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My friend wants to kill herself

Dear Michael,

I have a friend called Yoshabel who wants to commit suicide. She lives alone, is not married and had babies who were taken away by her in-laws. She is going through premature menopause and is taking hormonal therapy.

Scriptures don’t mention anything about suicide, so I told her that if it is what she wants, Christ is compassionate and that she should die with Him on her mind. Her question is: Will she meet her maker?

We Roman Catholics believe in purgatory so maybe we can pray for her soul while she is there and she will be accepted into heaven. She is an orphan. Clara.

Dear Clara,

Without equivocating, Yoshabel should not commit suicide and you should not tell her or any other person to go ahead and do so. 

In fact, you should dissuade them from even thinking about it. 

As a Christian, you are commanded not to kill, that includes not killing yourself too. Furthermore, suicide is illegal.

In encouraging Yoshabel to kill herself, for whatever reason, makes you party to a crime.

I empathise with the frustration and the difficulty of watching your friend go through living without her children (forcibly so), handling menopause and the challenges it brings, and all this without having had the chance to experience the care and affection of her biological parents.

Regarding the Bible, the word suicide is not necessarily written. But if we consider that Judas Iscariot hanged himself, then suicide is spoken about in the Bible.

Your friend’s predicament in life certainly could not be compared to Judas’, yet even if it were not good, then consider the apostle Peter.

He denied Jesus Christ, but instead of hanging himself, he wept bitterly, and He restored him, and he was the first leader of the early church.

Compassionate

Therefore, Christ is compassionate, and your friend should die with Christ on her mind, but not as she causes her own death. 

An online definition of purgatory – in the belief of Roman Catholics and others, “is a condition or place in which the souls of those dying penitent are purified from venial sins, or undergo temporal punishment that, after the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted, still remains to be endured by the sinner.” 

Without giving a value judgment concerning the existence or not of purgatory, we gather certain things from this definition: you have to die penitent, that is, having done penance for mortal sin; the process of purification is for venial sins or those that are slight; and the temporal punishment endured by a sinner in purgatory takes place on condition that the guilt of mortal sin has been remitted. 

Clara, encourage your friend to seek the counsel of a priest and/or a psychologist, and try to ensure that she doesn’t commit suicide. 

Do you have a pressing personal problem? Seek advice from Michael Oyier at [email protected]