What about Christians who commit suicide? It may seem like a good choice for a Christian since death really means life with Christ. I don’t believe so, but do Christians who commit suicide lose their salvation/go to hell? it seems like the point of the gospel is that our eternity isn’t determined by a single action except the action or Jesus dying on the cross. I don’t believe this is addressed directly in the Bible but are there examples that could support one view or the other?
Just giving my opinion here. As someone who has considered suicide before I do believe its more of a mental health issue. Something like that is not really something one can control 100% outside of getting help. I don’t know anyone in their right mind when deciding to end their own lives and those who manage to make it out of that dark place they usually say they weren’t in the right mental space. I don’t see in God’s nature him faulting someone for something that was out of their control.
I don’t think you lose your salvation as a Christian but I do think you forfeit the purpose God has for you here on earth. You also forfeit the experience of God’s love and fulfillment. You may even forfeit experiencing helping others who struggled like yourself. Which is what I think the devil wants to begin with. For us Christians to feel our lives are so horrible that they aren’t worth living or doing the work God has for us here on earth.
Hope that helps some
@Sgpage As @Luna said, suicide can be caused by mental illness. In addition, I think we must remember that only God knows the human heart and He will judge justly. It is not as if God goes down a checklist of our actions when He judges us—He judges us based upon an intimate knowledge of our life circumstances, our inner most thoughts, and our relationship with Him.
The only Biblical example, in terms of actual Bible characters, that I can think of is Judas, but that story does not really help us because Judas was likely never a true believer. Saul also took his own life, but he had rejected God as King and we are not in the know on his eternal state.
You may also find these threads helpful. Christ be with you
I think the Biblical evidence is against the idea that Judas was truly a disciple of Christ. He was stealing from the money purse before he ever betrayed Christ. So I think Judas is not an example of a believer who was struggling with mental illness. I think he was never truly walking with Christ - if my understanding of the Biblical text is correct.
John 12:6 - He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
Judas’s remorse was not repentance of sin, as the King James version suggests. Matthew did not use metanoeo, which means a genuine change of mind and will, but metamelomai, which merely connotes regret or sorrow. He did not experience spiritual penitence but only emotional remorse . Although he would not repent of his sin, he could not escape the reality of his guilt. Genuine sorrow for sin (metamelomai) can be prompted by God in order to produce repentance (metanoeo), as Paul declares in 2 Corinthians 7:10. But Judas’s remorse was not prompted by God to lead to repentance but only to guilt and despair. GTY
Mental Health from Rick Warren
Rick Warren’s son took his life and they believe he was a Christian and is with Jesus. You may find some of his material on mental health issues helpful.
Hi Sadie, if you feel comfortable doing so, could you share with us more about what prompted this question?
As a teenager, the topic of suicide is brought up quite frequently whether it be in the news, suicide prevention at school, kids joking about it or someone confiding in another about their struggles.
Thank you for all the resources! It is great for my use and to be able to share with friends interested in this topic
@Sgpage Great Christ grant you wisdom as you continue to study and share His truth.
First, let me affirm what everyone knows: suicide ideation is a very serious state for anyone to be in…believer or non believer.
Only God knows the heart. If we were able to have insight into the individual back story leading up to a person choosing to end their life, each case would likely be quite different…
Let me speak personally from my experience with suicide ideation.
There were many factors at work in my life to bring me to the point of desperately wanting to escape the unbearable inner pain in my mind and heart.
First a bit of background…,
I was born into a very dysfunctional family…
My parents marriage had taken place during the second world war.
My father was a Canadian military man, my mother was an English war bride.
My father loved brutality…He was military police…
My mother was an alcoholic before she reached twenty.
I will spare you the details … other than, by the ripe old age of 15…
I ran away from the abuse and brutality of my father…(which he directed solely toward me.)
Because of his unrelenting violent rages, one day in desperation, I got down on my knees and prayed as an unsaved youth, saying, “Please God, get me out of here.I can’t take any more.)”
(I was spiralling down into deep despair, helplessness and powerlessness. I didn’t know it at the time, but, I was already teetering on the edge of the abyss of mental illness.)
I thought running away would solve the problem of daily violence…(which it did)…but, it opened me up to a host of new ways to experience human depravity.
Fast forward…within two years…I experienced a complete mental /emotional breakdown. It was a mental, emotional, physiological, spiritual state where I felt constantly terrified…I could not escape feelings of out of control terror…
I became a believer in the middle of this breakdown…for I reasoned…
“If there is a God…only God could fix what was so deeply broken inside of me.”
During this time, I was pressured by the elders in the local church where my “common law boyfriend” and I were attending…into marrying the fellow I had been living with.
This fellow had put me through hell…
He had betrayed, used and abused me.
The churches problem solving solution was to insist we get married or stop living together. Only they had no clue what that meant for me.
(I was 17 and was still mentally very unstable.)
It presented 3 very undesirable options…
- It meant returning to my abusive father…
- Or marry this young man, who didn’t love me…and whom I had come to hate because of his sexual promiscuity and because of his physical, emotional, psychological cruelty towards me.
- Or commit myself to a psyche unit.
None of these choices held any hope or gave me something to look forward to. But, because my “boyfriend” had some awareness of the terrible state I was in…I thought marrying him might be the safest choice. (In retrospect, I think it was. A psyche unit would have loaded me up on psychotropic drugs and I would have lost the time to get to know God’s word.)
The good news…God was faithful and revealled Himself to me through His holy word.
The bad news, I was immersed into a culture of “bible believing” people…who didn’t know personally the Love of God in Christ.
Things quickly moved into a cultish group of “Christian” young people within a church of generational “Christians”.
We were married. I started having children…
Having children revealed to me my complete inadequacy for the role of parent…(having never been loved or parented.)
It took about 3 years before I plunged headlong into the depths of despair and self loathing.
My heart, spirit and mind were shattered…completely broken…I was defunct…I sank like a stone in shame and guilt.
My grief was inconsolable for a long time.
The truth is: I cried … I sobbed from overwhelming repressed, suppressed grief…
Along with internalized shame and much false guilt.
I was in this state for 5-7 years…(My spouse wouldn’t let me seek outside psychological or psychiatric help…He said, “If you do that, you will have denied the faith.”)
It was during this time, I seriously contemplated suicide. I couldn’t bear the pain…When I would look into the future…to being 50, 60, 70…(I was in my mid twenties…) all I could see was me living in this terrible state of hopeless despair…(Satan had added …the unforgivable sin to my despair…because I had blasphemous thoughts intruding into my mind.)
Seriously, the weight of possibly never having a sound mind, or of never having the peace of being a saved child of God…brought me wanting to die. (I had a plan…)
I spent so much time on my knees praying as an attempt to keep myself from taking my own life…I developed knee problems.
God was faithful to answer those prayers…
Although it took a long time to bring me to place of sound mental health…(all glory to Him!) (because during the worst of it, I bordered on psychosis … and I was overwhelmed with a form of religious OCD.)
A few things God used to turn my suicidal thinking around…
One was to challenge me with questions or reasoning…
“Would it be okay to take the life of others…those whom you see as being terribly harmful. The people you feel a deep loathing toward because of how destructive they are to your well being?” The answer was no.
Then the Holy Spirit impressed on me… “If it isn’t okay to take their lives…Why would it be justified to take your own life…even if you hate yourself so profoundly?” The Holy Spirit revealed to me in that moment, that suicide was in fact…self homicide.” Changing the language from “suicide” to ”self homicide”, helped me to see it differently. The word homicide…some how placed more value on my life than suicide did.
This radically changed my inclination toward the idea of taking my life…although, it didn’t remove the intense pain, suffering and unresolved grief…
For this, the Holy Spirit…had me wrestle with a deeply buried untruth which I was applying to God. Given my history, I couldn’t help emotionally…viewing God as father who practises favouritism, partially. My biblical mind knew biblical truth…that God is good…but my inner most heart was not truly convinced.
I saw the evidence…some of His children had good things…and I had unbearable suffering. God felt like my abusive father, who didn’t lay a hand on one child and yet, beat the dickens out of another child.
I felt I was that child…the one whom God just couldn’t help himself with…He had an uncontrollable need to vent His anger, rage and disgust on me. While he smiled warmly on those around me.
My conflict came down to…Is God indeed good?
This had to be battled out in my soul with the revealed word of God, the Holy Spirit and my life experience. Which was I going to believe more…God’s self revelation or my experience.
In the end, God in His grace helped me to see, the truth of where despair was leading me (self homicide) and what might come, if I believed that even this horrible mental / emotional torment…was not outside of His control.
By God’s grace, I came to settle on …”If God is all good…then, even this terrible mental health crisis must have a purpose for good.” From there, I started to see a tiny dot of light at the end of the tunnel.
It took a number of years…during which I went against my spouse’s ban of seeking outside help… (eventually, I had to leave the marriage because it was impossible for me to be free from despair while in relationship with him.) (He used the word of God and an obsession with sound doctrine…to hide from God. His faith was not about being truly saved from the power of sin…or about transformation from the inside out.)
My story and testimony is this:
- “God can save to the uttermost those who come to Him through Jesus Christ.“
- “Seek and you shall find, knock and the door will be opened to you, ask and it shall be give.”
- “Men ought always to pray and not to faint (despair).”
- “ For without faith it is impossible to please God…for those who come to God must believe that He is and that He is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”
In closing…let me say…
The enemy (Satan) was hard at work during all those years of despair…
He was active in distorting my thinking … taking advantage of my ignorance of God’s word…and of my bitter life experiences.
Satan wanted to take me out… and in his supreme subtlety, he would use my own hands to accomplish his purpose.
He deceived me into thinking, I would be doing those I love a big favour by ending my life…because “look at the suffering I am causing them by my existence.”
The truth is: untold suffering would have been passed on to others had he succeeded in his plan to have me destroy myself.
Years down the road…a friend tried to take her life…she was unsuccessful.
I can’t remember if she called me or if I called her…but, she was planning another attempt which she said “would not fail”.
I talked with her for a long time…none of it was a biblical
I traveled back down into that deep dark hole with her. That terrible place, where I had lived for many years…
When we got to her bottom …
We examined and talked about distorted reasoning.
Those rationalizations to do something terrible…because it makes perfect sense when you are in a place of hopeless despair. Like I had believed in my despair, she also believed ending her life would be the right and best solution.
By God’s grace…I applied some of God’s logic, wisdom and grace to her reasons for believing ending her life would be justified.
It was while this was going on, the Holy Spirit whispered quietly into my heart…”Remember when you asked me over and over…”Why? Why me, God? Why is my heart and mind so terribly broken and others are not?”
…”This is the reason why. This soul, this child of mine…is the reason why I needed you to suffer, to wrestle with despair and hopelessness. Since you know what it’s like to be tempted toward self homicide…you also know what can help this broken heart and spirit. Because of what you experienced, you can be totally honest and integral in saying to her, you found me faithful to you, in the midst of all the crazy making stuff, which made absolutely no sense to you at the time.”
I hope sharing my experience proves helpful to someone who struggles to understand the temptation to suicide … or someone who is wanting a personal answer for the reality of God’s reasons for suffering and pain in the life of a believer.
God is good. He indeed, “works all things together for the good of those who are called accorded to His purpose.”
Dear Billie (@Billie) ,
It’s a miracle to know the life you had to endure and wholeheartedly be able to say, “God is good”. May God continue to use your story mightily to bless many hurting souls. THANK YOU for sharing your heart. God bless you.
All praise, honour and glory goes to God…who is alone worthy!
I know without any doubt that God delivered me from a place (sadly) very few people survive…
I truly owe all to Him for providing salvation in Jesus…
and for bringing me through the hell of a broken mind, heart and spirit…
It is my hope that others will look to Him and experience so great a salvation.
By way of caution, all believers need to take mental illness seriously.
Especially those who are in positions of Christian leadership.
My state was worsened by those in the church who were ignorant or unbelieving that Christians could suffer from mental illness. If I had of got the help I needed earlier, things would never have progressed to the point they did.
(But, all these factors were in the hand of a Sovereign God for His divine purposes in my life.)
I just don’t want people to think that what happened to me in the context of the body of Christ was okay. It wasn’t.
What a painful, beautiful, gut-wrenching, amazing testimony of the love of God for you and the pursuit of God to you. Only in His economy do we start with tribulation and end up with hope (Romans 5.3-5) or find that He has bestowed a crown of beauty where once there were ashes and the garment of praise to replace a spirit of despair. (Isaiah 61.3)
Your testimony has ministered to me and I thank you for sharing.
All glory be to Jesus…
May he minister to your heart…
and “provide all that you need for life and godliness”.
I am grateful to have the hope in Christ that I do…
As Paul said, Christ showed mercy, to him as a chief among sinners…so, others might have hope!
Dear Billie and Lakshmi
Thanks for your input. Billie. I want to read your post again. I am at my daughters and under pressure to join them but have so much to say on the subject. I just don’t know if I have the time or the freedom to write from personal experience to the subject. I have wondered about writing a book on the subject as it is so misunderstood. I usually leave the subject alone but seeing and knowing you two, I was drawn into the topic but vacillate on whether to dive in or sit on the sidelines.