This post was written in April of 2012.
There is so much in the Bible about being an encourager. In fact, just mouse over Ephesians 6:22, Colossians 4:8, 1 Thessalonians 5:14 and you can quickly surmise that God commands that we encourage others.
So why would I tell you to be a discourager?
Allow me to explain what I mean. About 33 years ago, Brian Thomas Doucher was born. After a series of events, we were brought into each other’s lives. He truly was one of the best friends I’ve ever had, and I would venture to say I was one of his best friends. On Sunday, April 8, 2012, Brian ended his own life. It is almost hard to type, but Brian committed suicide.
The circumstances are irrelevant. I’m not going to try to explain it (I don’t think I could), and I’m not trying to blame anyone. What I want to talk about in this post is how we can “be a discourager.” That is, how can we discourage people from repeating Brian’s mistake.
My goal is to exhort you to discourage others from following in Brian’s path. Let me explain: Brian was a great guy. He was loved by many people, and had a positive impact on many folks.
Read some of the things people have written on his Facebook wall in just the few days since he passed onto eternity:
“Such a great guy, who’s silly jokes i’ll miss dearly!”
“Not a day goes by we will not think about you. Gone to Soon.
“We all hope you knew how much we all love you”
“I don’t like many lawyers, and even fewer law students, but you were a good one buddy. One of the smartest people I’ve ever known.”
“Will really miss you buddy.”
“Thank you for all the great times we had together back in the day.”
“I will truly miss you bro. Through the years we went through the best of times and the worst of times. You had such a big heart and cared for others so much! I was heartbroken when i heard that you had passed!!”
So what’s my point? I guess I can’t say for certain, but I like to believe that Brian didn’t actually know how much so many people loved him. It is my guess that when he finally got to the brink of suicide, he was utterly hopeless. Now I’m not saying it is anyone else’s fault that Brian died, but I do believe we have an impact on people. I believe we can tell people how we feel about them, and ENCOURAGE them and, thus, be a DISCOURAGER for people who would consider taking their own life.
I like to think that if Brian could’ve seen just his Facebook wall in the days after he passed, there is no way he would have done this. Of course, that isn’t truly up for argument. What I am saying is more along the lines of “I can’t imagine that Brian truly knew how loved he was and, frankly, how awesome so many people thought he was.”
Now for the real encouragement for YOU, dear reader: Let’s quickly discuss Brian’s eternal state. Many people would say suicide sends a person straight to hell; others would deny hell’s existence, or even assume all people go to heaven through some sort of universalism.
Let me put it this way, Jesus Christ, Lord of all came to seek and to save sinners (people: like me and you and Brian). All men have sinned against God, through our acts of faithlessness, disobedience to God’s laws and violations of His holiness. (Read The Gospel if you don’t get this or if you disagree, it is worth investigating).
But God, in His kindness and mercy, while we were still enemies of Him demonstrated His love by sending His Son Jesus to die for sinners. God poured out His wrath on His Son on the cross. Jesus was buried as predicted and then resurrected. He was raised so that sinners might be justified before God. This means that God can forgive sinners because justice was served. God commands that men everywhere repent of sin and turn to Christ for forgiveness. He offers this by grace and only by grace. You and I and Brian can and could do nothing to earn God’s favor. This is Good News. You can be reconciled to God if you will humble yourself and allow Christ’s righteousness to be the only righteousness you count on to be accepted by God.
What does this have to do with Brian? Brian confessed these things. Brian believed these things and had fruit in his life which indicated a desire to follow Christ. Was he weak? Yes, like we all are. But suicide does not disqualify someone from God’s grace any more than any other sin which Christ Himself bore on that tree.
You, dear non-Christian, may live with a hope that Brian is in a better place, and you may hope to see him someday or maybe you’ve “asked” him to say hi to your family member. I implore you to consider your own condition! I live with the rational hope that Brian truly did know Christ as Savior, that he committed a horrible and irreversible sin and that He went directly to be with His Lord by God’s grace. I hope you will live eternally praising and glorifying the name of Christ too and turn from idols!
On July 5, 2013. I found this song on YouTube. Grab your tissues.