What Is God’s Response to Suicide?

griefI have heard this question asked on more than just a few occasions.  It is not a subject that I have taken lightly, and have given it some serious consideration.  I don’t believe that it is as black and white as some make it out to be.  That is because I don’t believe that the Bible deals directly with the topic. And, when the Bible doesn’t deal directly with a topic, we usually end up conjecturing to reach a conclusion.  This should always make us cautious in our conclusions.

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.  Because their life has ended, they’re left with 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 it would be for a pastor who has led a godly life, but is T-boned at an intersection while he is breaking the speed limit law.  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 if he were killed?  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 soldier 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 may not be construed as sinful).  Suicide is also a very unloving act.  It causes extreme pain for those left behind.  It is in all accounts a selfish and unloving act.  A true sin.

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.  Or, they believe that every sin must be confessed to be forgiven.  Think about that one for a moment.  Have you have named every sin before God?  Are there any that you’ve missed?

I see God differently.  I believe that Scripture portrays God as Someone 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, God is defined 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.  This kind of God would be a God who is looking for any reason to save them, not destroy them.

Probably in most cases of suicide, the person who took their own life was not in their best mind at the time. They were not thinking clearly.  Their reasoning was lacking.  I believe God knows this and takes it into consideration. Yes, He is a God who must judge.  But, His judgements are fair and true.  His judgments are executed by a God who loves.

In summary, I cannot say for certain if a person who committed suicide is judged differently by God than someone else.  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).  We who are left behind must do what the suicide victim has not done: we must keep our eyes fixed upon Jesus and trust Him for His grace.  If we fail to do these things than in a sense we are doing no better than the one who has hurt us by suicide.

Eyes on Him.





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