SUICIDE (Does It Automatically Mean Condemnation?)

The death of a loved one can be a most detrimental tragedy within the time one is allotted on this earth. Such horrendous heartbreaks can cause even faithful Christians to take a step away from God or abandon their faith completely. The one source of comfort that many of us possess is knowing that we will see them again, that they are in a better place, and that they have finally found peace, but when one is faced with the reality that their loved one might be in place reserved for eternal torment, that comfort of mind vanishes. One must be extremely aware and sensitive when answering questions on suicide.

Can a person kill himself/herself and still be in a favored state with God?

Officially, most all churches understand the nature and consequence of sin. Paul wrote to the church in Thessalonica, “In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thess. 1:8-9). Each and every person must obey all forms of doctrine and offend not in “one point” if they are to be counted worthy to dwell with God (James 2:10). One unrepented sin can keep a person from entering heaven (Matt. 5:18,19).  

I had a friend in college tell me that her greatest regret in life was not taking her brother’s phone call on the night he took his life. She asked me if I thought he was in heaven. In the situation of suicide, only God can fully determine an individual’s state of mind. God is the ultimate Judge, but Christians can show people what the Bible says about suicide. It is usually better to let people see God’s Word for themselves than appear to simply pass judgment on a situation without due consideration.

The followers of God know that we are to be good stewards of our bodies because our bodies belong to God, for we were “bought with a price” (1 Cor. 6:19-20). If a follower of Christ kills himself, that is murder, taking from God that which belongs to Him, and it is sin (1 Tim. 1:9; Rom. 12:1). Furthermore, God commands “thou shall not murder” (Rom. 13:9); a law to all mankind. Murder is any unlawful killing. No one has the God-given authority to murder themselves.

The Bible provides an example of one that took his life, the apostle, Judas. After Judas betrayed Christ, he repented of this and returned the pieces of silver. Even after his repentance, Judas could not forgive himself nor could he bear the remembrance of his actions, so he “hanged himself” (Mat. 27:3-5). Luke was the last to speak of Judas Iscariot in Acts 1:25 saying, “That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” Judas repented of his betrayal, but his suicide remained a transgression of the law. Judas fell from his apostleship and went to his “own place,” a place separate from where the other apostles would dwell, which is heaven. After heaven there is only one other place for Judas to go, eternal torment.

God cannot let sin go unpunished (Heb. 2:2). However, if one allows Christ to take that punishment for them, they will be saved (Rom. 3:23-26). Believing sinners must confess Jesus as Lord (Rom. 10:9), repent and be baptized (Acts 2:38) that their sins might be washed away in the blood of Christ (Acts 22:16; Rev. 1:5). For those already Christians, repentance can only be done if they confess, ask for forgiveness, and turn away from that sin (1 John 1:7-2:5). Individuals that are dead cannot ask for forgiveness and turn away from their sins. One that commits a sin and does not repent (i.e., to seek forgiveness of that sin) will face what Paul mentions in 2 Thessalonians 1:8-9.

The question is, will God hold one accountable for murder if he/she is mentally impaired? One is not held accountable to sin if they do not have the mental capability to understand and “know” right from wrong (James 4:17; John 9:41). It is possible for one to commit suicide in a right state of mind; this was the situation with Judas. However, the state of mind can only be truly known by God, and we must allow Him to make the just and final judgment (2 Tim. 4:8). Trust in the judgment of God. It should also be remembered that suicide can only bring pain and suffering to those involved. Suicide is never the solution to a problem. In times of sorrow, a community should pull together to comfort the grieving, and those that suffer from the dreadful action of suicide.

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