Friday, April 23, 2004

Thoughts on suicide

With the death of a local teen, the question comes about suicide and salvation. People often wonder if suicide automatically condemns the victim. The answer involves more than I have time to write (or you read!) but it's an important question. How we answer that question shows a lot about our concept of God.

First of all, the thought that suicide victims automatically go to hell is not in the Bible.
Second, that thought separates suicide as an unforgiveable sin. Nothing is unforgiveable. Third, some believe that suicide is damning because you didn't have time to repent before you died. Well, who dies having repented of all their sin? It would be a rare case that someone would have just remembered every offense, repented of every offense and asked forgiveness from God and then laid down and died. Highly improbable.

Unfortunately, many people live through life feeling cursed because they either contemplated suicide or even attempted it. They don't need to hear that they are damned. They need to hear that God is close to the broken hearted. That IS in the Bible. God has compassion on these hopeless people.

Plus, there are the family members who live with the pain of a loved one who committed suicide - thinking that they are in hell for their action. If the person who committed suicide was a believer/follower of Jesus, we can be confident that they are with the Lord. If we aren't sure, then we shouldn't make any judgments. We really don't know.