Suicide due to mental illness

Hi all, would like to know what is the biblical stand with regards to death due to suicide with underlying mental condition such as clinical depression. Would he still go to heaven?

Appreciate your replies. Or if there’s any past discussion about this, would be glad if you can share the links. Thank you. God bless!

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Great question @Sherilyn

I do not think such a person can make heaven. I don’t also think that clinical depression is the worst case of mental illness or insanity. In such a case, the life lived before the depression and what is the motivating factor for suicide can help us in our judgment. Because I don’t also think that every case of clinical depression leads to suicide.

I hope I am no off the point here… I am interested in the question and will like to learn more.
Thanks for your contributions
Grace

@WorshipGod, if I understand you correctly a person that commits suicide while struggling with depression will not go to heaven.
If that is the case I question this.
My wife suffers from a number of mental illness diagnoses. For three years she pleaded with me to let her go so she could take her life. Fortunately, she is still here and never did take her life.
I also had one year where I went to six funerals of friends or sons of friends that did take their life.
Two where biker friends, I do not know if they were Christians or not only the Lord knows. The other four were Christians and had been very active in the church. I do not believe for a second that they did not go to heaven.
What about the pastor that just recently took his life?
For me if they had Jesus as Lord and Saviour of their life then I am sure they are with the Lord.
I have been dealing with my wife’s illness since an accident in September of 2000.
She did not ask for this and has been hospitalized numerous times due to major breakdowns.
I struggle that the Lord would reject one that is not in their right mind.

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I sense that this is a question about someone close to you. If my sense is accurate I feel bad and wish you peace.

Personally, I cannot ever judge the God of the universe and his ultimate judgement except to say that if one has gifted salvation I don’t think anything or anyone can pluck that person from the promises of God. John 10:27-30.

Ravi addresses the subject as well. https://youtu.be/7JGFrcCS2ps

There are some really good threads to peruse on this issue. For example: Suicide, depression.

God-bless you. May the Holy Spirit provide responses that soothe you and that provide wisdom so that you may help others when this query reads itself again.

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The bible is pretty silent on this. But I do believe God no more punishes someone with mental illness no more than a blind man or someone born without limbs. You can be born with a chemical imbalance or go through such trauma that one comes about. These are things out of one’s control and a lot of people go undiagnosed.

I believe believers in Christ who suffer from this go to heaven but forfit some rewards because they ended their life early. Unbelievers I’m not so sure about. Because if they have a mental illness that causes them not to be able to know what’s real and what isn’t I can’t say for sure if they are an unbeliever because of rejection of Christ or their lack of sense of what’s real.

I could be wrong which is why it’s important to always try to help people you know are struggling and learn more about mental illness so you can be there for others. It’s hard to accept that you have a problem and other times it’s hard to even realize you have a problem when its in your mind. It feels embarrassing and makes you feel helpless.

I believe God knows the heart of the individual and I trust he will judge righteously. God is love and has compassion on those who are hurt, confused, and broken. Each case of suicide while horrible I do believe is in the best hands by being in God’s hands of what happens to that person after death. Trust God is doing what he does best and has always done, which is be God.

I pray this helps some :pray:

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Hi @CharlesDavid

I must say that I am grateful for your KIND RESPONSE. I Am so sorry that you are going through this hard times at the moment. I earnestly pray that God will cause this Storm to pass away and also leave you, your Wife and family ever stronger in Christ Jesus.

I resonate with your standpoint on this and I trust that you find answers in God through this community as well.

May the Grace and blessings of the Lord Jesus Christ be YOURS always.
AMEN.

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Hi Keldon, thanks for the links on suicide and depression but the thread did not answer my question… will watch Ravi’s video.

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Thanks Luna for your reply. How about Judas, one of Jesus’s apostles? Can we take that as reference? Don’t know if he got mental illness but he took his own life.

@Sherilyn Great question :slight_smile: I agree with @Luna that we have to be careful about trying to determine someone’s eternal state. Only God knows the heart of each individual and we can trust that He will do what is good and true and just.

You might find the following thread on mental health issues helpful. Christians can and do struggle with depression. Also, when this issue comes up I think it is helpful to remember that the Bible is not clear on the fate of those who choose to reject God - there are multiple views of the topic of ‘hell’ within historic Christianity. So simply because someone is not in the New Creation with Christ does not necessarily mean that they are suffering somewhere else - they may cease to exist or, in one view, be on a journey leading them towards repentance.

I’ve also included some notes on Judas below that I hope are helpful.

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.

Regarding Judas

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.

https://www.gty.org/library/bibleqnas-library/QA0115/did-judas-repent

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Bottom line:

Suicide is (likely) a sin.
We are all sinners. Suicide is just another sin.

Jesus came for us sinners, to forgive sins of all kind, all shape, all ‘reason.’

Nowhere in the Bible is suicide mentioned as special, so it would be forgiven like any other sin if the individual has put their hope in Jesus.

The ‘suicide=hell’ system is a holdover from older Roman Catholic pronouncements based in law and politics, and has no anchor in the Bible.

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Hi, @Sherilyn. This is an age-old question, and if it is one that comes from losing someone close to you to suicide, I am so very sorry. :pensive: Others may be reading this thread because they also have been parted from loved ones this way. I cannot imagine the torment endured either by the one who chooses to end his/her own life or those left behind.

I will echo what a couple of others have said:

  1. Only God knows…He alone judges; He alone is both completely just and merciful.
  2. We can only speculate. …And, oftentimes, that speculation is not helpful.

Similar to what @EvoFaith articulated, I do not see how suicide is the ‘unforgivable sin’ (Matthew 12:30-32). As I understand that concept, suicide could be a part of an overall ‘unforgivable sin’, but, in and of itself, it is not. You mentioned Judas… he is a complicated character, but I would argue that his main sin was not that he committed suicide; it was his overall posture towards Jesus.

How have you, @Sherilyn, understood the act? Is there some teaching on it that you’ve heard that doesn’t sit well with you?

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I do not believe a true believer in Christ would lose his salvation because he or she committed suicide. Christ’s death covered all of our sins, past, present, and future. There is no sin that the blood of the Infinite Son of God cannot cover for those who trust in Him.

Yes, I know that there is the unpardonable blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, but that sin cannot be committed by a true believer because it is the intentional and knowing rejection of God.

To be sure, suicide is a serious sin as it is a direct attack on God’s image. However, there are many sins that are direct attacks against God’s image that God pardons. Scratch many - all sins of true believers are pardoned. I think our focus should be on the Savior who covers our sin and not the sin itself.

Now I do think the suicide question is a good one and very troubling to those family members and friends who survive, because you do wonder more than anything if the person who took their life was a true believer. It is heart wrenching. It is hard to reconcile. I know that I am a true believer in Christ, but sometimes I knowingly and with evil intent sin. I find my sins heart wrenching and hard to reconcile. Isn’t my sin in the same category as one who commits suicide? But you know what, my Father takes me in His arms and loves me anyway.

I have known several people who committed suicide and others who have contemplated suicide. One taught Sunday school to the children before I would arrive to teach catechism. I believe she is in heaven. She made a bad choice, but God superintends over our bad choices. That’s what He does. We sin and He forgives. He is really good at forgiving. He has been forgiving for a long time.

My understanding that the desire to take your own life is an intense and usually brief desire that if you hold out, will pass. Isn’t that the experience of all sin? I think there may be people who struggle with the sin of suicide, just like some struggle with drug addiction or anger or pornography. All of us probably struggle with besetting sins. We just need to run to our Father. He knows us. He is there for us.

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Ravi actually addresses this question in today’s Just Thinking podcast. Definitely worth checking out.

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Thanks Kathleen for your reply. Yes, I have a close relative who almost jump off from 33rd storey building. Yes, the recent death of a pastor from Harvest church. The stand of their senior pastor is kinda misleading to me.

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Could you articulate what Harvest’s senior pastor’s stance is? I’d be curious to know how he has approached the event and how it’s misleading to you. :slight_smile:

As @EvoFaith mentioned, Ravi is asked this question in a Q&A. It’s the 3rd question asked…about 2/3 the way though the podcast.

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Suicide is deeply rooted problem and only God has the power to judge their hearts through the illness. Our job is to love and care for each person and to let them know that Jesus is the only one who can forgive and reconcile our sin.

On this topic I have a different take on mental health. I’m active duty military and each branch is really struggling with this issue, because of this I have been giving it a lot of thought.

Can long term contradictory worldviews cause clinical depression? I ask because the majority of people I talk with don’t believe in God nor have any rational reason for hope, yet they complain about being hopeless, is this correlation or causation or coincidence? With being in the military I can’t come out and tell them about Jesus but I can kindly clear the bushes see results of their worldview and pray they ask about where my joy comes from.

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I am curious how you make the judgment that one who commits suicide would not ‘make heaven’? How is suicide a disqualifier?

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It derives from older Catholic teachings and Papal doctrines on suicide and so-called “mortal sins.” JPII softened that tone a bit without really walking it back, so current doctrine is muddy.

In essence, sin must be repented before you can be saved. ALL sin of an individual. If one dies by suicide, they died having not repented of the sin, and thus dies in a state of unrepentant sin. So they go to hell.

Essentially it’s a rather logical conclusion of a works based salvation foundation that used to severely minimize the force of grace based salvation.
JPII’s pronouncement:
http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

Not that I agree, of course, just the argument I’m familiar with.

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Hi Kathleen, here’s the link from youtube (https://youtu.be/JStEEqgR_7g) from his service on that day it happened.

He said, “He put his faith in Christ and that is why I believe right now he is in the presence of the Lord in heaven.”

I juz could not reconcile… how could a person who committed self-murder can be with the Lord when the act of killing is irreversible that the moment you die, you don’t even have the chance to repent? Kinda true repentance (180 degree turn; metanoia kind of repentance). Was it like holding a gun pointed on my head pulling the trigger while praying to God at the same time saying sorry asking to forgive me for shooting myself? Im done im dead, how can i repent for this?

He also said, “One dark moment in a Christian life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross.” There is no doubt or question about the salvation of Jesus, what is doubtful is how the person lived his life and if he has finished the race. Where was the deliverance in his life, the manifestation of the power of Jesus as the healer and multitude power of the Holy Spirit?

There seems something missing in his sermon, there’s another side of the coin besides love and grace, there’s wrath and judgment of God.

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Thanks @Sherilyn for opening up conversation with such a real question that many may be afraid to discuss. I have had loved ones who took their lives, and the holes and questions it leaves are just awful.

The compelling question I have is do you believe you have evidence via the Bible that says if you miss repenting a single sin before you die, then you will not go to heaven? I cannot imagine I’ll live perfectly every moment, but I also feel that the Bible does not support the viewpoint that any unconfessed sins before death nullifies my eternity with Christ. Maybe you don’t either? So then how do we begin drawing lines of what is passible and what is not?

Very curious to see what you think, and thanks again for stepping into this very sensitive yet real question.

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