SUICIDE and HEAVEN
I am frequently asked by people if their loved ones are damned to hell because they died by taking their own life. I am posting this in response to that question. These are might thoughts after much prayer asking for wisdom and guidance, with input from mentors and friends who are pastors and in ministry, and from lots of studying and research about what the Bible states in regards to this matter.
This is an area where I tread lightly. I don't wish for this ever to be taken as an escape clause for someone who is contemplating suicide. Suicide is never the answer. It is never what God wants for anyone. I do believe it is a sin. It causes a life time of incredible pain for those left behind. I believe there is always hope with God. I believe He helps us to endure things we could never do on our own...He can help us overcome , no matter how great a person's physical or emotional pain is, or how hopeless their situation looks.
I have been around more people than I can count who were suicidal...some completed suicide, others didn't...some went on to find their lives got better and they were grateful they hadn't been successful and others struggled with depression and suicidal thoughts for years...I've seen the despair and pain people feel up close...the bottom line to what I've seen for anyone who was suicidal was they just wanted the pain to end and they didn't think they could carry on one more minute with it...I have also seen the pain of those who are left behind...I have received far too many letters and had too many long, agonizing talks with with grieving family members whose pain was compounded because they had been told that their loved ones are in hell because they took their life...many families have been shunned by friends and churches and their already broken hearts are crushed further by the harsh answers and comments they've received as to where their loved ones will spend eternity.
I am always prayerful about any advice or counsel I share. I never want to lead anyone astray or give anyone false hope or speak anything but sound Biblical truth, even if it is painful to hear. Many Biblical scholars, pastors and teachers I respect, know and have studied under, are on the same page with what they teach and how they interpret the scriptures on this subject, so I am sharing that position for your prayerful consideration as you search for answers.
The prevailing thought that many have is that anyone who takes their life would not go to heaven because their last act while alive was committing murder, so they would die with unconfessed sin. Many consider suicide to be "the unpardonable sin" or "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit... BUT, many Biblical scholars and men of God such as Billy Graham, Chuck Swindoll, Chuck Smith and Charles Stanley all believe that suicide is not the unpardonable sin. They believe that if someone commits suicide, they are not in their right mind and we have a compassionate Heavenly Father who understands what they were going through... especially if they have a mental illness where they struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts. Those thoughts and issues are very common among those with psychological and neurological disorders. I believe the Bible teaches that from the moment we truly believe in Christ and ask Him to be our Savior and Lord of our life, we receive eternal life (John 3:16). We are not saved by works or or deeds, but by faith in Jesus who makes salvation possible. Consider these scriptures as well (1 John 5:13), (Romans 8:38-39). Here is more on the topic of salvation
Here are the few Biblical references of suicide in the Bible:
Abimelech (Judges 9:54),
Saul (1 Samuel 31:4),
Saul's armor-bearer (1 Samuel 31:4-6),
Ahithophel (2 Samuel 17:23),
Zimri (1 Kings 16:18), and
Judas (Matthew 27:5).
Five of them were wicked, sinful men (not enough is said regarding Saul's armor-bearer to make a judgment as to his character). Some consider Samson an instance of suicide (Judges 16:26-31).
Here are some videos you might find helpful.