Christians and Suicide: Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?

Christians and Suicide: Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?3 min read

Christians commit suicide. It’s a tragic fact. But those who are left behind when their loved one commits suicide are haunted with this question: Is suicide the unpardonable sin?

A Fatal Disease

Recently, when I read the sad story of a successful Christian evangelist who committed suicide, I struggled with this question. Those who knew him, knew him as a kind, caring man who loved Jesus. He traveled the world telling his story of how God had saved his life as a teenager and pulled him out of a life of crime. He shared the words of the Bible that had given his life meaning. Thousands responded by choosing to give their hearts to God.

Would God condemn such a person to eternal death?

This man suffered from a severe mental illness. In a moment of insanity-driven despair, this man took his life.

Like other organs in our body, the brain can become diseased. When the brain becomes diseased, it can confuse our thinking and lead to irrational decisions.

An Unacceptable Solution

God doesn’t condone suicide. Suicide is never an acceptable solution to any problem. In the 10 Commandments, God explicitly prohibits murder. Suicide is self-murder. But murder–and for that matter, suicide–is no greater a sin than breaking any of God’s 10 commandments.

As lawbreakers, every one of us is guilty and without hope if we’re relying on our own efforts–or sinlessness–to save us from eternal death.

Before we even know what we’ve done, we’ve crossed the line.

The virus of sin has already infected us.

The Wages of Sin

We’re inclined to look at suicide as different from other sins, as if suicide is in some way unpardonable.

The only unpardonable sin is our persistent, willful rejection of the light of truth, in favor of the darkness of lies–Jesus called it blaspheming the Holy Spirit.

Many of us are committing suicide daily, although slowly, by the way we live our lives. We make lifestyle choices that take days–or years–off our lives by what we eat, by sitting too much, by not exercising enough, or by the radiation and chemicals we choose to expose ourselves too.

I suspect that if God were to have more mercy for some, than others, he’d have more mercy for those who commit suicide in a state of disease-induced insanity, than for those who knowingly abuse their bodies to death.

If suicide is unpardonable, then there is no hope for anyone.

Jesus’ friend Paul said it well:

For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23).

Whether the sin appears from our perspective to be relatively innocent, or beyond comprehension, the payback is the same: Death.

Our only hope is in God’s gift.

Have you been touched by the suicide of a friend or family member? How has it affected you? What has helped you move on? With what do you continue to struggle? Leave a comment below.

Photo Credit: Dioboss via Compfight cc

 

Jon Beaty

I'm a counselor, writer and believer in the power of God to help you thrive in your marriage and family. I live with my family, a small herd of Boer goats, and thousands of honeybees near Portland, Oregon.

  • Mike says:

    Great message on a difficult topic. I had a close family member attempt suicide when i was a child. Living with the feeling of abandonment led to many years of anger and angst. It wasn’t until God opened my eyes to His truth and the extravagance of HIs love and forgiveness, that I was able to move past the experience and forgive.

  • Colleen says:

    You are brave to tackle this subject but I bet it is one that all christians wonder about. I too have been touched by family and friends who committed suicide. I was taught in church that suicide was an unpardonable sin. Dealing with this I thought how could a loving God turn his back on a tortured mind that led them to a point of not being able to make “normal” decisions. You may debate normal, but in all my thinking round and round it always returns to the fact that the person who commits suicide is in a psychotic – dissassociative state which is not normal. I cannot believe a loving God would turn away from someone who has had a relationship with Christ – and yet takes his own life. Can you tell I still am in the process of dealing with it? I am such a concrete, black/white, no grey person and suicide leaves so many unanswered questions. I just have to believe God sees the pain and confusion and psychotic state the person is in who commits suicide. God is Mercy.

    • Jon Beaty says:

      Colleen, Thanks for your comment. It is a difficult issue to think through, but one I felt worth tackling.

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