I thought about suicide.
Darkness fills the room. Light floods my eyes. I am blinded for the moment. I sit up in bed. Is anyone there? Squinting, I see something in the distance. Sight returns. I see a man burning. I hear God. I’ve never seen such righteousness.
“Kill his ass!” “Let me at him!” “Rip his dick off!” “He won’t be teaching that bullshit around here anymore.” “Who in the fuck does he think he is?” Fire spewed out of their throats. Sweat dropped from their lips. Rage filled their souls. They grabbed. They kicked. They drug. They bit. The cliff was rapidly approaching. Death was certain. Then, Jesus somehow slipped away. In the midst of it all, the disciples hid to escape death. None of them could believe it when he returned. They were even more shocked when he declared, “My time is not yet here.” His time? He was just a dead man. Now, he’s declaring that he picks his own time? What manner of man is this?
Suicide is a intentional death at a chosen time by a chosen method. Jesus decided to die when he knew it was time by the method of execution. Such an argument is bolstered by the fact that Jesus didn’t choose to die at a chosen time by a chosen method earlier. He could have ran. He could have hid. He could have done so many other things than what he did. Jesus chose his intentional death. Jesus committed suicide by proxy. Jesus committed a righteous suicide.
“I have been to the mountaintop…” As the crowd cheered, Dr. King sat down and resigned himself to what was ahead. Death was closing in. Dr. King did not hesitate to move forward. When we intentionally move forward with a chosen death, we are committing suicide. When the bullet pierced his body, Dr. King died in the same manner that Jesus did…by righteous suicide.
What happens when a suicide is universally condemned? Does the perception of others determine the righteousness of the act? Righteousness seems to deal in motive not perception.
Jim Jones led hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of people to commit suicide or be murdered. Every single one of them were told that they were dying for each other and as a witness to the world. Many, if not most, believed these words to be true and laid down their lives for others. These deaths were righteous deaths…righteous suicides. Those pictures of the countless bodies might look different if the viewer considered that many of the dead actually followed the way of Jesus.
The path. The way. The journey. They all lead to the same place. Giving life so that others might have life. Jesus calls us to give our lives…our bodies…our everything. There is no other way.
Righteous suicide is sometimes the culmination of a life well lived…in the pursuit of the call of Jesus. Be careful how you judge. The departed might know Jesus far better than you do.
I arose out of my bed. Within a few steps, I was in the parking lot of a strip mall. I saw him pour the gasoline. I saw him light the flame. I saw him explode. I knew I should be horrified. I wasn’t. The light drew me closer and closer and closer. Ultimately, I ended up in the flames. I felt the burn. I felt everything. I felt eternity. There God found me and in God I was found.
I thought about suicide.