Sunday, August 17, 2014

On Robin Williams (and suicide in general)

AOW has a post about Robin Williams, so I guess it's not too late to say something.

My wife was listening to a prominent Christian radio show the other day, as she does every day.
I don't have a link to a podcast of the show, but she says that she heard a therapist, who had been working with Williams shortly before his death, say that Williams had accepted Jesus as his Savior.

Now, some of you may see a problem with that.
You only need to do it once.
And, I find it a little odd that a man would come out and reveal that about a client/patient when the patient didn't, but another side hopes it's true nonetheless.

Yet Robin killed himself.

Historically, suicide has been considered a sin, even a (pardon the pun) deadly sin.
Send you to hell type of sin.
There was quite some discussion about this while Kervorkian was active.
The reason, is that we get right with God through faith in His deliverance of us, and not our own works.
To say that you go to heaven on your own effort is to refuse the free gift of God (salvation).
to say that you must add your own works to the mix, is to denigrate God's free gift, saying it is not enough.

To not have faith is to condemn yourself.
The argument on suicide as spiritual suicide is to say that you have given up faith in God to deliver you.
But if delivery from sin is a spiritual issue, then what is delivery from physical pain?
Is it spiritual?

Had a talk with a couple guys at work today about this (who asked my opinion).
I told them:
If I knew I was going to die a painful death, and I did not expect God to deliver me from the pain:
If I killed myself having faith that Jesus died for my sins and broke the hold of hell on my life and that I'd be with Him, does my lack of faith in him to heal me physically, overcome my faith that he will welcome me to heaven?

I view (from the comfort of my relative good health) suicide as a form of desertion of my post.
Yet, what if a servant felt relieved of duty? Who am I to challenge that?

My dad longed for weeks for God to take him.
But he waited to be taken.
His widow feels the same way.
But she's waiting to be taken.

What of the person, so tormented, mentally or physically, that they are impatient and can't wait?
Is the impatience the sin?
We all have many sins.
Or at least some.
All are deadly.

The one that's deadliest is to refuse God's free gift.

I'd like to think that God (Who was merciful to us sinners to send His Son, "that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life") is not as picky as we might think He is.
That if someone had a mental problem (Alzheimer's, depression, etc.) or an imprecise notion of theology, that He would still recognize their faith in Jesus as their Savior.

What say you?


  1. I'm pretty certain I am unqualified to judge who God will accept into His kingdom and who He won't. I have a "nephew" from India. He and his family and Jains, which sort of accepts all things.

    I've watched him kneel and pray in a Basillica in Venice and Cinque Terre. I once dead a guy I worked with ask me if I had talked to my nephew about "becoming a Christian". I explained to my co-worker that my nephew was education in a Catholic School in India. Pretty sure he would know more about my religion than I do.

    And I find it hard to believe that God would turn this wonderful, gentle, kind, faithful spirit away at the door. I might even hazard a guess He more likely would look with suspicion of those who want to tell Him who He is and isn't to accept.

    Not my job. And that's always a hard concept to keep in mind.

    Luckily I only have to worry about me.

  2. Dang. A dead guy didn't ask me at work, it was a live guy.

  3. Ed,
    First, thank you for the link. I hope that people will watch the video snippet that I posted.

    I want to make a medical comment....

    If Robin Williams was recently prescribed an antidepressant (or a different antidepressant) and the medication had partially kicked in, the reaction during that time frame may have pushed him to suicide. A nurse friend of mine told that Parkinson's patients are often given an antidepressant early on and that there is a danger period because of changes in brain chemistry.

    I personally believe that the eternal destiny of those who commit suicide because of mental illness such as dementia is God's domain. I never second guess God.

    1. When I saw all the people pop up on FB with "I have depression too!", I was afraid of a chain reaction of suicides. Not really.

  4. I agree with you Ed. And we will never know 'exactly' why...

    1. Maybe when we cross over we'll ask.
      Maybe we'll forget to.

  5. Works do not save us, yet saved people do good works because they are saved and have eternal life. I love this sermon regarding how Jesus answered the question, "how many will be saved?" by stating we should strive to enter through the narrow gate.

    None of us are without sin, and certainly suicide is a sin. All that's left for us on this side of the mortal coil is prayer for the repose of our loved one's souls.

  6. The older I get the more loving I believe our God is. Or, other than maturity, sometimes I think this newish attitude of mine comes from having come about 15 years now in my closer walk with Him....I was a little rigid at first, I think now. (Happy ME, I FOUND Jesus and YOU DIDN"T and THIS IS WHY!! heh heh!)

    I felt CHRISTIANS GO TO HEAVEN, CATHOLICS NEED TO READ THEIR BIBLE MORE, SUICIDES ARE COMITTING SIN, GOOD DEEDS ARE NOT THE KEY, I kind of know now what God wants, from having studied in Bible Study (where I'm starting up as a leader again in I'm delighted about) and aren't I the expert? (Smile)

    I was well meaning and immature. God loves everyone. Not all will come to Him, but I believe the called will come. And, today, while I'd have judged Williams in the past, I do not. And if he found Jesus, which I hope is true, it's not that Jesus gave up on him and he decided to give up life; he was in such mental pain, such possible physical fear of Parkinson's future (Michael J Fox was an intimate friend), that he had to stop. Just STOP. Forever.

    I pray none of us EVER has that kind of pain but I firmly believe Christ came to earth largely to feel OUR PHYSICAL AND EMOTIONAL PAIN and empathize and love us through our reaction to those awful matter if we are hanging on knowing "God will take me in His blessed time" or "I am in such pain I can't stand it and I'm doing myself in." (and I don't even think most suicides are that clear thinking...)

    Am I right:? Please forgive me if I sound like I know I am. Of course, I don't know! But I know God loved Robin Williams and blessed him with tremendous talent that healed us all with laughter he prompted.

    I felt SO badly and was so surprised upon hearing about Williams' death. But I only wept when I heard HOW he died. If you were to see him now, right in front of you, would you love him so much your heart would burst in appreciation and sympathy for his immense pain? I think I would and I think you would.
    It's about LOVE. Is God's love less?

    end of sermon "SAY HALLELUJIAH!" (smile) I hope I made sense and don't sound like a religious prig!

  7. sorry! That's longer than most of my blog posts! :(

  8. Z. That was perfect!
    Something in my hurry this morning that I forgot to include was, might it be an act of faith to PURPOSEFULLY step across to the other side?

  9. "might it be an act of faith to PURPOSEFULLY step across to the other side?"

    Could you be more specific...I'm fascinated...

    1. If we have faith that Jesus waits for us on the other side, then death loses it's sting.
      If I jump on a grenade to protect my fellow soldiers and I do it knowing that I won't go to hell, I win. My faith gave me the courage.
      What if I do it to save my family the horrible medical expenses of keeping me alive when I'm convinced it will bring them ruination?
      Particularly if I'm not convinced it will work.

    2. I'm not sure Williams was that deep in his faith, so I didn't quite see your connection; I hope he was.

      So 'what do you do' in the case of ruination?

  10. If faith in an all loving god and his son is all it takes, then if they won't help us out of our misery, it must be assumed they gave us many ways to end it ourselves.

    1. Maybe He did. But my post is predicated on an assurance of heaven, based on faith in Them.

  11. This is a complex topic, Ed ... and I am no expert. However, if we assume that Mr. Williams was saved, and yet tormented by deep depression, complicated in the past by drug use and more recently by a diagnosis of a fatal disease, one could understand how a person might crave to speed up going to heaven. Of course, I base all of this on a very wide assumption.

    But if Mr. Williams had not accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior, and was nevertheless a tormented person who might have been, in his state of depression, incapable of asking forgiveness .... surely God will find a place for him in the Kingdom of Heaven. In my view, Mr. Williams was crying out for attention for a very long time. Oh, everyone gave him attention; they laughed as his profanity ... but I think he needed better attention than that.

  12. Depression is a strange and devastating illness. The sufferer suffers through bouts of worthlessness, sadness, anger, apathy and is plagued by self-doubt, loss of memory and in some situations: physical pain.

    I don't think God would look at the final act of someone that suffers so and wish to deny them Heaven. The sufferer finally reached the point the agony, possibility of more agony, and the feeling they're much better gone compels them to remove the terrible person they feel they've become. They not only seek relief from the pain, they seek to unburden those they love.

    If loved ones are in despair for the person they love, then I can't see how God would feel any differently. Allowing them to come home might be God's way of helping a child he loves dearly.