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.