Skip to comments.Do Those Who Commit Suicide Go to Heaven?
Posted on 04/09/2013 1:22:06 PM PDT by SeekAndFind
"I'm sitting here with a loaded shotgun. I want my family back or I pull the trigger," Al* threatened over the phone. "And don't call the cops. I'll kill them before I let them put me in some institution."
What could I say to this troubled parishioner? His wife and son had left him, he had been demoted at work, and he felt the church was unsupportive of him.
"Well, God loves you and I love you."
"Yah, yah. But if I commit suicide, I'll go to hell! Right?"
Al's question brought up the age-old question: Do Christians who commit suicide go to heaven or hell? In second grade, my Sunday school teacher had hanged herself. "How could someone who led her class in singing 'Happiness is the Lord' be so sad?" I had questioned.
My questions continued into my adult life and ministry as
I talked with survivors of suicide attempts and read actual notes left by those claiming to be Christians who succeeded. For instance, sixteen-year-old Matt left the following note before ending his life with a .22 rifle:
You that heard me preach saw how God changed my life. He can change yours too!! When he does, you better not turn back. Discipline yourselves now!! Draw near to God through Jesus Christ now!!! If you don't . . . you may some day find yourselves hopeless. It's your choice.
GOD FORGIVE ME FOR NEGLECTING YOU AND FOR BECOMING SO COLD!! TAKE CARE OF MICHAEL AND MOM. HAVE MERCY ON MY SOUL. AMEN."
And then a barrage of questions from Genny, a once bright, intelligent Christian women who since heart failure had become mentally impaired-and was well aware of her disability. Genny repeatedly tried to overdose with her heart medication. "Why didn't God just take me when my heart failed? I want to go home to be with Jesus."
I've come to two conclusions as I've dealt with questions of Al, Matt, Genny, and others:
Christians are not exempt from depression and, at times, despondency.
William Cowper, who wrote the popular gospel song "There Is a Fountain" proclaiming Christ's forgiveness and love, repeatedly attempted suicide. Even saints like Moses, Elijah, and Jonah went through periods of extreme depression and, yes, suicidal thoughts (Numbers 11:10-15, 1 Kings 19:1-5, and Jonah 4:9). I half joke that I would have committed suicide during junior high, but I knew if
I did, my parents would kill me. (The first part of that sentence is no joke.)
I believe the Bible is clear that we go to heaven or hell based on our relationship to Jesus Christ.
Yes, suicide raises many spiritual and psychological questions, but one thing is certain:
God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can't take credit for this; it is a gift from God.
Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it (Ephesians 2:8-9). We obtain heaven only by our belief in Jesus Christ as our Savior. And we go to hell only by our rejection of Jesus Christ as our Savior (Hebrews 6:4-6).
After nearly an hour, Al finally agreed to unload his weapon and meet his wife and son at the local police station. He has since been reconciled with his wife and found a church where he feels more accepted.
While I still fear the midnight calls from those contemplating suicide, I am assured that God dearly loves those who feel so depressed and desperate, and He will judge their actions with His mercy and justice based on their relationship with His Son.
* All names have been changed.
-- James Watkins is the author of 16 books and a public speaker. His website is: http://www.jameswatkins.com/
RE: Suppose that willingly taking your own life is, in fact, self-murder or suicide. Does that not also mean the soldier who falls upon a live grenade has willingly ended his own life? Entering into any act, for a noble cause or deed, knowing your life will end, is by definition, suicide.
Maybe we ought to remind ourselves that Jesus Christ Himself, although He could have avoided it, willingly laid down His life on the cross for us.
You wouldn’t call that a suicidal mission would you?
OK, I didn’t want to misunderstand ... It’s not an easy question to answer at all ...
If I do kill myself, have I really accepted Jesus ?
I have accepted Christ as my Savior also, but sadly, I continue to sin. Does that sin mean that I didn’t really accept Christ? I think not. Has anyone led a sinless life even after salvation? I say no, except perhaps the person who is struck by lightning immediately after his prayer of salvation.
At some point, however, it is fair to question whether one really accepted Christ if sin continues unabated. When that is is far above my pay grade.
The best we can do is the best we can do, asking God for grace to overcome sin.
I use the analogy of love’s existence as an argument about God’s existence. The common refrain of non-believers is that since we cannot prove God exists, he does not.
I ask if there is anything that exists that one cannot prove (with evidence acceptable the person). I sometimes ask what proof would be sufficient for them of the existence of God.
I then ask, “Does love exist?” Few would say no. “How do you prove love exists?” The kinds of proof they suggest are almost exactly the same kinds of proof of the existence of God...
“and God knows your intent, right/”
Yes, God is omniscient.
I am not sure I agree with that. I am struggling with the concept of omniscience vs. free will, and the definition of omniscience. Can God know that which is unknowable? If not, is He not omniscient? For example, God cannot know the eye color of my third child— because I have no third child. That does not make God less than omniscient.
If God gave us free will, He could have created us so that even He cannot predict what we will do. Kind of like a young child before whom a piece of candy is placed. We have a good idea of what he is likely to do, but we do not know for sure.
Anyway, my tangled thinking...
Does it make sense that you could be punished for eternity, for something you did or didn’t do or believe in, for a mere 75-80yrs here on earth?
That’s one of the reasons why I believe it’s all relative...
I would say that while I may believe it, I do not KNOW it.
We need the concept of freewill to be able to make laws and have functioning societies.
Foreknowing is not the same as predestination. God knew every moment and decision of our lives since the beginning if time.
A good way to look at this is a hypothetical visit to a cemetery. As we walk through it we see the evidence of lives lived sequentially. If we begin in the oldest section of the cemetery can see the headstone of a person born in 1750 and dying in 1825. A little further on we will see the gravestone of person born in 1830 and dying in 1900. Newer still we will see that of a person born in 1904 and dying in 1985. In the newest section we will see the grave of someone we actually knew, born in 1935 and dying in 2013.
God, existing out of time, would see that same graveyard as though from an airplane, seeing all of the graves from above at the same time.
Unknowable is inconsistent with omniscient. All of creation is the result of a thought from God, He is the Creator.
Peace be with you
No, quite the opposite...I think he protects our salvation sometimes even in spite of ourselves. I guess I didn't make myself clear....
Can believers commit suicide...? Yes. Are they eternally damned if they do? I think not.
Yet, there are Christian circles that teach quite the opposite....
I understand your position, but I am not sure I agree with it. God is omnipotent as well as omniscient. He created us “in His image” as well. God certainly could have made us with true free will such that He would not know how we might use that free will.
I believe that God made us for Him and His pleasure. Much like our children, He delights in the good things we do, such as praising and worshipping Him. Again, this is my belief. I don’t so that you are wrong, because we are in the realm of faith, each doing the best we can.
Thanks. I understand.
It is a difficult subject and I am mostly asking questions.
I am not far away nor too long ago from a dark place.
you good folks are helping to put clarity into cloudy.
Does God know what people will do before they are conceived?
Everything is known by God. Our freewill is God given. Our entire lives are foreknown, not predestined.
Peace be with you
Why do you think God creates people that He knows will commit suicide?
I see you didn’t reply.......
A lot of freepers don’t, because they really can’t, and are unable to admit it.
I'd just like a response....
As I am interested in other thoughts........