Unfortunately, most of us have been affected by suicide. For many of us, we’ve had a loved one or a friend’s loved one decide to end their life, and it has left us with many questions. Questions like “Why would they do this?” “How come I didn’t see the signs?” And “Could I have done anything to stop this?” Then we begin to wonder about the afterlife. “Where are they now?” And if they were a follower of Jesus… “Does this disqualify them from heaven?”
Some of us think our eternal destiny can be altered by our final act. After all, you don’t have time to ask for forgiveness. I remember hearing from people when I was young that if you don’t confess all your sins at night in your prayers and then die in your sleep, you could be in trouble. Not sure how I ever slept as a kid! Scripture teaches us that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. (Rom.8:1) Since our debt is paid by Christ, it is for ALL our sin and not just the ones before we come to Christ. So, I don’t think the theory of our final act determines our eternal destiny is accurate. Our eternity is determined by whether we chose to put our trust in Christ during our lifetime, rather than our mistake at the end of our lives.
Some of us fear that our eternal destiny can be altered by a major act. There are a few major acts that we think – do this and there’s no chance for forgiveness. And suicide is one we wonder about. Did the taking of life cost us our chance at heaven? We read a story in the Old Testament that gives us insight into this. The great Prophet and Judge Samuel has died and is undoubted with God. The night before Saul goes to war, Samuel appears to him and says “Tomorrow you will be with me.” Saul now knows he will die, and he will be with Samuel in what we consider to be heaven. Later the next day Saul does die… and the way he dies… is by his own hand. Yet, He is with Samuel. Saul, though he made his share of mistakes – especially at the end, is with God. (1 Sam 28, 1 Chron 10)
Suicide is often thought of as a selfish act, an effort to free oneself from pain but leaving a wake of pain for families and friends. While it may be a momentary act of selfishness, it does not preclude you from an everlasting life of forgiveness. We are judged by whether or not we put our faith in Jesus in life rather than if we rejected his best plans for us by ending our life.
That being said, if you find yourself at a point where you just can’t go on, and you begin to think that suicide might be the only option, please tell someone. Reach out for help. While your mind says that there is no other way out, Jesus reminds us there is. For years, his church has reached out to rescue.