Dignity and redemption.

So this week I’ve mostly been moping, and recovering from Holy Week. Also this week a good friend of mine tried to kill themselves. I just don’t know what to say to make it better, I want to be there for them, but I know being chipper or being mollycoddled is just the worst, also that being negative is the last thing she needs right now but that being neutral in the face of suicide is impossible.

If they are reading this I just want them to know I love them, but also that they are to take it as the strictest order that they are never to do that again. I don’t know how to say that to them in a way which isn’t patronising or bossy, but I really want them to know it because I love them and God loves them.

I don’t know how or when its been so deeply drilled into me that suicide isn’t allowed. But I know it is absolutely off limits. I personally believe God is merciful to people who are in such depths of mental illness that they attempt to take their own lives. But I also know that it is totally off limits, and thank God it is because otherwise I’d have probably done it a long time ago.

Things can and will get better. The beauty of mistakes, no matter how grave, is that as long as we draw breath we can learn from them and if they are sins, repent. Even if we die alone in abject poverty we can look forward to heaven. Everything will be well in the end. But this knowledge that death is not the end doesn’t make me long for death, it makes me know that this life is worth living in the first place.

This is the biggest puzzle about atheism for me. Why is it that atheists, who believe in nothing after death, seem so keen on assisted suicide and from my subjective point of view seem more prone to attempt it even when in good physical health?

Annihilation, oblivion, are abhorrent to me, it is clearly abhorrent to God, he created us because he loves us, even if we disobey him, reject him and are as thoroughly deserving of destruction as Satan himself, God still does not destroy us.

Even when we harm others, God holds us in being, which is amazing because God knows exactly how much pain we are causing. Indeed the passion of Jesus is the embodiment of God not just knowing but physically experiencing the arbitrary cruelty of evil.

God even loves the devil, otherwise the devil would cease to exist. Thanks to Jesus we talk about loving our enemies, but only God really knows the depth of what that really means, because only God loves perfectly and only God knows perfectly the destruction his enemy does to people he loves.

Therefore there is always hope for us mere mortals, because whilst the gravest of sins truly do crucify Jesus we also know God’s forgiveness can encompass anything precisely because Jesus has already won our salvation on Calvary.

Whilst our sins truly harm others, ourselves and offend God, they are, in the grand scheme of God’s infinite love for us, laughably pathetic. I often find that often best way to avoid temptation is not to focus on how grave a sin is, but to remind myself how ridiculous it is.

The devil tempts us to despair of God’s love and mercy by distorting the seriousness of what we do. It is the devil who, moments before we sin, tells us how trivial it is, but then the very second after we sin how awful we are and that God will not forgive us.

It can often be easier to resist the temptation to steal, lie, or watch porn, not because these are serious, which they are, but because they are also pathetic, they are beneath us as humans created in the image of God.

The lie Satan tells about suicide, is that life is worthless, yet the world is so obviously filled with so many amazing things we can see and experience, so many things of bone-aching beauty. The very first thing the Bible tells us is that God created the world and saw that it was very good. Lucifer isn’t called the father of lies for nothing.

We can have a weird sort of destructive pride that we are the greatest of sinners, when actually we are usually just acting like petulant children, throwing the rattle from the pram. Toddlers throw the rattle out of the pram because they need to know their parent is there to pick it up, that they will keep picking it up, because their love isn’t conditional or finite.

We need to realise how absurd our tantrums are, but also that God can pick up the rattle and give it back to us. Except that in this case the rattle is our dignity as human beings. God can even give us back our dignity if we attempt to destroy it completely because our dignity is found in Him.


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