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4 Biblical Truths About Suicide

While we want to empathize with those who suffer—from regret or depression or disease or any other unrelenting malady—surely it is poor ethical reasoning to think that suffering is the means that justifies any end. As we saw yesterday, our choices should be deemed “free” so long as they are not subject to external coercion and compulsion. Julie Gossack—a wife and mother who has five times had to suffer through the suicide of a family member—sums up the matter well: “Suicide is not a genetic trait nor is it a family curse. Suicide is a sinful choice made by an individual. This statement is neither unloving nor disrespectful. It is the truth. I dearly loved my family members that committed suicide, but their choices were sinful and not righteous” (JBC Winter: 2006, 22). Suicide may feel like the only way out, but Scripture tell us God will never lead us into a situation where violating his commands is the only option (1 Cor. 10:13). We do not help struggling saints by refusing to tell them that suicide is displeasing to God; lovingly spoken, that may be one of the means by which God jolts the suicidal soul back to better, more godly thinking.

4. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin.

We do not have a system of penance and last rites. While it is particularly sad for a Christian to die in this way—confused and without hope—this loss of perspective does not necessarily mean the person was not a born again, justified Christian. John Frame, who argues that suicide is sinful, also tells the story of a missionary friend who drew closer to Jesus as he battled depression, but in the end killed himself. Frame doesn’t hesitate to say confidently that this man was a genuine Christian (p. 39). We are saved by the blood of Christ, not by whether our last moment was triumphant or tragic. Suicide should not be lightly dismissed. It is unimaginably painful and displeasing to God. But for the truly repentant, truly believing, truly justified child of God, God is greater than our sins, even ones that grip is in our dying breaths.

For more resources on suicide, check out the list of articles at CCEF. They are worth the few dollars it may cost to access them.  

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kevindeyoung@churchleaders.com'
Kevin is the Senior Pastor at University Reformed Church (RCA) in East Lansing, Michigan, right across the street from Michigan State University. He has been the pastor there since 2004.