Suicide in Scripture
At the beginning of this week, a friend of mine sent me a message, asking me very generalized questions. I didn’t think anything of it, she only was asking how to be happy or how to help others. However, yesterday, she broke, and sent me a text saying, “Throughout this past week, a friend of mine has been extremely depressed. She stopped taking mood stabilizers and I don’t know what to do. What should I do, and what is the Christian view on suicide?” So, I gave her a call, and we sat and talked for a bit. I tried to comfort her, I told her some ways to help her friend, and I gave her some scripture for her and her friend both. She felt better and got off the phone, but it left me with the question to ponder. “What is the Christian view on suicide?”
An uncomfortable subject to address, but one that needs discussion. In the U.S., suicide rates have increased from 10.5 to 13.0 suicides per 100,000 people in the United States (24% increase). That’s statistically 42,341 suicides on average to occur in the year of 2018, 116 suicides a day. So, what is the Christian view on suicide?
The bible mentions six specific counts of suicide, which are Abimelech (Judges 9:54), Saul (1 Samuel 31:4), Saul’s armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31: 4-6), Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23), Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and Judas (Matthew 27:5). Common thought is they were all sent to Hell due to their wickedness, but is that truly the reason? Job 1:21 says “Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” Here in the bible, Job speaks on behalf of the Lord, saying God is the giver of life, and God is the one who dictates when one’s life has come to fruition and is ready to end. However, committing suicide results in taking God’s will of life into your own hands, due to humanity having free will (1 Corinthians 10:13), and taking God’s authority upon yourself to decide when your life is complete.
We see many people throughout scripture pursue a sinful lifestyle, and proceed to come to God after, like Solomon pursuing lust and falling into a despair and “hating life”(Ecclesiastes 2:17), Elijah being depressed and yearning for his own death to happen(1 Kings 19:4), Jonah being angry at God to a point he wished for himself to die (Jonah 4:8), and even Paul came to a point where he felt he couldn’t endure the pressure on him, and solely living gave him despair (2 Corinthians 1:8.).
However, through having faith in God, all were able to come to rest, and fulfill a life in the name of God, and none of them gave in to committing suicide. So, the bible views taking one’s life into their own hands, the same way it views murder as taking someone else’s life into your hands. Suicide is a sin, but in terms of how it’s seen by God, its no worse than any other sin or evil. However, when it comes to suicide, one can’t repent after, as the soul is taken to Heaven or Hell. As a result, suicide victims wind up in Hell, as hard as it is to say and to put out there. To anyone dealing with a person who has, wants to, thinks of, or in the future will think of suicide, I extend my own empathy. I’ve dealt with suicidal thoughts, and people who have suffered with suicidal tendencies, attempts, and victims. May God grant you all His grace, and may you all call upon the Lord, so he may be your light through the darkest of times.