What Is God’s Response to Suicide?

I have heard this question asked on more than just a few occasions.  It is not a subject that I have taken lightly, and after considering it have reached some conclusions.  However, since the Bible doesn’t seem to directly deal with the topic, it is difficult to say for certain what God’s response would be.  Therefore, I can only share my opinion.  Take it for what it’s worth.

I’ve heard some Christians say something like this: “If suicide is a sin, then a person who is committing suicide is sinning against God.  But because their life has ended they have no opportunity to ask for forgiveness. Therefore, they are dying as an unforgiven person, and would be sent to hell.”

One of the problems that I have with this response is that it assumes that a person falls under the judgment of God if they have committed a sin for which they did not name before God, or seek forgiveness for.  How unfortunate that would be for a pastor who has led a godly life, but is T-boned at an intersection because he is speeding to get to an appointment on time.  Would we assume that because he did not have time to ask for forgiveness for breaking the law that God would throw out a lifetime of walking with Jesus?  This hardly seems like the God of the Bible.

Now, I would agree that suicide is generally a sin.  It is the highest form of selfishness, and it is taking a life that belongs to God alone. (I say it is generally a sin because a solider throwing himself on a hand grenade to save his comrades, or a secret service agent taking a bullet meant for someone else may be considered suicide, but not understood as sinful).

The person who believes that a suicide victim is going to hell because they cannot ask for forgiveness has a different view of God than I do.  Their view seems to suggest that God is looking for any error or loophole on our part to cast someone into judgment.

I believe the exact opposite is true.  I believe that Scripture portrays a God who is patient and generous, and who is looking for every possible reason to save us through Christ!  God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (Ezek. 33:11), but desires all men everywhere to be saved (1 Tim 2:4).

In 1 John 4:8, John defines God as love.  God is love.  As much as we love the people who leave us by suicide, God loves them infinitely more.   As much as we care for them, and have compassion for them, God has far greater care, and compassion – without measure – for them.

In summary, I cannot say for certain what happens to a person who has ended their life by suicide.  However, I believe that God is a fair judge.  He knows and sees all things.  He understands all circumstances, and can take all situations into consideration – far more accurately or fairly than we can.  He also loves more.  I have never lost anyone close to me through suicide, but if I had, I would take comfort in knowing that they have fallen into the hands of a God whose “mercy endures forever” (Psalm 136).