Suicide. That is one word no one enjoys discussing. It is an event unlike that of any other that strikes sorrow, regret, despair, and even anger into the hearts of loved ones and friends. Often we do not realize what drove our friend or family member to that point. All we know is they are gone. Gone forever. That is not easy to think about. It is gut-wrenching; sickening. What could we have done? Are we to blame? Where is God in all of this? What does God say about suicide in Scripture? How can I deal with what I am feeling right now? Surely no one understands.
Albert Hsu in his book, “Grieving A Suicide”, is here to say that he does understand. He has wrestled repeatedly with these questions. Hsu recognizes that we all grieve differently. There is not a “sure fire” process for grieving the death of someone you care about and love. Why? Because we are all created uniquely by God. We are not all meant to grieve the same. However, I would venture to say, and I think Hsu would agree to some extent, we are not meant to do it alone. Yet, Hsu highlights we should not force someone speedily through their own grieving process because that is how “we would do it.” It is their grieving process for a reason. We should allow them to move through it as they choose, and be readily available when they wish to share what is on their heart.
I have never dealt with the suicide of someone close to me. Hsu drew me in. Provided a glimpse into a most horrendous event. I am grateful to Hsu for answering questions I have never had to ponder. Questions on the theology of suicide (e.g., is it the “unforgivable sin?”), questions on the spirituality of grieving, and how we can move forward despite this tragedy. No, I have never dealt with a suicide, but Hsu has provided a manual of sorts to guide a wanna-be-pastor through tragedy.
This book will change how you minister to those who are victims of suicide. This book is a tragedy the author experienced, but you will not want to put it down. Hsu writes in such a manner as to draw the reader into the pain he and his family is feeling, and also how he experiences God closer than before. I hope you will read this and give considerable thought to ministering to those affected by suicide.
Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from InterVarsity Press. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and a positive review was not required. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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