Author Jonathan Noyes
Published on 04/01/2024
Christian Living

What Every Christian Needs to Know about Suicide

Jon Noyes introduces his Stand to Reason University course “Suicide: What Every Christian Needs to Know” and shares two grounding principles: You are not alone, and you are valuable.


For some of you, this course is going to be the most impactful Stand to Reason University course that you’ve taken. For some of you, our time together is going to mark a transformation in your life, not because of me or really the slick graphics on the screen, but because of you—because of where you find yourself in your life right now, what you might be facing—or maybe it’s because of something a friend is facing right now in their life.

Many of you know who John Newton was. He wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace.” It’s a song that resounds with a message of hope. In it, we find the words “The Lord hath promised good to me. His Word my hope secures. He will my shield and portion be as long as life endures.” These are sweet, encouraging words, and even now as I say them, the hair on the back of my neck and arms stands up. The hymn is filled with these types of words.

Many of you might not know who William Cowper was. Many might remember him as a famous hymnist just like John Newton. But what most people don’t know is that Cowper was also John Newton’s closest friend, and here’s something that he wrote: “Encompassed with a thousand dangers; weary, faint, trembling with a thousand terrors.... a fleshly tomb, am buried above ground.” You know, it’s fortunate that Cowper had such a good friend in John Newton because he was plagued for years with a deep oppression and overwhelming thoughts of suicide. On many occasions, John Newton literally saved Cowper’s life. He prevented him from taking his own life, and that made all the difference.

There are some of you that are watching this who love Jesus, but you still feel the anguish William Cowper felt. There are some of you watching this that have friends who love Jesus, and they feel what Cowper felt, and then there’s a third group. There are some of you who have non-Christian friends who might be very far from Jesus, and they feel like Cowper felt. Whatever group you find yourself in, whatever group you represent right now, this talk, this class, this course is meant to help you deal with these issues, just like John Newton helped William Cowper. Maybe you can be that friend for somebody, or maybe you need that friend. I’m going to do this by addressing three main questions. Two “why’s” followed by a “what.”

The first question is, why is this important? The second question is, why do people contemplate suicide? And the third question is, what can we do about it? Before we dive into our first question, I want to lay the groundwork with two principles. First, you’re not alone. Second, you’re valuable.

You’re not alone. This is a phrase you’re going to hear a lot throughout every single class in this course, and that’s because it’s true. If you’re struggling with mental health issues or suicide, you might feel like you’re alone, but that’s a lie. You might believe that no one will understand what you’re going through, and that, too, is a huge lie. There are people who not only know you, but they know what you’re going through, and, more than that, they want to help you. You are not alone.

Our second principle is you are so valuable. I don’t know you. I don’t. We’re interacting through a screen of some type, and I don’t know the circumstances that you find yourself in right now and where you are in your life, but I know something about you that makes you special. You are made in the image of God, and because you’re made in the image of God, you’re of infinite value and worth. It doesn’t matter how you feel. it doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God. It doesn’t matter, because you are made in his image, and—this is the best thing about the image of God stuff—you’re stuck with it. So, I’m sorry, but you’re stuck with being indescribably valuable for no other reason other than you’re made in the image of God. So, you’re stuck with infinite value and worth, and you’re worthy of my respect and of my dignity and of my love because you are made in the image of God and you’re valuable. So, with these two ideas—you’re not alone, and you’re valuable—in place, let’s look at our first question, why is the issue of suicide important? This is what we’re going to do in our next class.