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Suicide:sin or self determination
Feb 9, 1998

Dear Reverand:

I am in the end stages of AIDS. The personal suffering is unbearable and the toll on my loved ones is worse than the disease. Where in the Bible does it say that ending one's own life when death is imminent is a sin and are there any circumstances that would allow suicide as an option to suffering?

Thanks PS on a personal note, your answers have given me much spiritual strength in the past.

Response from Rev. Pieters

The Bible teaches us about a God of Life, even in the face of death. Some people cite Deuteronomy 30:19, where God says, "Choose Life." You never know what may be around the corner. My physician, who saw me through several instances of coming close to death, says, "Where there is life, there is hope." I'm certainly glad I didn't commit suicide myself when everyone (including me) thought my life was over. I've had at least 12 years of good life since then!

But remember, I am not you, and this issue is exceedingly personal. And I would not want to judge someone who chooses suicide when the end is apparently near. That kind of judgment is up to God. I don't know the level of that person's suffering, or their faith, and I have not lived their life.

This decision must come from deep within you. This is truly between you and God. Personally, I believe that God gives us whatever we need to get through the most challenging moments of our lives, including dying. Focus on God's presence, breathe God's name, and allow others to pray with you.

Don't kill yourself because you think you may be a burden to others. That's not fair to them or to you. Consider how very much God loves you, how God is with you, especially now. And our God is a God of life. Jesus understands exactly the pain you're going through in living with the suffering of dying. And still Jesus placed his faith in God. I pray that you will too. God is with you every moment.

Isaiah 53 v 5
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