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On Suicide

In the wake of a tragic suicide, we need to move beyond the person's death and remember his or her life, in addition to God's grace.


Death is never easy. But death is even harder when someone is too young to die or dies under especially difficult circumstances. The tragic and untimely death of Dave leaves us almost speechless. It is hard for most of us to know exactly what to say. No words seem good enough.

But there are some topics I think we need to talk about today. We need to talk about Dave's death, about Dave's life, and about God's grace.

Dave's death

Dave's death was tragic. He was too young. He was not physically ill. His family loved him and wanted him. There were too many good reasons for him to live.

His death seems profoundly out of order. Parents are supposed to die before their children, yet Dave's parents lost a son. Death is supposed to steal life from us rather than be surrendered. It is something done to us; not something we should ever do to ourselves.

Dave's death is difficult for us to understand. We cannot imagine how he could feel so desperate, so depressed, so hopeless. We cannot imagine that he could not see the better and brighter alternatives. We don't understand, because those not traveling the black hole of depression really can't fully understand.

All we can do is accept and forgive. We can say that it should not have been. We should not be here today. As much as we all loved Dave, we hate the choice he made.

One thing that we should not do is blame. To the contrary, from all I know and have seen—family, friends, and professionals did your very best. You were there for Dave; you loved him, stood by him, and helped him. But, as necessary as it may be to talk about all this, it is a disservice to measure Dave's life by his death.

Dave's life

Dave's life was long and was good. He lived 51 long, happy, and productive ...

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Leith Anderson is president emeritus of the National Association of Evangelicals and Baptist pastor emeritus of Wooddale Church in Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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Sermon Outline:


Death is especially hard when someone is too young to die or dies under difficult circumstances.

I. Dave's death

II. Dave's life

III. God's grace


The author is convinced that Dave met Jesus waiting for him on the other side, welcoming him to heaven and eternal life.