Three years ago I lost a friend to suicide. She had fought for years with depression, cutting, and a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder….

I always [told her that the only One who could help her was God, and that He sent His Son Jesus Christ to bring salvation to her]. She never stopped me from talking about it, but at the very last she was so bad that she couldn’t bring herself to believe what I was telling her about God….

These last three years have been the saddest years of my life. I have so many questions! … What advice can you give me?

Dear Friend,

We are so very sorry for the loss of your friend! Your normal grief has been compounded by the unanswered questions that you have. You don’t specify any of them, but we can guess some of them, such as why your friend wouldn’t accept the salvation that you told her about, and what more could you have done that might have prevented her from taking her life.

These are difficult, but fair, questions. However, to be able to understand the answers, it is first necessary to consider the underlying factors. Borderline personality disorder is caused by physical abnormalities in the brain. The chemical and electrical circuits (that normally link thoughts and their associated behaviors) are disconnected, or are connected in a random manner.

Imagine a house. Every electrical plug in the house must lead back to the circuit breakers, and the circuit breakers must in turn lead to the power that is connected to the electric company. Every water faucet in the house is connected back to pipes that eventually link up to the main water line that is connected to the municipal water supply.

However, what if some of the electrical lines are crossed so that they don’t lead back to the power source? And what if the water pipes are connected to the wrong places or to no place at all? Can you imagine the chaos that this would cause in that house? There would be water pipes pouring water into the bedrooms and electrical power that either doesn’t work or is dangerous.

Your friend had a brain with chaotic connections. It may have seemed to be functioning at times, but it was completely unstable and unreliable. She couldn’t understand it, and it was so unbearable that she finally put a stop to it.

You are mistaken to think that you could have done anything to repair the connections in your friend’s brain. You did everything that you possibly could, and we are sure that your friendship was a great comfort and help to her.

For many reasons it is incorrect to call this illness a mental illness because its cause is entirely physical. It was not something that your friend could have controlled by thinking better or more clearly, even if she had accepted the salvation that Jesus Christ came to give her.

It is controversial, but we believe that God judges each person according to his or her capability. In the same way that a toddler is not accountable for his or her sin, we believe that God does not hold accountable any person whose brain prevents them from understanding the truth about Him and their personal salvation.

We wish you well,