I Will Grieve for the Suicide

If you are wrestling with grief following suicide, or if you have people in your life affected by Christian suicide, I want you to know that there is a Lutheran book you can read for free online: I Will Grieve for the Suicide: Gospel Comfort for Loved Ones Left Behind by Rev. Peter Preus.

I won’t lie. As someone who struggles with depression, this book shook me for over a week. Still, as someone affected by suicide, I wanted to read this book. It promises a Lutheran, Gospel-centered perspective. 

This book wrestles with many things, including grief and anger & shame caused by stigma. I’d encourage you to read the whole book, but perhaps do so by reading the introduction followed by whichever chapter title sounds most appropriate for the moment. The chapter addressing stigmas was pretty heartbreaking.

Here’s the Table of Contents:

The paradox of Christian suicide
Fighting the good fight
Gospel for the grieving
A few disclaimers before we begin …

Shock, Stigma and Shame in the Aftermath of Suicide 
Grieving for your elderly mother
An evil death
A legacy of stigma
Suicide’s stigma: A triple brand
Fear and ignorance
Hiding your grief
The Christian community
Left alone to grieve
A safe place to grieve
Gospel for the grieving

Anger, Blame, Guilt and the Search for a Scapegoat
Grieving for your young adult son
Angry and alone
Beating yourself up
Laying your sins on Jesus
Why didn’t God …?
Lamenting to God
Wrestling with God
Holy anger?
The right scapegoat
Gospel for the grieving

Seeking Answers in Pscyhology
Grieving for your teenage daughter
A cancer of the mind
The pain of hopelessness
A silent killer
Did she really want to die?
‘I can’t live like this!’
‘Stop the pain!’
‘I won’t be your burden!’
The blessings of psychology
The limits of psychology
Death relief or Gospel relief?
Our culture of death
The problem of suffering
The cure: The Gospel
Gospel for the grieving

Confronting the Sin of Suicide
Grieving for your husband with young children
The sin of suicide
No chance for comfort?
‘He had no time to repent!’
‘He committed the unforgivable sin!’
‘God alone knows the heart’
Christian doctrine: Your path to certainty
The sinful nature
The wages of sin
What does it mean to repent?
God’s timetable
Hope, despair and God’s grace
God’s grace and the depression bully
Living and dying in God’s grace
Your turn to despair?
Gospel for the grieving

Free to Grieve at the Foot of the Cross
Grieving for your middle-aged sister
Elected by grace
A wonderful mystery
It’s God’s memory that matters
Your fight has been fixed!
Fighting the good fight after suicide
Grieving as a confession of faith

My Family’s Journey Through Grief 
‘A heritage from the Lord’
‘A wife of noble virtue’
‘Weep with those who weep’
‘I know my own and my own know me’
‘They have kept your word’

Discussion Questions 
How to Support a Grieving Family After Suicide
Scriptures of Comfort 
Prayers for the Afflicted and the Grieving 
For Further Reading

Each chapter ended with the refrain, “I will grieve for the suicide.” It’s a powerful and very healthy statement. 

There were several very significant perspective shifts  for me. Solid application of biblical, Gospel teaching.

At the same time, and I do hate to criticize this book & this topic in any way, but I wish that the “Once saved, always saved” question could have been more clearly answered. Yes, I believe that Christians can commit suicide and go to heaven. At the same time, I believe that Christians who are repeatedly fed the Word of God and the Body and Blood of Christ are in a more comforting position for those who grieve than otherwise.

That message is certainly in this book, but I would have emphasized it more. Someone in church LAST SUNDAY is certainly someone God is clinging to. Although that doesn’t help those who have fallen away from regular attendance.

Folks, whether you’re depressed or you’re able to drive someone who’s depressed to church, please go to church! Offer rides to others, too. Please!

1 Comment

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One Response to I Will Grieve for the Suicide

  1. marykuhlmannantholz

    Thanks for making this booklet available. I have the most unsettling feeling that several of us may be needing this information soon.

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