Can You Be Forgiven For Suicide?

First, this is a serious question, and could be coming from someone who is wrestling with the question of suicide. If so, I want to be abundantly clear: God’s will for your life does not include suicide. It is the opposite of why Christ came. In John 10, Jesus teaches us that our enemy comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but that Christ came that we might have life, and that in abundance. If there are things that you are wrestling with that cause you to think that maybe suicide is the answer, please get in contact with me and let’s sit down and talk about things. As someone who has wrestled with depression and even suicidal thoughts in my life, I can testify that it is not the answer, and that Christ is able to lead us through even the darkest seasons and into the light. 

Second, if you have a family member or loved one who has these questions, please don’t hesitate to connect them to me or someone who can help them deal with their emotions and questions. 

I have had friends commit suicide. It is a hard thing to handle, and it raises a lot of questions about God, death and judgment. In every suicide situation I’ve ever been around, this question pops up, and with good reason. Most of us have heard people say or imply that a person who commits suicide is going to hell. Interestingly, that doesn’t come from Scripture itself, but from one particular school of thought in church history. Yet even in church history, there are a wide range of thoughts on suicide that have been popular at different times or in different cultures. One rule that I try to follow in theological matters is to start with Scripture itself and work my way towards today’s culture and questions. Here, I hope to model that for you. 

There are not a lot of suicide-specific passages of Scripture in the Bible. There are six suicides in the Bible (Saul, Samson and Judas being the most noted accounts), and none of these people are said to have been eternally condemned or pardoned based on their suicide. We know that suicide is self-murder, and murder is clearly a sin. However, murder is not an unforgivable sin, and there is little if no real basis for thinking of suicide as some form of unforgivable sin. According to Matthew 12:31, the only unforgivable sin is the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit, which is not suicide, but an out-right rejection of the grace and leading of God. Some people claim it as damnable because a person could not repent of it before they died, but it is likely that every person who has ever died has had sins that were not confessed, maybe even not even realized, so unconfessed sin or a lack of repentance cannot be the grounds for which we see suicide as a one-way ticket to hell.

The more we read Scripture, the more we will see that a person’s eternity is wrapped into their decision or lack of decision to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ for salvatiom. This is something that 1. we cannot truly judge for anyone else, and 2. cannot be affirmed or denied by their choice to end their life. The eternal destination of a person who commits suicide has to do with their life decisions and faith in Christ- and that must be looked at with care and much humility. The best guesses we can make, based on testimony, fruit, etc… are just that, and we have to conclude that the act of committing suicide is no way to determine the eternal status of someone. It is an atrocity, a sin that need not ever be chosen, but like all sin, can find forgiveness in the cross of Christ. 

The major point of this, then, should not be to justify future sin, especially the sin of suicide. The good news of the gospel is that Jesus is able to forgive sin, but not only that- he breaks the power of sin over us. We no longer have to choose sin, but instead can choose Christ’s best through the power of the Holy Spirit. Suicide, just like any other sin, is not only the wrong moral choice- it should no longer make sense. Sin is something we have been set free from- and Christ in us is able to lead us out of every link and tie we have to sin. Sin should no longer make sense to those of us who have been forgiven and set free from sin. 

If you or someone else is looking at suicide as an option, please reach out and find help. You are not alone, and Christ can lead you through this temptation and into abundant life.

 

(Answer Provided By Drew Causey)

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