The God Squad: Suicide can never be the answer

Rabbi Marc Gellman, Tribune Content Agency on

Q: Is suicide a forgivable sin because soon I will commit it? -- A

A: Dear A. I beg you, I plead with you, I abjure you, I pray for you, please do not take your life! If you wrote to me because you trust in some measure my advice and counsel please stop reading my reply right now and do not return to reading it until you have called the suicide prevention hotline right now at (800) 273-8255.

…now welcome back, dear A.

If you are honest with yourself, you must know that every day you awaken into life after your sleep, you know deep down that your blessings exceed your burdens. We all have burdens and sorrows and fears, but we also have blessings and gifts and joys that are just as real. You are probably in your place of despair because all your time is spent focusing on what you lack instead of what you have. You have people who love you and rely upon you. Their love and need are reasons enough to live.

Try this exercise. Spend some time writing down on a piece of paper all your reasons for taking your life. Then on another piece of paper write down all your reasons for embracing your life and preserving your life. Now compare the lists. If it is true that there is even one good reason to remain alive, then cling to that reason with all your waning strength. There are always reasons to give up, but until there are absolutely no good reasons to tough it out and embrace life you simply cannot give up. Then hide the list of reasons to take your life and keep the list of your blessings in your pocket and read it every day.

Take some time and go serve food to homeless and hungry people at a soup kitchen. Look into their eyes and see their gratitude that someone has cared about them enough to serve them a good hot meal. They are the proof that God is not through with you here.


Find the most beautiful place you know and go there with a chair and a bottle of water and the 121st Psalm. Then just sit there and watch the sun set and while you have enough light, read it,

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.

My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber.


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