According to an article in the September 15, 2008 issue of the Kansas City Star, “Suicide is a bigger killer in Kansas and Missouri—and across the country—than homicide, though it often gets much less attention.” More than 32,000 Americans a year kill themselves and according to 2006 federal government statistics, the suicide rate per 100,000 people is just slightly less than double the homicide rate.
In spite of our country’s prosperity, we are a nation losing hope. It saddens me deeply that so many people are suffering because of it. I have not personally lost someone close to me from suicide, but I’ve known several people who have lost relatives to this fate.
It is a common belief in the world that the suicide victim goes to hell when he or she dies because of the inability to confess his or her sins to God. Because of this common view, loved ones of the victims often suffer grief exceedingly greater than they would if the death had not resulted from the victim’s own hand.
But what does the Bible say?
As Christians, it is important to know what the Bible says about suicide so we can offer some measure of comfort to those who mourn.
The bottom line is this: Nowhere in the Bible does it say that a person goes to hell as a result of suicide.
Any person who is in right standing with God (i.e. they have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior) is exempt from hell, whether or not they died with unconfessed sins. Most of us probably will die with unconfessed sin in our lives because oftentimes we don’t know we have sinned when it comes to matters of faith and adherence to every tidbit of God’s instruction for our lives.
In Ephesians 2:8-9, the Bible says that by faith we are saved, not of works. John 3:16 states that if we believe in God’s Son, we will have everlasting life. Romans 8:32 says that nothing can separate believers from the love of God. Because we did nothing to earn an eternal life in heaven, we can’t do anything to “UN-earn” that precious gift.
Suicide is a sin because it is murder (Ex 20:13), but it no more condemns us to hell than a little white lie if we have already believed in Jesus for the salvation of our souls. If a loved one was a true believer, no matter the cause of their passing, they will be in heaven. At least in this, we can take comfort in our sadness.