Saturday, December 12, 2009

daily text 12/12

Saturday, December 12th, 2009
"There is going to be a resurrection." (Acts 24:15)

When death separates family members, such great loss can result in deep sorrow. (Genesis 23:2) Even the perfect man Jesus “gave way to tears” when his friend Lazarus died. (John 11:35) So it is natural to experience sadness when death claims someone you love. However, Christians know that there will be a resurrection. Hence, they do not “sorrow just as the rest also do who have no hope.” (1 Thessalonians 4:13) Complete reliance on “the God of all comfort” will help us to endure bereavement. (2 Corinthians 1:3, 4) So will reflecting on what was done by the first-century widow Anna. She became a widow after only seven years of marriage. But at the age of 84, she was still rendering sacred service to Jehovah at the temple. (Luke 2:36-38) Such a devout life undoubtedly helped her to cope with grief and loneliness. Regular participation in Christian activities can help us to endure the effects of bereavement.
(Watchtower issue: 07/15/07, 3:9, 11)

*I did some additional research about the Bible's view of suicide (in regards to the resurrection hope) after seeing another story on the news yesterday, about a soldier who committed suicide and his parents who are in mourning (not only over their son's death) but also due to a policy the military has in regards to soldiers who commit suicide. I guess they don't send a letter of condolence from the President to the families of soldiers who take their own lives...which obviously is only going to add to the burden of grief, instead of comforting them.

And since suicide is one of the leading causes of death (In a single year, about a million people worldwide take their own lives. That amounts to one death almost every 40 seconds) it's important to be well-prepared in the ministry to give spiritual comfort to family members who are trying to cope with this type of tragedy, and have questions regarding the possibility of a future resurrection for their loved ones.
First, here's an article from the website:

Have You Lost a Loved One to Suicide?
(which is part of a whole series of good articles on this subject)

And here's also an excerpt on pgs 22-23 of the 9/8/90 Awake!:
The Bible’s Viewpoint
Suicides—A Resurrection?

The tragic news of a suicide does not close a chapter in the lives of relatives and friends; it opens one—a chapter of mixed feelings of pity and anger, sorrow and guilt. And it raises the question: May we entertain any hope for our friend who took his or her life? ...

A Merciful Opportunity
Stunned friends of a suicide victim may thus take comfort in knowing that “Jehovah has shown mercy to those fearing him. For he himself well knows the formation of us, remembering that we are dust.” (Psalm 103:10-14) Only God can fully understand the role of mental sickness, extreme stress, even genetic defects, in a “suicidal crisis,” which, the National Observer noted, “is not a lifetime characteristic [but] often a matter only of minutes or of hours.”—See Ecclesiastes 7:7.

Granted, one who takes his own life deprives himself of the opportunity to repent of his self-murder. But who can say whether one driven to suicide might have had a change of heart had his fatal attempt failed? Some notorious murderers have, in fact, changed and earned God’s forgiveness during their lifetime.—2 Kings 21:16; 2 Chronicles 33:12, 13.

Thus, Jehovah, having paid “a ransom in exchange for many,” is within his right to extend mercy, even to some self-murderers, by resurrecting them and giving them the precious opportunity to “repent and turn to God by doing works that befit repentance.”—Matthew 20:28; Acts 26:20.