Suicide, many have pointed out, is one of the most selfish acts a person can do. When a person takes their own life, they are not only despising God’s gift of life, despising God’s image that is in them, but they are effectively refusing to serve anyone else but themselves. They have decided that their own feelings, worries, hurts, pains, and suffering is the most important factor in life. At the same time, we know that Jesus was born in Bethlehem in order to grow up and die. We might even point out that Jesus had the power to prevent his own death; if wanted to he might have called down legions of angels to protect him. But this is the point: Jesus came to give his life as a ransom for sin. Jesus came to forfeit his life for the life of the world. Jesus was conceived in the womb of a virgin and grew up in order to destroy death. Suicide is retreat from life, an acceptance of defeat, a refusal to fight. The martyr, by contrast, also dies, but he dies still at war with sin and death. The martyr dies, but with the very blood she spills, she expects vindication and justification and resurrection from the Lord. Suicide is murder. It is self inflicted murder, and God hates it. But martyrdom is the call of every disciple. If you are a disciple, you have a cross to carry. Your cross may be health needs, financial concerns, family struggles, sins of the flesh, or a myriad of other possibilities. But your cross was designed specifically for you. It is exactly what you need in order to do battle with sin and death. But we are not called to this self-sacrifice, this martyrdom as though going to defeat. We are called to take our crosses as acts of defiance, acts of war, as soldiers who see that the only way to find life is to lose it, the only way to be great is to become the least, the only way to live is to die. Christ did not come on a suicidal mission; Christ came as a King who leads his people into life. And in order to secure life, he has even defeated death, even the death of a virgin’s womb.