God’s Love is Greater than Suicide
Inside: How do you overcome suicide when it puts its mark on your family? What does God’s Word say about Christianity and suicide?
Today I’m sharing my story of hope over at Rachel Lee’s site! If you’re looking for hope in whatever you’re dealing with in life, you need to check out Rachel’s Stories of Hope Series!
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31-39 So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn’t hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn’t gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God’s chosen? Who would dare even to point a finger? The One who died for us—who was raised to life for us!—is in the presence of God at this very moment sticking up for us. Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture:
They kill us in cold blood because they hate you.
We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.
None of this fazes us because Jesus loves us. I’m absolutely convinced that nothing—nothing living or dead, angelic or demonic, today or tomorrow, high or low, thinkable or unthinkable—absolutely nothing can get between us and God’s love because of the way that Jesus our Master has embraced us.
Our Story of Suicide
A few months ago, I signed up to write this post. I was a little nervous to put my name next to this topic, but as the weeks have gone by, I’ve become more afraid to write about this.
You see this topic is becoming more and more pertinent lately. I wanted to write from the heart and not get it wrong.
I mean, it’s a topic near and dear to my heart because my family’s life has been affected by suicide.
If I’m honest with you, it hasn’t been easy, and my husband and I have struggled with what others have told us and what the truth is in God’s Word when it comes to suicide.
About 7 1/2 years ago, my husband’s best friend (who was his uncle) committed suicide. To say it was a shock is a huge understatement. Looking back, my husband noticed a few signs amiss but would have never thought his uncle would take his life.
The days and weeks following his death were full of questions.
The Yearning for an Answer: Christianity and Suicide
We’ve heard it all:
- Our loved one isn’t in heaven.
- Maybe our loved one is.
- Judas isn’t in heaven.
- How could anyone do this?
Even more, the comments kept coming for a few weeks following the memorial service.
The fact is, even a few pastors we talked to weren’t sure what to say or how to encourage us during our time of grief.
The truth is, you only have to google Christianity and suicide together and see that there is a huge debate.
The most pressing question for all of us that have lost loved ones through suicide is: will my loved one be in heaven?The most pressing question for all of us that have lost loved ones through suicide is: will my loved one be in heaven? #suicide #christians #hope Click To Tweet
God is the Answer
The argument can be that the person didn’t ask for forgiveness prior to the act and besides true faith wouldn’t lead us to go against God’s command to not murder.
My thoughts on Christianity and suicide are this
First, if someone dies unexpectedly, did they ask for forgiveness?
Secondly, all of us break God’s commands and many murderers have asked Jesus into their lives after the act and receive full forgiveness by Jesus’ death on the cross like the prisoner on the side of the cross near Jesus.
To put another way, when someone close to us dies in this manner, having others tell us that they won’t be in heaven is like pressing salt into an already painful wound.
It doesn’t comfort us, but rather creates a whole new anxiety about what we should have done or how we should have shared God more, etc.
I can attest to the fact that this was the biggest struggle through those weeks and months, and it almost felt like the Evil One liked to join in with the questioning.
It makes us question what we know to be true.
In our case, our uncle was a God-fearing man who had plowed snow for the church the morning of his death in order to get the parking lot ready for Sunday services.
To read more of this post about Christianity and Suicide, follow me to Rachel’s site
Hope Prevails: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey through DepressionHope Prevails Bible Study: Insights from a Doctor’s Personal Journey Through DepressionYou’ll Get Through This: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent TimesYou’ll Get Through This Study Guide: Hope and Help for Your Turbulent Times
I think Christians need to focus more on helping to alleviate the cause of suicide – which a lot of times seems to be emotional pain and mental illness. Instead of accusing the person of not having enough faith, we need to seek to understand them and how they got to where they are. Thank you for sharing this and I will be sharing it too so that awareness can come to others about suicide.
Thank you for sharing your heart. My husband and I have known too many people who left this earth by suicide. Praying for you all and everyone affected by suicide.
Julie, thanks for tackling such a sensitive issue. I have a friend from my home town whose son committed suicide and I was appalled at all the hurt and pain people’s remarks caused her. Especially what you address here, that he didn’t go to heaven. I agree with your thoughts and besides, we can never judge or know anyone else’s heart…only God.
Thank you for sharing your personal experience here. I am so sorry for your and your husband’s loss and for the words spoken to you in your grief.
I firmly believe God does not ever abandon His children. Nothing can separate us from His love. I came close to taking my own life. One night at my old church, where I was experiencing spiritual abuse, I wanted to take my life. Instead, as I cried out to God, I physically felt Him tether my feet to the ground. I couldn’t move, even though I longed to throw myself in the canal.
I don’t know why He saved me from physical death on earth and not others, but I am certain, that if I had taken my life that very night, I would have been welcomed into His arms.
God literally tells us in Romans 8 that no power of evil can ever separate us from the love that is in Christ Jesus. God’s children remain in His hands, no matter what.
What is so beautiful to me is that a few months earlier I had invited a friend to share something on my blog. She shared about her brother who had committed suicide and how God had taken her to those very verses in Romans to remind her just how powerful His love is. We so often cannot comprehend it as humans, but it is so deep, so long and so wide.
Here is a post my friend Jennifer wrote about her brother:
Sending love and hugs,
Julie, I am so sorry for your struggles during that difficult time. As Christians, we must remember our job is to love people throughout the crisis, not cause more stress for a family. We need more open discussions about suicide and how to help those dealing with depression. Thanks for sharing such a personal story.
Julie, thank you for writing this piece! My great uncle, my grandmother’s brother, killed himself when my mother was 12. That death impacted lives for decades to come. Years later, I found in my great-grandfather’s bible a newsprint article by Billy Graham explaining that God’s grace covers even suicide. It does not negate one’s salvation. That was the only clipping in that Bible. My great-grandfather’s greatest concern after his son’s death was that he be in heaven.
William Cowper, the great hymn writer, struggled greatly with depression and attempted suicide three times. Recently I listened to a modern-day theologian explain how as he went through medical school, though planning a career in missions, he plotted his own suicide. When his plan came to light, he got help and came back from that dark, dark place to a now active life. Even theologians struggle – saved persons who love Jesus enough to spend their lives for him.
Anyone who experiences depression knows the seductive thought that can worm its way into our brains telling us that it would be easier to simply end it all. Like all thoughts from Satan, we must reject this and turn from it, even letting our families know we occasionally think this way.
For the ones who aren’t able to resist, it may take them down. That great-uncle I mentioned at the beginning could never recover from the fact that his two-year-old son had died because the uncle had accidentally left gasoline out after cleaning an engine. Did that cause him to go to hell? NO! The man was saved. His heart was broken, and his depression and mental illness killed him.
Nothing can take away our salvation – even unconfessed sin, even that very last sin. Our confession of sin, belief in Christ, and prayer for salvation covers all sin, past, present, and future. We sin so thoroughly that it’s impossible for us to confess all our sins – especially the sins of omission, because we often don’t even know we’ve committed these!
Julie, I’m so sorry about your husband’s loss of his wonderful uncle. I’m sorry that other believers tormented him and your family, making the loss that much harder. I would hope that with all that we now know about mental health, that the church would grow in compassion toward those whose lives are taken by mental illness and broken hearts. May the grace of God heal all the wounds you’ve experienced over this loss and the resulting wounds inflicted by others.
So important to talk about. Yes, none of us knows what’s in someone else’s heart. God knows…and that’s enough because http://www.AvaWrites.comwhatever God does is good and right.
I’ve also lost a loved one to suicide. Your article answers so many daunting questions. Thank you for sharing!
Unfortunately, people don’t have trustworthy people to confide in these days. The kind of love Jesus asked us to show is hardly ever practiced. This has led many people to bottle up their problems and hope that they would find peace in the grave by taking their lives. I think we should ask God through the Holy Spirit to show us the signs of any believer who is going through trying times with suicidal thoughts, so we can pray for grace, help, and deliverance. God is ever willing to help. Thank you for this piece.
Mayte- thank you for your thoughts!
Thank you so much for writing this, Julie. YES, God is more powerful than anything! God’s love transforms all, transcends all, overpowers all, overcomes all… ALL, whether suicide or anything else. I’m sorry for your loss, but I thank you deeply for writing this!
Jessica- thank you for your encouragement!
Thank you for being so transparent. Suicide is more common among Christians than people may think. Depression too. Thank you for pointing out those in God’s word that dealt with the same feelings of despair. I’m sorry for the crazy insensitive answers people gave you and your husband.
You said what is true, “no one looks at the heart like God does. God is the only one who knows the longings and the desires of the heart.”
We are not God and we do not have all the answers. Depression has visited my family and suicidal thoughts have too. No one has gone through with suicide, but the feelings of despair are as much of a disease as diabetes and other ailments. Yet people are more likely to accept those rather than depression. Compassion is one of the greatest gifts we can give to those who suffer from this and also those who suffered the loss.
Thank you for speaking up. Thank you for sharing the truth. You explained it well!
Marcie- thank you for sharing your thoughts!
I recently heard a great answer to this, one that mirrors yours, by Greg Koukl. He made the same statement, Jesus died to forgive all our sins. When we accept His forgiveness, we don’t have to keep accepting it. We are forgiven in that moment for all our sins, even the ones we haven’t committed yet because God knew of those sins when He first forgave us. We don’t have to continuously be saved. We are saved once and sanctified perpetually this side of heaven. Someone who commits suicide who is truly saved will be in heaven. We can’t know the salvation of others, but I trust God’s character.
Jennifer- Thanks for sharing this! It’s such comforting words!
Thanks for starting a dialogue on this very emotionally tough topic that most people, and even the church, tends to avoid. Ideally, education regarding the topic, how it can be viewed through the lens of faith and how we can support someone who is suicidal or lost someone to a suicide death needs to provided on an on-going basis.
Thanks for tackling this difficult subject and you were spot on. Thanks
Forgive me I am not much into the Bible. But I do believe in God. I have read everyone’s responses toward a difficult this subject. You all have enlighten me by giving me hope and belief. People do not understand how painful when one loses someone thru suicide. I lost my 28 year old son by suicide 3 years ago on Christma eve. I was having strong doubts that my son was not excepted in God’s hands. I was guided to this site to get inspiration. I want to truly thank everyone including Julie for reveiling her struggle with her unfortunate loss for given me hope. I have a long road ahead of me. People around me are not as inspiring. God have led me here. Amen.
Linda- I am so sorry for your loss! Praying for you, for comfort and belief!