What Does the Bible Say About Suicide?
by Mercy Aiken
“Do not be a fool–why die before your time?” (Ecclesiastes 7:17b)
Almost everyone would agree that life is the most precious gift that human beings have been given. Just the chance to be alive on this earth and play a part in the grand scheme of God’s eternal plan is a privilege indeed. Yet, despite this, there are times when life becomes so difficult or unbearable that many have, at one time or another, wished they were dead or had never been born. For some, these feelings linger–and if they linger long enough, suicide seems to be the only escape. In fact, in the United States (and stats are similar in countries around the world) the suicide rate has tripled among teen and young adults in the past 40 years.
What does the Bible say about suicide? How does God view it? Do all those who kill themselves go to Hell?
Very few would argue with the fact that suicide is a direct breaking of the Sixth Commandment which is, “You shall not murder.” We are not to murder each other or ourselves. God created human beings in His image and each of us carries within us the potential to overcome the evil in this world, and to rule and reign with Christ in heavenly places. If we are Christians, we no longer belong to ourselves, but to God. We are overseers of our bodies and our lives (which belong to Him), and we are responsible to guard that which has been entrusted to us.
Suicide is a grievous sin that seriously hurts both the heart of God, and those who loved the deceased. The pain of losing a loved one who took their own life is not easily healed, and often isn’t fully healed until Heaven. Whether you are contemplating suicide or know someone who killed themselves, God wants you to know there is hope and life for you. He is the great Healer and Restorer of what has been lost or stolen.
Many of the greatest saints and heroes of the Bible faced overwhelming depression and sometimes wrote that they wished they had never even been born. King David, (Psalm 13:2-4), the prophet Jeremiah, (Jeremiah 20:14-18), and Job, (Job 7:15-16) among others, all reached low points where they despaired of their very lives.
Job says, “So that my soul chooseth strangling, and death rather than my life. I loathe it; I would not live alway: let me alone; for my days are vanity” (Job 7:15-16).
Yet, each one of these men were blessed of God, and persevered through their trials as an example to us. Though they faced great suffering and injustice, they kept their faith in God and His goodness, and in so doing, were sustained and led into abundant life.
Though we may get depressed from time to time, we believe that the act of suicide never takes place apart from demonic influences driving one to take their own life. Suicide is directly counter to the power of life that God has put so strongly into His creation. Everywhere we look we see life growing, even in the most hostile environments. This “survival instinct” is a gift from God. In fact, if He didn’t bestow this gift upon His creation there probably wouldn’t be any life on this planet at all! Suicide, then, is directly contrary to the will of God, and originated in the realm of the demonic host, who come only to “steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). Though demons may try to tempt us to kill ourselves, as Christians we have power over the devil and he cannot push us to do this if we sincerely call on the name of the Lord!
We are all in a spiritual battle. The problem is, many of us are not aware of it, and do not know how to protect ourselves against attack.
Do all those who kill themselves go to Hell?
Some people believe that all who commit suicide go immediately to Hell. However, the Bible never says if this is the case. The Bible is silent on this issue. God probably did not address it in black in white for a good reason. If we knew that we would still go to Heaven if we killed ourselves, there would probably be a lot more suicides taking place than there already are. However, if we knew that all who killed themselves were automatically banished to Hell, no matter what their situation, it may be too much for the grief-stricken family and friends to bear. Murder and suicide are not unpardonable sins. The only unforgivable sins are rejecting Christ (Mark 16:16) and blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
(Mark 3:28-29 KJV) Verily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation:
All other sins can be forgiven. However, anyone contemplating suicide may be in danger of going to Hell, as their relationship with the Lord is not intact at that point. Those who would consider suicide may have a severed relationship with Christ and therefore they would enter the real Hell–which is worse than the hellish feelings they are experiencing at the moment.
It is so important to remember that God judges each of us individually, weighing all the factors of our lives, our beliefs and our motives. Each one of us is so intricate and complex, only God could really judge us in total truth, wisdom, and without favoritism. The most important truth of all, is that each one of us will stand before His throne and give account of our lives. If we lived intimately with this sobering truth, much of the sin in the church and the world, would immediately be stopped.
If you are contemplating suicide and are relying on God’s grace to get you to heaven, PLEASE stop for a moment….God’s grace never means that we have a free license to sin! Those who willfully sin after knowing God’s grace, are in far greater danger than those who know less. Though you may feel that God is far from you right now, He is much nearer than you think. He may even be speaking to you through these words! Please open your ears and hear Him tell you how valuable your life is. You are needed on this earth and the purpose for your life has not yet been fulfilled. God loves you, and so do many people around you! God would not be God if He could not work this situation (no matter how unbearable it may seem) for His glory and for the good in your own life.
Depression is often anger, and a host of other emotions that have turned inward and become frozen. If you are carrying anger, resentment, bitterness, unforgiveness, frustration, jealousy, despair, worthlessness, hopelessness, fearfulness, vengeance and/or self-pity in your heart, you can turn these things over to God and begin to receive your healing right now, in faith. If you don’t know how to let them go, confess it to God and ask for His help in releasing it to Him. No one can overcome these things by themselves. We all need the power of God to set us free from sinful and hopeless ways of thinking. That is why the Bible tells us that we must be “transformed, by the renewing of our mind (Romans 12:2).” The Holy Spirit is the only One who can help us break free and be healed of these deadly emotions.
Just as ailments in our physical body need to be treated with medicine to be healed, the same is true of our emotions. One powerful way to fight against depression, is to apply and confess God’s Word as a healing balm to the places where you have been wounded. For instance, if you have unforgiveness in your heart, begin to confess God’s verses for love and forgiveness, even if they don’t exactly feel true right at the moment. If you feel worthless, confess the Scriptures of God’s great love for you. A rote, mechanical repeating of words may not do much, but if you deliberately take these living words and hold on to them for dear life, you will have the enemy on the run. The devil simply cannot stand against the Word of God spoken in faith. God’s Words are like spiritual antibiotics, destroying every germ and unclean thing in their path.
In closing, we would like to pray with you here. We have written a prayer below, and we encourage you to not only read it, but to say it out loud!
Prayer to God
“Father, in the name of Jesus, I come before You, confessing my need for You, and crying out to you from the bottom of my heart. Lord, You’ve said that you are near to those whose hearts are breaking and that you give grace to the humble. I humble myself before you now…I cast down any pride or self-justification that I would hide behind, and I present myself to you as I truly am–weak and helpless and despairing of my very life. I know there is no other Rock but You, and I turn to You with all of my heart. Father, please forgive my sin! I open myself up to receive Your cleansing, Your healing, Your forgiveness, and Your faith, hope and love into my being. I receive your love as a river, washing over the dry wasteland of my emotions. I see that in Your river there is life, and that every place your river touches in me is revived. I cast all my cares, my sorrows, my disappointments into that river and I let the current of Your spirit carry them far away. I believe You, when You say that You think good thoughts about me, and that Your plans are to give me a future and a hope. I believe You when You say that You knew who I was even before my mother conceived me–and that You wanted me to be alive on the earth right now. Thank you for giving me life! Thank you for working all things in my life for good! Thank you that I can call on your Name and You will be near me. Thank you for bearing all my weaknesses and diseases on the cross, and healing me, spirit, soul and body.”
Command Against Satan
“Satan, I close every door that I have opened to you and I renounce every activity I have partaken with you. In Jesus name, I submit myself to God. I resist you and command you to flee from me, as it is written in James 4:7! I remind you that you are defeated by the power of the cross–and with the authority given to me by Jesus Christ I command you and force you to leave me right now!”
Prayer To God
“Father, I receive Your breath of Life into my mortal body now. I lift up my hands to You, to receive it; I fix my hopes on it and turn my life completely over to You. From this day forth I pray that you will give me the grace and wisdom to guard my heart diligently, to obey You and to resist every scheme of the enemy. I commit all I am to You and I have full faith that You are able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all I could ever ask or think. Lord, send me the help I need now. Show me the way.
I thank you for the love that you have lavished upon me and I pray that for the rest of my life, I will show that same love, mercy and forgiveness to all those around me. Amen!”