Suicide happens to be a very delicate subject, such that must be approached with much diligence. When it comes to ascertaining whether committing suicide is right or wrong, different people have different opinions concerning it. Our society and different Christian denominations have adopted a wide variety of positions on it.
Before now, the widely accepted notion was that suicide was rampant among the unsaved. But that seems to have changed some couple of years ago. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic, so many people reportedly had suicidal thoughts and many went on to actually commit suicide (and these numbers included Christians).
Suicide can simply be defined as “self-killing” or “self-murder.” It is the act of taking one's own life by self-will. More than 90 percent of those who commit suicide have reportedly been through a phase of severe anxiety and depression. At times, these people had been through an inner turmoil; challenges they could neither get rid of nor find someone to talk to about. When this happens, many see taking their life as an escape route.
Needless to ask questions like, “why would a Christian commit suicide?” According to a recent research, the rate of suicide is currently skyrocketing among Christians. Surprisingly, pastors are among the highest population of Christians who are taking their lives on a daily basis. I can readily tell that the Christian community have cultivated the habit of taking all their problems to pastors, seeking their help and counsel, but never considering whether the pastor also needs someone to talk to about their personal challenges or not.
Some pastors are unable to cope with the pressure of ministry; the pressure of taking everyone's problems on themselves, praying for everyone and being “Jesus” to everyone — but never getting the same in return. At a certain point, suicide may become unavoidable.
By the enablement of the Holy Spirit, we should be able to address and answer some questions surrounding suicide (especially among Christians) in this article. We trust the Lord to pass through this writing to touch, heal, teach and work in the lives of many who have been going through pains inflicted by the suicide of a loved one. We also trust the Lord that, through this article, many who have been contemplating suicide will know God's mind concerning the same and will be able to make the right choice.
Factors That Can Trigger Suicide
Apart from the challenges and pressure from ministry that tends to affect preachers the most (which I've highlighted above), there are several other factors that can trigger suicide among Christians. They include the following:
- Substance abuse
- Relationship problems
- Spiritual problems
- Physical health issues
- Mental or emotional disorder
- Job or financial problems
- Criminal or legal problems, etc.
But the question still remains, should a Christian commit suicide if they are going through these things? Let's see how the Bible can help us in answering this question.
The Bible And Suicide
We're not going to mince words here. I honestly believe that the stance of the holy scriptures concerning suicide is simple. Suicide is not a natural death, it is often willfully induced by someone. The position of God's word towards a man-induced death is logical — as seen in the fifth commandment: thou shall not kill.
Exodus 20:13 KJVThou shalt not kill.
Apart from this, the Bible makes it clear that all life comes from God. The life that man has does not belong to him, it comes from God. Man remains at the receiving end, as the steward of the life that God gave to him.
The life of man is carefully planned in Heaven. Every person whom God sends to the earth was carefully crafted with a unique blueprint and given a lifespan to fulfil their God-given purpose on earth. It is therefore unacceptable for man to terminate his life before God's set time for them.
Psalm 139:14-16 KJVI will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.  My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.  Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
Jesus Christ as the Creator God, assigns to everyone the specified number of years they should exist on earth and fulfil the purpose He gave to them. He alone is the legal and sole owner of life. By default, He alone has the right to operate the switch of life (according to His will). By no reason should a man approach the switch by his will to put it off. Anyone can readily tell that there's something wrong in doing so.
Job 12:10 NIVFor the life of every living thing is in his hand, and the breath of every human being.
Psalm 31:15 NIVMy times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors!
The Bible makes it clear in 1 Corinthians that the life we live is not ours but Christ's. God gives this life to us for us to be the guardians (and not destroyers) of it.
1 Corinthians 6:19-20 KJVWhat? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.
You can see that God never sends anyone on earth by mistake; neither does He expect any man to terminate the life He gave them whenever they feel like living is no longer worth it. Doing so is clearly against His Surpreme will. I see it as one of the deadliest form of rebellion against God — like stepping on His toes in a very bad way.
Cases Of Suicide In The Bible
There are a few people in the Bible who committed what we can classify as suicide today. Certain Christians who contemplate suicide have also occasionally cited these scriptures, using it as a reason to terminate their life.
- Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23) - He hung himself out of displeasure that his advice was no longer followed by Absalom (David's son).
- Abimelech (Judges 9:50-54) - He asked to be killed by his armor bearer so that his death would not be attributed to the woman who dropped a millstone on him.
- Judas Iscariot (Matthew 27:3-5) - He hung himself due to depression, after regretting betraying and selling his Master.
- King Saul (1 Samuel 31:2-5) - Fell on and killed himself by his own sword, so as to avoid further disturbance from the Philistines.
- King Saul's Amor Bearer (1 Samuel 31:5) - Took his own life also.
- Samson (Judges 16:23-31) - Destroyed the Philistines' temple, killing himself with other people in the process.
- Zimri (1 Kings 16:15-20) - Burnt a house upon himself and died as a result.
Did these people take their life? Yes. But using the choice made by other people in the Bible as a yardstick to repeat the same thing is not always a wise decision. Some things are written in scriptures only for our learning.
You'll notice that most of these people who killed themselves in the Bible had earlier offended God in one way or the other; and after they did, they saw no need to continue living and resorted to killing themselves.
For instance, let's look at the case of Zimri; what led to him getting in a house and setting it on fire upon himself. Let's also see what God said concerning him in the scripture below:
1 Kings 16:18-20 KJVAnd it came to pass, when Zimri saw that the city was taken, that he went into the palace of the king's house, and burnt the king's house over him with fire, and died,  For his sins which he sinned in doing evil in the sight of the Lord, in walking in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin which he did, to make Israel to sin.  Now the rest of the acts of Zimri, and his treason that he wrought, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?
From the above scripture, you'll notice two mentions of sin against God, attributed to Zimri:
- He did evil in the sight of the Lord (by walking in the way of Jeroboam).
- He also caused the entire Israel to sin against God (in the course of his own rebellion).
Zimri ascended the throne to become a king of Israel by means of what we can called a coup d'état today. This was against the will of God and his reign was short-lived — just seven days before another king arose to overthrow him. When he lost in the battle against the emerging new king, he resorted to killing himself.
Judas did a similar thing. It was after he regretted his actions against God that he chose suicide.
Samson found himself in a place where going out alive was going to be impossible, so he resorted to terminating his life. In the first place, it was disobedience to God that put him in such a situation.
These are the few people in the Bible who committed what we can class as suicide. We can see that some of them did what they did out of dispair and regret that they'd done something terribly wrong against God and there was never going to be forgiveness for them. But any sane Christian can tell that no matter the gravity of the sin man commits against God today, the best solution can never be taking one's life.
It is also needful to stress that in those Biblical times, ignorance was the order of the day. Many saw suicide as a noble way of dying. God says “My people perish for lack of knowledge” (Hosea 4:6). Today we cannot use ignorance as an excuse for suicide. Knowledge about God is all around us and we are well-informed.
Can A Christian Commit Suicide?
A few Christians have asked questions like, “what if we find ourselves in a situation like that of Samson, is it safe to take our life?”
It is rare for Christians to find themselves in situations like that of Samson — where they have no option but to kill themselves. The only scenario that is close to that of Sampson is persecution or finding oneself as one of the victims of kidnap. And here are my thoughts concerning this:
If a Christian happens to be a kidnap victim, the best choice still isn't to terminate their life. What happened to trusting God for a rescue? What happened to having faith that God will come through for you? The solution in such a scenario cannot be suicide.
Secondly, even when Christians happen to find themselves in the hands of persecutors — where they are persecuted for their faith in Jesus Christ, self-killing still isn't right. It is a great thing to die for Christ, but under no circumstance should a Christian be the initiator of their own death.
The early Church faced intense persecution. We've read about some of the horrible ways that the Apostles were killed for preaching Christ, but we've never read that they took their life with their own hands.
Apostle John was killed by King Herod's sword:
Acts 12:1-2 KJVNow about that time Herod the king stretched forth his hands to vex certain of the church.  And he killed James the brother of John with the sword.
Stephen was stoned to death:
Acts 7:59 KJVAnd they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.
Most of the early Christians knew they were going to face death sentence, but they did not kill themselves before it happened.
Apostle Paul once said that to live is Christ and to die is gain, but he never referred to suicide.
Philippians 1:21-22 KJVFor to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.  But if I live in the flesh, this is the fruit of my labour: yet what I shall choose I wot not.
Apostle Paul went through series of torture and imprisonments, yet he never opted to killing himself. Paul even later prevented the suicide of the Philippian jailer and won him to Christ (Acts 16:27–28).
If suicide was the right thing to do, don't you think most of these early Apostles of Christ (who already knew they were going to die) would have killed themselves earlier before someone else did? Come to think of it, some of these Apostles were sawn in half; some nailed to the cross upside down. Clearly, suicide would had been an easier way to die if it was right.
John 13:37 KJVPeter said unto him, Lord, why cannot I follow thee now? I will lay down my life for thy sake.
Heaven counts it as a noble thing to lay down one's life for Christ, but that isn't what suicide is. Martyrdom is completely different from suicide.
Romans 8:38-39 KJVFor I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Do Christians Commit Suicide And Still Go To Heaven?
We are not in the right position to determine who God takes to Heaven and who He doesn't. But from what has been said so far, I believe that we all can see that God counts suicide as “self-murder,” since it is against His fifth commandment.
Since suicide is not the right way to Heaven that the Bible has told us about; since suicide is a sin (and the one who commits it has no chance to plead for forgiveness), it is logically safe to conclude that a person who commits it risks being condemned to Hell.
Yes, suicide is a risk against one's salvation that no man should take. It is an uncertain place to put oneself when it comes to one's eternal fate.
Is Suicide The Unforgiveable Sin?
Jesus was out and about healing the sick and casting out devils, when the Pharisees and Scribes confronted and accused Him, saying that His source of power was Beelzebub. Because these works were done by the Holy Spirit through Jesus Christ, the Lord responded to them saying the even the blasphemy against Him will be forgiven, but not the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.
Mark 3:28-29 KJVVerily I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme:  But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation.
Signs and wonders are for unbelievers (John 4:48). It is meant to make them see, marvel and believe in the true God, thereby leading to their salvation. All of these are purveyed by the Holy Spirit. When the Pharisees and Scribes saw these works they dropped accusations, instead of believing. This translates to rejecting the gift of salvation and altogether rejecting God. If a person refuses to get saved, God cannot help them, they have to pay for it with their blood — they'll have to face eternal damnation.
What then is the unforgivable sin? It is not suicide, but refusing to let the Holy Spirit convict and lead one to salvation. It is rejecting Christ and the gift of salvation. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin but it is as bad also, since the sinner has no chance to seek forgiveness.
Doctor Assisted Suicide
Physician assisted suicide stems from the Greek word euthanasia, meaning “a good death” or “mercy killing.” This practice emanated from the United States and was brought to public attention in the 1990s. It was further made popular by Dr. Jack Kevorkian. For a start, Dr. Kevorkian did put over 40 people through euthanasia in Michigan.
Euthanasia involves aiding the death of a patient through a seemingly less-painful medical procedure, after the patient or the family of the patient must have consented to it. This is often opted for when some patients no longer respond to treatment, especially in cases of cancer.
But what are God's thoughts concerning such form of killing? Neither self-killing nor assisted killing is approved by God in the holy Bible. It doesn't matter whether the family of a person or the individual consents to it, the gift of life is simply a “gift” from God. No man can give it to himself and no man should take it. Doctor assisted suicide is clearly against the fith commandment of God, “thou shall not kill.”
Help For The Suicidal
Not everyone can help convince the suicidal to turn away from putting their plan into action, that is why the Lord made provision for the ministry of Christian counselling.
According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these are the early warning signs of suicide:
- Feeling like a burden
- Being isolated
- Increased anxiety
- Feeling trapped or in unbearable pain
- Increased substance use
- Looking for a way to access lethal means
- Increased anger or rage
- Extreme mood swings
- Expressing hopelessness
- Sleeping too little or too much
- Talking or posting about wanting to die
- Making plans for suicide
If you happen to find anyone going through these things, you can start by praying for them. But understand that not everyone is equipped to speak to the suicidal. If you lack the needed qualification and wisdom to talk to such people, it is advisable to connect them with a professional Christian counselor.
Final Thoughts On A Christian Comitting Suicide
Beloved, I believe that at this point you have a clearer understanding on what God thinks and what the Bible says concerning a Christian committing suicide.
Neither salvation nor Heaven is something to gamble with. If a Christian commits self-murder, only God can determine their fate. Neither themselves nor any other human can determine where they will end up.
I personally think that no matter what we are going through, suicide isn't a wise or the best choice. In short, it shouldn't be an option. There is life after death and it's more real than what we have here on earth. Once we step into the other side of eternity, there is no going back on certain decisions we made. It is better we do all it takes to completely avoid self-killing than to commit it and wait to see what our eternal fate will be.
God bless you.
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