13 Jun Thoughts About Joey Pullen
On Sunday evening, May 31, I received one of a handful of the saddest phone calls I have ever (and will ever) receive. Joey Pullen, a former member of NewHeart’s Youth Ministries, had committed suicide that afternoon.
All the reasons surrounding Joey’s decision and its implications (as is the case with almost every suicide) are yet to be understood. Joey was 21 years old and full of potential and love and everything else a family would want in a son, brother and uncle.
His funeral on Saturday, June 6, was jam packed with family and friends. The pastor who officiated did a great job of being very honest with the gathering about the circumstance of Joey’s death.
I am often asked as a Pastor what my thoughts are on what happens to someone who commits suicide. I believe that if you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you go to heaven, and I make no bones about it.
I do not believe in the doctrinal position of what is called “eternal security”. That is the belief that once you’re saved, you will end up in heaven no matter what. I believe that a person can purposely renounce their decision to follow Jesus.
Just as God’s love would never force a person to choose Him, I don’t believe His love would force a person to keep following Him.
However, when it comes to suicide, some churches believe that since it is your “last sin”, you cannot be ask God to forgive you and will therefore go to hell for eternity, even if you knew Christ as your Savior.
I don’t believe suicide is the “unpardonable sin”. And, as God knows the number of our days, I also do not believe that He knows when we will commit suicide.
Now, I believe God knows ALL things. I do believe He does know His plan for the number of our days. But being omniscient (all-knowing) as He is, and loving us so much that He gives us a will to make choices, I believe that God knows EVERY possible move we might make, even among the dozens we choose every day, along with the many more we MIGHT choose. I believe He sees all the possibilities.
I believe that when a person who has made the decision to turn their life over to Jesus commits suicide, they have short-circuited God’s plan for their life. As such, I believe it breaks God’s heart when we take our lives into our own hands. I believe that God wraps His arms around the person who has committed suicide and simply says, “I had so much more planned for you!”
I am convinced that’s what Joey has heard from Jesus, and that we will one day be together with him again when we reach heaven. Until then, this life is a desperate plea for that day!