Death wishes must be renounced
The dictionary defines a death wish as “the conscious or unconscious desire for the death of oneself or of another.” Jesus came to earth to die for us so we can live abundantly through His victory over death. By wishing for the death of oneself or of another, we ridicule Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross for us – and choose to side with Satan, who only kills and destroys.
John 10:10 ESV The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
Wishing death brings judgment
Every prayer is a type of wish, and a death wish is one of the most ungodly prayers we can speak over ourselves or other people. The following are some examples of how our wishes bring the curse of spiritual death into our lives – even after we have forgotten that we had once thought of them.
- Curse ourselves
- “Dying is better than living.”
- “It would be better if I was never born.”
- Curse others (see Matthew 5:22)
- To wish death or disaster on other people
- Cursed or hated by others (see 1 John 3:15)
- Be the target of attempted abortion
- Be the target of other people’s hatred or death wishes
- Wish for a permanent end to God’s purpose for our pain
- “Lord, please cut my life short.”
- “I want to see Jesus early.”
- “Life is too painful, I rather be dead.”
- Fascination with death
- “What will dying be like?”
- “What will it be like to be murdered?”
- “Who will attend my funeral?”
- “What’s it like to be murdered?”
- Attempted suicide
- Thinking about or suggesting abortion
- Afflicted self-harm on ourselves
- Play-acted death
- Slept in a coffin or graveyard
- Dressed as a skeleton or the dead
- Celebrated death
- Ancestor worship
- Festivals of the dead e.g. ghost festival or the Day of the Dead (Mexico) etc.
- Wished to die and be united with dead people
1 John 3:15 NLT Anyone who hates another brother or sister is really a murderer at heart. And you know that murderers don’t have eternal life within them.
Matthew 5:22 NLT … if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell.
Even if people do not die immediately from a death wish, the consequence is always some form of spiritual death, or in other words, a curse. God says that if we choose to live the way He determined for us, we will be blessed abundantly. However, if we rebel and choose death, we risk deadly consequences.
Deuteronomy 30:19 NLT “Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses.
Deuteronomy 30:15 NIV See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.
Death wishes come from an innate desire for life
1. Biblical evidence: People wish for death when they lose sight of dignity or hope for a normal life
In their despair over the many sins of their time, many of God’s prophets in the Old Testament, such as Elijah, Moses, Jonah and Jeremiah, grappled with the idea of dying. (Note: Any mercy for death wishes ended after Jesus came to give us new life.)
One of the most faithful men of God, Job, lost all his children, property and wealth in a single day. When this happened, Job stoically declared, “Should we accept only good things from the hand of God and never anything bad?” Later, Satan struck him with sores from his head to his feet. In a moment of weakness, as his self-dignity crumpled, Job cursed his own birth.
Job 3:1 ESV After this Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth.
Yet throughout his suffering, Job refused to curse God or speak any evil of other people. Later, God appeared to Job and blessed him with twice of everything he had previously because he remained faithful to God’s commandments. While Job may not have understood God’s purpose for his suffering in his lifetime, Job’s personal story has been a powerful comfort and encouragement to millions of Christians over the years.
Job 42:10, 12 ESV And the LORD restored the fortunes of Job, when he had prayed for his friends. And the LORD gave Job twice as much as he had before. And the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning…
2. Scientific evidence: People wish for death when they lose sight of dignity or hope for a normal life
Researchers have coined a term for people’s death wishes. It is called the WTHD, the “wish to hasten death”. A summary of various WTHD studies published by the US National Library of Medicine points out that people only want to hasten death when they lose hope in the ability to live with dignity.
In interviews with terminally ill patients, studies have shown that people end up choosing the last resort of death as they encounter great physical, psychological or spiritual suffering. Essentially, WTHD is a “cry for help” and a way to take back control over one’s life when all seems hopeless. WTHD is often a response to a person’s:
- Wish to live, but not this way
- Sense of loss and control over life’s direction
- Emotional distress
- Desire to end suffering
3. Practical evidence: People wish for death when they lose sight of dignity or hope for a normal life
The experiences of a handful of believers were compared for this blog post. Suffering is very personal and everyone reacts differently to various trials. There usually is a point where they “crack under pressure” as their suffering intensifies. Doubt and discouragement creep in as their hopes in Jesus Christ are severely tested. In general, the sentiment is, “God, why are you not removing this suffering? If only I can die sooner and go to heaven.”
It is usually those that are willing to persevere and hold on to the promises of a greater reward for their earthly sufferings who flee the temptation to make a death wish.
Romans 8:18 ESV For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.
1 Corinthians 10:13 ESV No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
Overcoming death wishes to live fully in Christ
Thank God that He readily forgives us for our death wishes when we repent and even gives us the privilege of being co-heirs with Jesus Christ.
Romans 8:16-17 ESV The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him.
First, we need to repent if we ever tried to be the Lord of our own lives by deciding that death would be better than the life that God has given us – even if we gave in to such a thought under extreme duress or very innocently as a child. God is not legalistic about our mistakes. It is Satan who is legalistic and he will cling on to the “right” we give him to destroy us through our thoughtless acts, even if we forget ever making such grievous wishes for ourselves.
In addition, we should also repent if we have cursed another person, so we are not destined for “the fires of hell”, as Matthew 5:22 warns.
By repenting, we take the careless desires of our past and crucify them to the cross, so we no longer have to carry the curses from the death wishes we once made.
Galatians 5:24 ESV And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
2. Break our covenant with Satan
Next, we need to declare that we belong to Jesus and break any “death contract” we made with Satan in Jesus’ name.
Romans 14:8 ESV For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.
3. Give our lives fully to Jesus
After breaking any ungodly covenant with Satan, we ought to surrender our lives to Jesus and invite Him to redeem us for the good works He had prepared for us to do before we were even born.
Ephesians 2:10 ESV For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
4. Seek to turn suffering into praise
Finally, let us ask God to use our suffering as a testimony to His wonderful redemption and healing. God is faithful, merciful and generous, and deserves our highest praise.
Genesis 50:20 NLT You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.
Psalm 30:11 NLT You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
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