In the U.S each year, about one million people attempt suicide. Tragically, about one in fifteen succeed. That number of attempts has doubled in the last 10 years. There’s a lot of hurting people.
I just want to say first of all, is that I’m going to try to answer this, and I want to do it as compassionately as I can, because there are many of you who have experienced loss, someone that you love. My heart breaks for you. Some of you may be at a place where you feel like the world is so dark, you’ve actually thought about that maybe in the past, or even contemplated recently of taking your own life.
As a pastor, to officiate at one funeral of a suicide is too many. I’ve attended or officiated at too many. Each time, it’s the most gut-wrenching thing you could ever imagine. So, it’s with an understanding of what many of you have experienced that I will try to answer this question.
Some Biblical examples, just in case you want to research kind of what happened in the Bible. There’s several; Judges, Chapter 9, shows one time when a guy named Abimelech asked his armor bearer to kill him. That would probably qualify as suicide. Saul, in the Old Testament, when he was mortally wounded, fell on his own sword. Again, that probably would qualify as suicide. In the New Testament, Judas, after he betrayed Christ, went out and took his life, unable to handle what he did.
What happens to someone when they commit suicide eternally? While the Bible doesn’t say directly, here’s what happens. Those who say unquestionably, if someone commits suicide they go to hell, they’ll often use 1 John 3:15, the Bible says:
Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him.
They’ll say taking your own life is obviously murder, so therefore you will not go to heaven. It’s interesting though, if you think about Samson, you may remember in the Old Testament you can read about him. He took his own life, admittedly trying to take out the enemy, the Philistines. But, he’s listed in the chapter of faith, Hebrews Chapter 11; implying most likely, that even though he did take his life he would spend eternity in heaven.
Here’s my take. Romans, Chapter 5:1 says this:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand.
I see only one sin in the Bible which is unforgivable. That is the unpardonable sin, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 12:31), which is an ongoing un-repentance. I believe that is a different sin than taking your own life. I do believe that taking your life is unquestionably a sin, it’s also one of the most selfish things that you can do. It is my hope that just as all other sin is forgivable, that this one is as well. It is my guess that a Christian who takes his life can be forgiven. But, I say that with more caution than you could ever imagine; because I beg you, never, ever use that as a justification or to rationalize a decision as such. I would never risk my eternal destination based on a dark moment. I believe there are people who can be under severe demonic attack, demonic oppression, maybe they are chemically imbalanced, maybe they are at a very dark place and in a moment of panic and sheer fear of thinking life will never, ever get better; they make a sinful, a stupid and a selfish decision. It is my hope that God has grace through His Son, and I believe He does, to forgive them. But I will tell you, if you ever contemplate suicide, it is never the answer. You will leave a wake of more pain than you can possibly comprehend. There is always hope.
If you are considering this, I want you to tell somebody today. Call the suicide hotline 24/7 the number is 1-800-273-8255. I want you to tell Christ, I want you to call on Him. There is always help in Christ, there is always healing in Christ, there is always forgiveness in Christ, there is always love in Christ. Call on Christ, call on His people and let them comfort you in this time.
For more about the series, Things that Make You Go Hmm, go to www.RidgeFellowship.com