On Inland Hills’ Pastor suicide and hateful comments from distant onlookers

It’s sad to report on the suicide of Pastor Andrew Stoecklein from Inland Hills.

My condolences to his boys, his wife, and his congregation.

What they need is love. What they don’t need are comments that suicide are the unpardonable sin and he is therefore in hell. Don’t barrage them with hateful, discouraging comments. Don’t do it from afar, and don’t do it near. Period.

You could be wrong. Suicide is not mentioned in the Bible. Not even once. You know the Greek word for suicide? Great! It’s αὐτοκτονία. It’s not in the New Testament. You know the Hebrew word for suicide? Awesome! It’s הִתאַבְּדוֹת. It’s not in the Old Testament either. Don’t be quick to link suicide to the Bible. It’s just not there.

Oh, wait! There’s more!

People often associate the unpardonable sin with suicide. If not unpardonable, then unforgivable; if not unforgivable, then eternal. Read Mark 3:22-30, Matthew 12:22-32, Luke 12:10. It has nothing to do with suicide. It has everything to do with denying the witness of the Spirit and refusing to believe in Jesus.

But wait, there’s still more!

Someone might make the following logical conclusion: suicide is murder; murderers have no place in the kingdom; therefore, anyone who commits suicide cannot go to heaven. Well, dwell on this: King David was a murderer.

Besides, whether the victim is in heaven or not is not our decision. It’s God’s. So, instead of presumptuously speaking on God’s behalf and condemning and spreading hate from a distance, why not come alongside of those who are mourning, drawing near to help comfort them? Jesus said, “Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.”

If you are depressed and thinking about suicide, talk to someone. Talk to a friend. Talk to a family member. Talk with a professional. Call a hotline. Talk.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255