My small group is going through the Lifestories book from Casting Crowns. Tonight, one of the songs we discussed was Here I Go Again. It talks about sharing our faith with others... or more to the point, what happens when we don't share our faith.
Mark Hall shares the story of a friend that he failed -- twice. Ultimately, this person took his own life. Mark had opportunities to speak to this person, but never said what he felt he should have said.
That was a tough story to read... not just because it's tragic. It was tough for me because there are parallels to my own life. There have been times when I felt like I needed to talk to someone about God and I didn't... and I walked away from the last opportunity I would ever have to share God's love--or anything else, for that matter--with them.
That's a tough lesson to learn.
I've often wondered if my input would have changed those story lines at all. Maybe... maybe not.
We also wound up talking about suicide. A lot of Christians believe that if you commit suicide, you go straight to hell. That's what I was taught, anyhow. Several others in my small group were taught the same thing. Depending on the "flavor" of your upbringing, the idea is that either suicide is such a terrible sin that you lose your salvation over it, or the very act of committing suicide demonstrates that you never knew God in the first place.
I can't accept either of those positions. It's a horrible thing, a sin, and as far as I'm concerned it is never the right choice to make--nothing justifies it. But I refuse to believe that they are automatically condemned to hell. Only God knows what was in their heart.