What God Says About Suicide

Where Can I Find the Truth?
There is so much solid information our there about suicide, and you may know someone who has struggled with this in their own lives. How can you help? How would you even know when to step in and try to assist a friend? Here is some great information about warning signs from the “Befrienders International” Website HERE.

Suicide is rarely a spur of the moment decision. In the days and hours before people kill themselves, there are usually clues and warning signs. The strongest and most disturbing signs are verbal – ‘I can’t go on,’ ‘Nothing matters any more’ or even ‘I’m thinking of ending it all.’ Such remarks should always be taken seriously. Other common warning signs include:

Becoming depressed or withdrawn
Behaving recklessly
Getting affairs in order and giving away valued possessions
Showing a marked change in behavior, attitudes or appearance
Abusing drugs or alcohol
Suffering a major loss or life change

Many of us have known someone that committed suicide, and we may have asked the important Question, “What is the spiritual status of someone who has committed suicide?” Can they still be saved? Again, there are some great internet resources that are available. “Frontline Ministries” is one such website, HERE. Here is how John MacArthur, a much respected Bible teacher today, answers the question: Can one who commits suicide be saved?

“Suicide is a grave sin equivalent to murder (Exodus 20:13; 21:23), but it can be forgiven like any other sin. And Scripture says clearly that those redeemed by God have been forgiven for all their sins–past, present, and future (Colossians 2:13-14). Paul says in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

So if a true Christian would commit suicide in a time of extreme weakness, he or she would be received into heaven (Jude 24). But we question the faith of those who take their lives or even consider it seriously–it may well be that they have never been truly saved.

I say that because God’s children are defined repeatedly in Scripture as those who have hope (Acts 24:15; Romans 5:2-5, 8:24; 2 Corinthians 1:10, etc.) and purpose in life (Luke 9:23-25; Romans 8:28; Colossians 1:29). And those who think of committing suicide do so because they have neither hope nor purpose in their lives. Furthermore, one who repeatedly considers suicide is practicing sin in his heart (Proverbs 23:7), and 1 John 3:9 says that ‘no one who is born of God practices sin.’ And finally, suicide is often the ultimate evidence of a heart that rejects the lordship of Jesus Christ, because it is an act where the sinner is taking his life into his own hands completely rather than submitting to God’s will for it. Surely many of those who have taken their lives will hear those horrifying words from the Lord Jesus at the judgment–’I never knew you; Depart from me, you who practice lawlessness’ (Matthew 7:23).

So though it may be possible for a true believer to commit suicide, we believe that is an unusual occurrence. Someone considering suicide should be challenged above all to examine himself to see whether he is in the faith (2 Corinthians 13:5).”

Am I Alone?
But clearly there will be some of us as true, believing Christians, saved by God, who may make the quick misguided decision to take our own life. And let’s face it; all of us have struggled with depression at one time or another. Don’t feel as though you are the only one, or like you are alone when you are overcome by depression or confusion. Many great saints in the Bible felt the same way:

There were many times when Moses felt like he was too weak, too ill-equipped, too inadequate to live the life that God had called him to live as a leader of the Israelites. Look at what he said:

Numbers 11:14-15
This job is too much for me. How can I take care of all these people by myself? If this is the way you’re going to treat me, just kill me now and end my miserable life!

Ever felt that way, like you just can’t measure up? Well, Moses was able to overcome by continuing his task even when he felt like he could do no more. He faithfully trusted God to fill in the gaps in his strength, and worked through the tough times!

Overworked, exhausted and feeling as though nothing he did really mattered or made a difference, Elijah too felt like he had reached the very end of his rope:

1 Kings 19:4-5
He begged the LORD, ‘I’ve had enough. Just let me die! I’m no better off than my ancestors.’ Then he lay down in the shade and fell asleep.

But God spoke to Elijah and reminded Him that he was not alone, and that his triumphs and struggles had not gone unnoticed by God. Elijah’s life mattered to God and truly did make a difference to the nation of Israel, even if he may not always have felt like this was so.

Who ever suffered like this man of ancient times? Under spiritual attack on all sides, he lost everything, his family, his wealth and even his health. He held fast to his love for God, but reached critical lows emotionally and felt like dying:

Job 6:11-13
What strength do I have to keep on living? Why go on living when I have no hope? Am I made of stone? Is my body bronze? I have no strength left to save myself; there is nowhere I can turn for help.

But Job found the strength to preserver, largely because he continued an open dialogue with God, praying and talking to God through every stage of his journey, allowing God to speak to him through prayer and tribulation. Rather than turn from God in these times, he sought God all the harder.

Disobedient and rebellious, Jonah was often reluctant to do what God was calling him to do. Even when he did step off in service of God, he was often unhappy with the results. In many ways, Jonah was a supreme whiner! His emotional journey was also turbulent:

Jonah 4:8
During the day the LORD sent a scorching wind, and the sun beat down on Jonah’s head, making him feel faint. Jonah was ready to die, and he shouted, ‘I wish I were dead!’

God often had to scold Jonah and remind him that his life was not provided to serve himself, but rather to serve God. We too have to remember that we are not here to glorify ourselves but to Glorify God. When we re-focus on our true purpose, we can begin to evaluate our lives from his perspective!

So What Does It All Teach Us?
But what about my friend who struggled in his or her faith and committed suicide? Are people who commit suicide still saved, or is this sin unforgivable? In order to answer this question, I want you to remember that you never made yourself right with God on your own power to begin with. Your ability to join God in Heaven has nothing to do with anything you ever did for God. You never EARNED your salvation. That is a FREE gift from God. You were made right in God’s eyes the day you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Jesus paid the price for all your sinfulness and you now bare HIS righteousness in the eyes of God. Remember that Jesus died for your past sin, your present sin and your future sin!

Why does that matter? Well, all of us would agree that a convicted murderer can still be saved. All he has to do is to truly and honestly accept Jesus as Lord and ask him to forgive his sin, and surrender his life to God. Many of us are concerned however, because we recognize that suicide is self-murder. In essence, the person who commits suicide is a murderer and has no opportunity to ask god for forgiveness after he commits the murder. But if he is a saved Christian before the suicide, but in a moment of rage or depression or confusion, commits this sin, does that immediately disqualify him as a Christian? Is his last sin so great that he has lost his salvation? No, it is not! Remember that Jesus also died for all your future sin. Odds are very good that you and I will die without asking God for forgiveness of every sin we have ever committed, and we will still be saved.

What if I was driving down the road and got in an argument with my friend who is the passenger in the car and in a moment of ungodly anger in which I was yelling at my friend, I got distracted and ran into a tree, killing both of us? Would I lose my salvation as the result of this final sinful act? No, I am still saved, even though I died as the result of my own sin. If you are saved, you are saved. God reminds us of this all the time in scripture. We can be assured that we will not lose our salvation:

John 5:24
“I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.”

John 10:27-30
“My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all; no one can snatch them out of my Father’s hand.”

John 5:11-14
And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.

But how are we to deal with the tough times we will certainly face? Do your best to give your life to god in the following ways:

Live Your Life as a Saved Christian
Read John 1:12; 3:3,16-18,36; and Romans 10:9-13. No person is ready to face life until he has the life of Christ. He is not ready to mingle with the children of Adam until he has become a child of God. He is not ready to face the Devil until he forsakes the Devil and gets into the family of God. He is not ready to face the world until he is assured of heaven. Very simply, ‘You must be born again’. There is no substitute for that. Being born again will do more to change your life and give you a new out look on life than any other one hundred or a thousand things you might do. Once a sinner gets saved, he becomes a new creature. Life is different. He sees things that were once hidden. He gets a new thought process. Being saved is absolutely first and essential.

Accept Life as a Gift from God
Life is in the hands of God. God gives life and God takes away life (John 1:21). God has numbered our days and will send for us when he is ready. The awful tragedy of suicide is we are trying to control the timing and manner of our death, when God actually wants to be the one to do that!

Bow to the Sovereign Will of God
Remember that Paul wrote these words for a reason:

Romans 8:28
‘And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to his purpose.’

Notice the ones that qualify for this promise: those that love God. God is working out His purpose in your life. Don’t despair with life. God is working with his purpose in you, for your own good and His Glory.

Seek the Will of God for Your Life
God’s perfect will brings you the greatest possible degree of happiness and contentment. No man is ready to live life like it ought to be lived until he is saved and living in the perfect will of God. God’s perfect will includes a lot of things that are true for us all (baptism, youth group, prayer, Bible study, witnessing, giving, etc.). But also God has a special peculiar plan just for you. Don’t be content until you find God’s will for your life.

Don’t Ignore Depression
Face it head on. Confess it to God! Ask the Lord to help. Only the Lord can help, but His help is sufficient. Encourage yourself in the Lord just like David often did in his moments of frustration when he was tempted to become depressed (1 Sam. 30:6).

Talk to others about your situation. Reach out for help by finding Godly friends with whom you can share your struggle! And then, make it a habit to tell others of the things that God has already accomplished in your life. Has God done anything for you, or with you, or through you? Then tell others. You will be amazed what this will do for your depression. When we learn to get our eyes off of ourselves and place them on Christ, then our depression will flee away. When we consider others and their needs, our own self pity will vanish.

Above all, know that you are not alone, and you are not unloved. You are instead, the handiwork of the Master Craftsman of the universe. And God does not create junk! You are important. You matter. You are here for a reason.

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