Congratulations to Shaun Sells. His post was selected for our "Friday Night is Yours" blog post. -CMP]
Suicide from a Biblical Perspective for the Surviving Family Member.
The purpose of this is to bring comfort to the surviving family members of one who has commited suicide by bringing to light God’s perspective from the scriptures. It is my hope that any who read this will recognize three things:
1. Godly people in scripture were tempted by suicide, and some committed suicide.
2. Suicide is not an unforgivable sin.
3. You are not responsible for the actions of this person.
Biblical Examples of Those Tempted by Suicide.
Job wished he had never been born:
“Let the day perish on which I was to be born,
And the night which said, ‘A boy is conceived.” (Job 3:3)
“Why did I not die at birth,
Come forth from the womb and expire?” (Job 3:11)
Jesus was tempted by the devil to jump off a building:
“Then the devil took Him into the holy city and had Him stand on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down; for it is written,
‘HE WILL COMMAND HIS ANGELS CONCERNING YOU’; and
‘ON their HANDS THEY WILL BEAR YOU UP,
SO THAT YOU WILL NOT STRIKE YOUR FOOT AGAINST A STONE.’”
Jesus said to him, “On the other hand, it is written,
‘YOU SHALL NOT PUT THE LORD YOUR GOD TO THE TEST.’” (Matthew 4:5-7)
Biblical Examples of Suicide.
Ahithophel, a counselor to king David:
“Now when Ahithophel saw that his counsel was not followed, he saddled his donkey and arose and went to his home, to his city, and set his house in order, and strangled himself; thus he died and was buried in the grave of his father.” (2Samuel 17:23)
Samson kills himself after realizing his sin, but is still named in the Hall of Faith (Hebrews 11:32):
“Samson grasped the two middle pillars on which the house rested, and braced himself against them, the one with his right hand and the other with his left. And Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” And he bent with all his might so that the house fell on the lords and all the people who were in it. So the dead whom he killed at his death were more than those whom he killed in his life.” (Judges 16:30)
Judas after realizing his betrayal would lead to Jesus death:
“Then when Judas, who had betrayed Him, saw that He had been condemned, he felt remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, saying, “I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.” But they said, “What is that to us? See to that yourself!” And he threw the pieces of silver into the temple sanctuary and departed; and he went away and hanged himself.” (Matthew 27:3-5)
Jesus allowed himself to die for our sins:
“For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him.” (1Thessalonians 5:9-10)
Is Suicide the Unforgivable Sin?
NO! Scripturally speaking, the only unforgivable sin is refusing a relationship with Jesus Christ. Salvation is a gift of God’s grace, and has no basis in the works (whether good or bad) of the man or woman of God. Scripture is very clear on the way to salvation.
“…that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10)
When people speak of the unforgivable sin they are referencing Jesus in Matthew 12:31-32. In reality I believe that this passage can bring great hope to the believer. Lets see exactly what this passage says:
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.” (Matthew 12:31-32)
From the reading of this passage you can see that the sin that will not be forgiven is blasphemy (slander) of the Holy Spirit. In the greater context you can see that the Holy Spirit was doing great things through the ministry of Jesus, but the Pharisees were saying it was the work of Beelzebul the ruler of the demons (Matthew 12:24). They were calling the work of the Holy Spirit the work of Satan! Jesus says that is unforgivable. But, did you catch the exciting thing that Jesus said at the beginning of verse 31?
“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people…” (Matthew 12:31a)
Any sin can be forgiven – even suicide.
Who is Responsible?
Many times family members of those who commit suicide believe that they bear some guilt or shame because of their family members choice. This is not true, each person is responsible for their own sin. The Bible points this out in the law:
“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.” (Deuteronomy 24:16)