Hello, San, I am new to RZIM Connect and when looking through the posts, I found this one. I see that you posted this a few months ago, so let me first express encouragement in the continued times ahead. I will pray the Holy Spirit continues to shed His love abroad in everyone’s heart and that He will continue to bring the peace that passes understanding. He IS the Comforter. Aren’t we grateful?
My heart was moved by your question. You see, we had a very similar thing happen in my church family four years ago. Reading your account was like reading ours. A valued, loved, wonderful member of our church family – deeply loved by his family and respected in our community – had encountered some very trying times. He also had a history of depression throughout his life – even before he was a Christian. He would reach out to our pastor on numerous occasions when burdens got big, despair would set in, and fear seemed to swallow him. My pastor unfailingly loved him, encouraged him with the Word, and prayed for him fervently – just like you did for your struggling friend. Our whole church stood by him even though we didn’t fully understand the depths of despair he often faced. Our valued church family member fought the good fight against Satan for quite some time. (Let’s call the true enemy out in these situations, right?) Everything seemed like it was going well for him until the day we were shocked to learn he had taken his own life. His family was devastated as well as our whole church family.
And this question of whether someone can still go to Heaven after committing suicide was addressed by our pastor. I’d like to share it with you and anyone else who may read this.
The world is catching up to the realization that there is such a thing as mental illness. We are now just beginning to view it in the same way we view and strive to treat physical illness. Even science has proven that something very different happens to a person’s physical brain when they are struggling with depression and despair.
Proverbs 13:12, I believe, is the key. "Hope deferred makes the heart grow sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life." We know here God is not talking about the physical organ, but the mind and emotions when it says “heart” in this proverb. When people lose hope, they become sad. And the more hope they lose, the darker it can become in their mind and heart. But, when the “something” someone is longing for is fulfilled, there is joy! When people descend into darkness, they are essentially losing their hope that things will ever get better. They believe they’ve messed up too much for things to get better. Then Satan throws them the worst lie – everyone you love will be better off without you. So, mental illness is a sickness just like any other physical sickness, but it is “treated” differently.
Then my pastor made this amazing point – Would we say a believer went to hell because they died of a heart attack, or a stroke, or cancer, or some other physical ailment? Of course not! Why would God see a mental illness any differently?
As Christians, we believe with all our hearts that God’s desire is for everyone to make it to Heaven. If that’s true, and we believe it is, would God make it hard to enter eternity with Him?
“. . . because He did this once for all when He offered up Himself.” Hebrews 7:u5272:
“The Lord is . . . not wanting anyone to perish, but for everyone to come to repentance” 2 Peter 3:clock9:
It does not say " He did this one for all – well, except those that take their own life . . ." OR “. . . but for everyone to come to repentance (except for those who die by their own hand; they can’t be forgiven)”
No, the only unforgivable sin Jesus mentions is that of rejecting the witness of the Holy Spirit and refusing to accept Jesus as Savior and Lord. San, you said your friend was a “strong and very mature Servant of Christ.” Would anyone have doubted his eternal destination if he had died of a heart attack? No. He died of a different kind of sick heart and the Word does talk about it (Proverbs 13:12). I – personally – believe that many of those who were freed of demons by Jesus were people oppressed with mental illness; they just didn’t know what it was like we do today.
I didn’t know your friend, but by your lovely description of him, he was a BELIEVER. He didn’t commit the unpardonable sin. No more than my dear friend did.
I believe, based on what we find in God’s infallible Word, we will see our friends again, and oh what a day of rejoicing that will be!
May waves and waves of comfort and love wash over you and your church family as you walk this journey of healing and peace together in Jesus’ mighty Name!
PS And your initial response to your friend’s family was beautiful, loving, and courageous. Well done.