He explained that while he leaned on scripture for comfort, fellow believers were not always helpful as he dealt with his profound grief.

“A lot of believers don’t know what to do with something like that,” he said. “When there is severe brokenness, they don't know what to do so they back off. That leaves more room for the enemy to isolate us. When he goes to attack, he will try to pick off on the edge.”

The middle of the flock is a safer place for believers, and anyone struggling with brokenness should strive to be there, Roswech said. Members of the church should strive to surround survivors, so they don’t feel isolated.

Both Keay and Cheong encourage Christians to act in that important support role, no matter how difficult the situation might be.

“As with any forms of suffering, every member of the church can love those grieving suicide well by journeying with them over the long haul, weeping, rejoicing, encouraging and fighting the good fight of faith with one another.” said Cheong, referencing 1 Timothy 6:12.

Keay also said that on an individual level, being with someone grieving that intensely is scary, but necessary: “When you stand with someone you are bearing their pain with them, are willing to go be part of and feel pain—that’s hard. Don’t be afraid to sit and hear people cry deeply. Don't be afraid of that deep moaning grief. Do what God has enabled you to do.”

(c) WORLD News Service. Used with permission.

Publication date: March 25, 2013