When I was sixteen years old, I faced a monumental crisis in my life ~ one that
appeared to be larger than life and with no possible means of a solution without
hurting the people I loved the most. I finally reached the conclusion that the only
way out, causing the least grief to my family, would be to take my own life. In my
mind, the grief that my family would face after I was gone would be much less than
the grief I would cause by allowing them to become aware of the actual crisis itself.
I knew my family would grieve over my death, but I also believed that in time they
would get over it. In my heart, I believed the actual problem itself would cause grief
of such a magnitude that none of us would ever recover. It seemed at the time that
suicide was the lesser of two evils. And I was hurting so badly, holding my own
grief and fear inside, that I knew I couldn't handle it alone one more day.
To me (at the time), it took great courage to take the steps necessary to take my
own life. I even remember feeling somewhat of a martyr, believing I was saving my
loved ones of a fate much worse ~ that of knowing the horrible truth. I believed it
took courage to dissolve all those pills in a glass of water and then consciously
swallow every last drop. It took courage not to run into my parents bedroom at 4
a.m. when I woke up with my heart pounding and unable to swallow. It took
courage to keep from banging on the walls for help when I couldn't raise my head
from my pillow without fainting, and was having difficulty breathing.
I don't claim to believe that this is what all victims of suicide believe, but at the time
it's certainly what I believed.
Now, because I'm writing this today, you know that I was unsuccessful in my
attempts ~ Praise Jesus! The details aren't relevant, for it was a lifetime ago. But
because of this experience, plus my faith in God and strong belief in the scriptures,
I want to try to answer some questions that seem to crop up in my email on a
regular basis concerning suicide.
The question I hear most often is this:
My loved one committed suicide. Does this mean they won't go to Heaven?
Some believe that because suicide is a sin, and because one who successfully
commits this sin apparently can't ask for forgiveness, that this must be the
unforgivable sin and will keep them from ever entering the gates of Heaven.
I am going to answer this question based solely on God's Word in the scriptures
(some of which are listed at the bottom of this page). The Bible does state that
there is an unforgivable sin ~ but suicide isn't it. According to the scriptures,
anyone can get into the gates of Heaven if they believe in our Lord, Jesus Christ,
and trust Him as their own personal savior. The 'unforgivable sin' pertains to denial.
Willful unbelief. It makes perfect sense that if the only way we can get into Heaven
is by belief in Jesus Christ, then rejection of Christ is the only thing that can keep
We are all sinners, saved by grace upon acceptance of Christ into our hearts. That
doesn't make us sinless. It only makes us forgiven. Jesus clearly stated that all who
believe and trust in Him will have eternal life.
As Christians, we confess our sins and seek forgiveness as we struggle through
our life trying to be more like Christ, but because we live in a sin-infested world, a
life completely without sin is impossible. Only Jesus Christ, God's only begotten
Son, was able to do that. In fact, it's only because of Jesus' sinless, perfect life, that
he could atone for our sins when He was crucified on the cross.
Unconfessed sin will not keep us from entering the gates of Heaven. The thing that
would prevent us, is failure to accept Christ and place our trust in Him as Lord and
Savior. But, before we play judge and jury here, remember that only God knows
our hearts and our innermost thoughts, even at the point of death. Who are we to
say that during the final throes of death, or in the moments before that last
heartbeat, that our loved one did not cry out in their innermost thoughts to Jesus?
We cannot be the judge of someone else's salvation, for only God has the authority
to do that.
I know you are devastated by your loved one's death. It doesn't seem real. The
shock, the anger, the confusion and frustration tear at you from all directions.
"Why?" is your most demanding question. Why did your loved one care so little for
life that they would take their own? Why did they think life wasn't worth living? Why
didn't they love you enough to stay? So many "why's". Suicide appears to be the
most devastating form of grief. The hardest to come to terms with.
I don't have all the answers you seek as to why your loved one chose to take their
own life. Based on my own attempted suicide experience, at the time I thought it
was the right thing for me to do. The only viable alternative. Even though now I can
look back and realize I was so terribly wrong. Suicide is truly a permanent solution
to one of life's many temporary problems. But when someone is so tangled up in
crisis or depression, sometimes it's impossible to step back and see things from a
clearer perspective. Yes, even Christians. At sixteen, I had been a Christian for
three years, raised in the Church by a faithful Christian mother, and I was very
active in my church at the time. But I was completely overwhelmed by my crisis.
Unfortunately, too many suicide victims succeed. It's not your fault. Nothing, and I
repeat, nothing you could have done would necessarily have changed the final
outcome. You can't go through life beating yourself up over it, for this was a choice
made by someone other than yourself. They took their life into their own hands.
I know this, for I've been there. I had a few friends who knew the details of my
situation, who witnessed my despair and depression, who tried to reason with me,
who loved me. I had family who loved me, but I struggled to isolate them from the
problems, thinking I was preventing them from so much grief. They had no way of
knowing at that time what was going on in my head.
Only by the grace of God, as I lay in my bed gasping for breath, crying out in my
thoughts to Jesus that I didn't really want to die, did the good Lord reach down and
save me from myself. I've wondered many times over why He chose not to let me
die. Maybe it was Divine intervention. Maybe I just didn't take enough pills at the
time to do the trick. Maybe my will to live was so much greater than my will to die. I
just don't have that answer.
But I do know this one thing for absolute certain. God loves you.
Spend some time in prayer and let Him comfort your aching heart. Let Him cover
you in that peace that surpasses human understanding. Trust in His promises to
you, found in the scriptures (there are nearly 5,000 of them). Don't judge your loved
one based on your knowledge of what you believe were their innermost thoughts ~
but allow God to be the only judge. Remember the good times you shared with
your loved one. Live close to the Lord for all your remaining days. If you do these
things, the day will come when you will arrive at Heaven's gates. Only then will all
of the answers truly be made known to you.
God bless you.
It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore judge nothing before the appointed time;
wait till the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will
expose the motives of men's hearts. ~ I Corinthians 4:4-5
|Suicide ~ The Questions
© Ferna Lary Mills
|A Christian Grief Ministry