The Biggest Lie People Believe About Suicide
As I remember a precious woman who took her own life two years ago today, I am reminded of the harmful words and unfounded assumptions often attached to suicide. The most common one I hear is that the person is now in hell because he/she committed suicide.
There are a few reasons why people wrongly assume this:
More times than not, people base this belief on the fact that suicide entails unconfessed sin. That is, the person dies and therefore can’t possibly ask God to forgive this particular sin and thus goes to the grave with unconfessed sin.
This belief is completely unfounded and has no Scriptural support. Our salvation is not based upon how perfectly we keep track of our sins and confess each and every one by name. Umm, that is impossible. How can we possibly keep track of all of our sins, especially when we consider our thought lives? Based on this faulty reasoning, we must remember and confess every single time we’ve had a wrong attitude, every single time we’ve judged someone in our hearts, every single time our thought life has deviated from righteousness. Friends, this is impossible. Not only is this impossible, but it misses the Gospel message and creates works-based salvation.
Besides, we unknowingly sin all the time – and when sin is unknown to us, we fail to confess it. So there you have it: we all are going to die with “unconfessed sin.” But when we chose to rest our faith in his completed work, he forgave all of our sins – past, present, and future (I Peter 3:18).** Beyond this, sin is so much more than actions and decisions. Sin is part of our very nature as fallen creatures. It’s an inherent inclination, not a string of evil actions. That’s why Christ’s work on the Cross shook the universe: it destroyed the power of sin in its entirety. Jesus wasn’t just making up for a long list of wrong actions; he was destroying the universal domain of wickedness driving such evil actions.
Here’s the glorious Truth: our eternal destiny is based on our ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to Jesus’ lordship in our lives (Romans 10:9). NOTHING ELSE. Either we are trusting in his perfect righteousness on our behalf or we are not. And if we are, NOTHING can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord! “Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation” (Romans 8:38-39). Notice that Paul simply says “death.” He doesn’t distinguish natural death from unnatural death. And if nothing else in all of creation can separate us from the love of God in Christ, that includes suicide. Suicide and all other short-comings and bad choices have no power to separate us from God because if we are in Christ, NOTHING can snatch us from his hand (John 10:28). Hallelujah!
[However, I urge anyone reading this who is contemplating suicide NOT to allow this Truth to push you over the edge. God is present with you at this moment, he loves you fiercely, and he is able to meet you here and now and redeem your life. You don’t have to go to heaven for this to happen. His heart is never for someone to take his/her own life. Don’t listen to hell’s lies about your life being hopeless and futureless. You have a very real Advocate who is moving on your behalf at this very moment. Cry out to him, and reach out to someone who can help you. Your life has great purpose and value!]
Sometimes people also refer to Judas Iscariot as grounds for believing that suicide sends people to hell. This also is unfounded. Scripture doesn’t even say exactly where Judas went, and it certainly doesn’t state that his suicide was the determining factor. Gary Amirault offers great insight concerning Judas:
“Be careful where you place Judas. He did the will of the Father and fulfilled the Scriptures. Peter, who we all love, tried to prevent Jesus’ crucifixion and was called “Satan” by our Lord. Peter, who was not mindful of the will of God, was restored. Was it not Jesus who said, “”For whoever does the will of My Father who is in heaven, he is My brother and sister and mother.” (Matthew 12:50) Be careful about placing Jesus’s brother, Judas, in Christendom’s “hell.” One day you may have to look up to Judas, instead of looking down on him.”
Bottom line: we do not know where he went, and there is a lot of mystery surrounding him. But what we DO know is that his eternal destiny was decided based upon his relationship to Jesus, not upon his suicide or “unconfessed sin” (John 14:6).
**This does not mean that the Holy Spirit does not continue to convict us when we miss the mark. He does, and he draws us to continual repentance. But this is not a loss and regain of salvation; this is a process of sanctification whereby we are molded into the image of Christ.
Friends, this is very good news. The Gospel is insanely good news. His love is powerful enough to break every barrier to our being his. And while suicide does break the Father’s heart – how could it not? He loves us dearly and dreams over our lives – it doesn’t even come close to diminishing his saving grace. However deep the pit in which you find yourself, the Father’s love is deeper still. Whatever the strength of the power that fights against you, his Resurrection Life is more powerful still. Whatever the lie that has been whispered into your ear, his Truth is what shouts the verdict on you!
“Mine!” he declares, “Beloved, you are MINE!”