The Bible and Suicide

Suicide is the deliberate act of ending one’s own life. Suicide is self-murder.

The reason for violating God’s command against murder (Exodus 20:13), as well as the mental health of the suicide victim, both raise serious questions of responsibility and accountability.

The specific instances of suicide recorded in Scripture—Saul and his armor bearer (1 Samuel 31:4,5), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:5)—all seem to have sad spiritual as well as physical ends.

Some have called Samson’s death a heroic suicide, but it seems more likely that his death was the unavoidable result of his heroic action against the pagan Philistines (Judges 16:28-31).

And Scripture says clearly that those redeemed by God have been forgiven for all their sins–past, present, and future (Colossians 2:13-14).

Paul says in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

So if a true Christian would commit suicide in a time of extreme weakness, he or she would be received into heaven (Jude 24).

A Christian, with the help of the Holy Spirit, should be able to cope with the stresses that sometimes lead to suicide. But we must exercise caution in declaring that all persons who commit suicide are eternally lost.

But we rightly question the faith of those who take their lives or even consider it seriously–it may well be that they have never been truly saved.

I say that because God’s children are defined repeatedly in Scripture as those who have hope (Acts 24:15; Romans 5:2-5, 8:24; 2 Corinthians 1:10, etc.) and purpose in life (Luke 9:23-25; Romans 8:28; Colossians 1:29).

And those who think of committing suicide do so because they have neither hope nor purpose in their lives. Furthermore, one who repeatedly considers suicide is practicing sin in his heart (Proverbs 23:7), and 1 John 3:9 says that “no one who is born of God practices sin.”

And finally, suicide is often the ultimate evidence of a heart that rejects the lordship of Jesus Christ, because it is an act where the sinner is taking his life into his own hands completely rather than submitting to God’s will for it.

Concerns

A suicide has an enormous impact on the immediate family and on society. The bereaved suffer catastrophic feelings of guilt for supposed neglect which allowed the suicide to happen. This pain is compounded by normal concerns about the eternal destiny of the suicide victim.

Family members should leave the matter of eternal destiny in the hands of the Lord. He alone knows the thoughts and intent of the heart as well as the mental condition of the victim at the time of the suicide.