sure you would feel the same. But don't yield to that feeling. There is a hell on the other side of death that you cannot see.

The devil has tricked a lot of people into thinking that suicide is a forgiveable sin. But truth be told, how can you be forgiven of a sin that you have just died in? Remember Judas Iscariot? He betrayed the Lord Jesus, and the Bible says that he repented of his actions, but instead of going to Jesus to forgive him (like Peter did), he instead hung himself (Matthew 27:3-5). What a tragedy!

Friend, let me tell you something, God knows what you are going through. It is a normal thing to despair of life at times. If Jesus himself was tempted to take his life, what makes you think that you would ever be exempt from such a temptation? The Bible says that he was tempted in all points like as we are, yet he is without sin (Heb. 4:15).

"8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:
9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:
10 Who delivered us from so great a death, and doth deliver: in whom we trust that he will yet deliver us..."
- 2 Corinthians 1:8-10

Paul wrote 2,000 years ago of a time when he was in Asia Minor that made him so depressed, so discouraged, that he even despaired of life itself. And this man wrote more books in the New Testament than any other disciple of Jesus. But little children, notice that he said that they had the sentence of death in themselves. This sentence of death was not from God. He also said that we should trust in God, because God does deliver from death.

The only way you are going to get through a dark tunnel is to walk through it. Suicide will never solve ANY problems. Suicide is like walking in a dark tunnel, and then instead of walking through it, you decide to dig a huge hole inside the tunnel and live in it for an eternity. It will only make things MUCH WORSE. Jesus said that if you do not believe that he is the Messiah (John 8:24), then you will die in your sins. That means you will go to hell when you die.

If you were to look at the life of Job, you would see that YES, he did go through a world of hell. He lost everything. BUT, if you looked at his life about 20 years later, you would see something quite different. God had restored all to him. God had given him his farm back, and God gave him another 10 children. And Job no longer had those feelings of depression. He was finally happy again.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel. Do not throw away your life just because your spouse has left you (God can give you another one), or you feel inadequate at your job, or because you cannot pay the bills. Life will go on, and life will get better, especially if you know Jesus as your Saviour. If you do not know Jesus as your Saviour, then I would encourage you to not delay in making that decision. He is the only one who truly understands your pain, and he is the only one who can give you hope and eternal life.