Having lost loved ones to suicide, I am deeply saddened and feel abandoned when the Christian faith I look to for support and comfort judge and condemn victims of suicides. While I certainly do not support or advocate suicide, nowhere in The Holy Bible does it exclude from Heaven our loved ones who have taken their own lives. In fact, Jesus said the only unforgivable sin was blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, so I am often mystified by seemingly-sanctimonious condemnations of suicide victims on “God’s behalf.” After all, would any loving and compassionate father forever turn away from his child for making a choice borne of deep anguish and pain? You decide… I have my answer.
While everyone must draw their own conclusions at day’s end, I for one do not believe even for a millisecond, that God excludes from Heaven our loved ones who have taken their own lives in anguish and pain, and it is truly disheartening to me that anyone could.
“We are saved by grace, not by confession of our sin.” (Matthew 12:31)
Christian religions teach that God is full of love, compassion and mercy, and as we place our faith and trust in Him, we must do so absolutely. And to believe that suicide is self-murder, is to oversimplify a very painful and complicated situation. Suicide is never a good choice, but it is a reality that will continue to pervade our society for all time. Thankfully, it does seem that a growing number of western religious leaders are beginning to faithfully support the belief that mentally or terminally ill suicides will be shown mercy by God in response to their suffering.
If you are contemplating suicide you MUST immediately pick up the phone and seek help. Please call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at (1-800-273-TALK) or 911 and contact a family member, friend, hospital or minister right away to get the help you need and deserve.
Tags: faith, grief, hope, suicide
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK
John Pete, GC-C, is a Certified Grief Counselor and Founder of www.griefstreets.com.
I agree completely with your comments about suicide and faith. I want nothing to do with a God who punishes people who die by suicide. That image of a vengeful God has been concocted by humans who like to play “God” and judge others. The God I believe in and who is reflected in the Scriptures, particularly in the gospels, is a loving God. If you want to know what God is like, look at Jesus. Jesus is compassionate, not condemning, unless it is the hypocrites who like to judge others. Our loved ones who died by suicide as a result of the overwhelming emotional pain they experienced are accepted by the real God, not shunned.
Author of “A Balanced Life” and Co-Founder of the Karla Smith Foundation