Just Announced: Philippians Sermon Series

Summary: I would like to open the Scripture for you, family members and friends of Jimbo, our friend who commited suicide. And let the word of God comfort you and comfort me… Not prejudices, not gossip, not what readers of the local newspaper are thinking, but wha

Funeral Jimbo Carroll

I was a senior in high school when one of my neighbors, George, committed suicide. He was 19 the only son his mother, a poor widow, Mrs. Maria. He hung himself because some friends made fun of him… Mrs. Maria mourned over the terrible loss of her only son was not her only pain. She felt the horrible pain of bigotry and prejudice. Her priest rejected the idea of a decent funeral and didn’t allow George to be buried in the church cemetery. Almost all cemeteries in Romania belongs to the Greek-orthodox churches…

No burial service, no place in the cemetery because of the superstitions, wrong understanding of Jesus’ mission as Saviour and Redeemer.

I remember Mrs. Maria’s tiers, her desperation and her question repeated almost mechanical: why, why God, why?... I wanted to comfort her, to read some Scriptures for her… And I did after a while. But she didn’t believe me. She considered her son cursed, burning already in hell because of that minute of weakness and bad temper… She just followed the popular opinion, what others around her thought… And her emotions, her guilt, her sense of a loving God and personal savior, were chocked… Her mind collapsed in less than a year…

And today I would like to open the Scripture for you, family members and friends of Jimbo. And let the word of God comfort you and comfort me… Not prejudices, not gossip, not what readers of the local newspaper are thinking, but what the Scriptures affirm and confirm. I understand there are certain topics that need to be addressed, because they are on the minds of everyone.

1. First of all we need to deal with emotional issues involving this tragedy.

- Grief is, of course, a common reaction, one that comes with almost every death, regardless of its cause.

- Anger, however, is a specific response toward a situation like this. You told me, Gayland, and I feel it myself. I want to shake him and shout, "You had no right!" I am angry on Jimbo and I am angry on me because I didn’t see it coming… He didn’t give enough time to talk with him, to advise him, to pray with him.

He came to me crying like a baby… Pastor pray for my family – he said. He was holding Drake’s hand… I told him about VBS and nice would be with his son in of children’s class… I called him after that and his concern was the same: my family, my family…

If you are struggling with anger you need to be reassured that anger is not sinful, but understandable.

2. Another issue in this particular situation is guilt. Yes, "It’s my fault" - you may thing as his family or friends. “I didn’t talk with him the day before” or, “I shouldn’t say this or that”…

Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you are directly responsible for Jimbo’s actions. Just as it takes many small and large streams to make a river, so it takes many influences and events to lead a person to act in one way or the other. To live a life in guilt feeling miserable because you thing are responsible for what happened, it’s unbearable… after Jesus was born in Bethlehem, King Herod run after baby boys, hopping to destroy the real King of Israel.

But Jesus was never troubled by guild saying: because of Me they died… He said the opposite: “I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd lays down His life for the sheep”. (John 10:11). They didn’t day for Me, I died for them… In spite of those tragedies, as consequences of sin dominating this world – I am the one, the only one handling, and finally responsible for everything… Jesus say - Let Me be in charge, let me take handle your emotions and guilt….

3. And the last issue on my list, after feelings and emotions of ager, guilt, depression, is the Issue of Salvation and Forgiveness.

For some Christian believers, there is the conviction that suicide is the unforgivable sin - because once you commit it, it’s too late to ask forgiveness. My answer is twofold: first, why pick suicide as the unforgivable sin? Suppose you commit any sin – lie your wife, or cheating your husband for example - and you die before asking forgiveness. Doesn’t that make that particular sin unforgivable?

When you accepted Christ as Lord and Savior, how many of your sins did he pay for? The answer is: all of them. He died on the cross for all of my sins and your sins. So, if that’s right, murder or suicide cannot be an unforgivable sin. They are consequences and you understand some of them, is not easy for the survivors, is not easy for mothers who lost Rebecca and Jimbo, is not easy for Drake… After this somebody called me and after a long introduction, asked me a direct question - where Jimbo is now, after he died? He was really asking the question about suicide and forgiveness.

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