Straight Talk

The Question:

Can a person that commits suicide enter into heaven?

MJ from Chattanooga, TN

The Answer
Part 1: Judge of the Heart

Judge of the Heart (Part 1)

I believe the right answer is “sometimes.” I hope that doesn’t sound too wishy-washy and I will try to explain further. Actually, the true answer is that we really do not know. We often judge that a person is in heaven or hell after they die but it is only God who knows the truth. I often wonder how surprised we will be when we get there and can see for ourselves who is present or absent.

Let’s start by settling who goes to heaven under any circumstances. We do not enter by our own good works or by trying all our life to be a good person. We enter by appropriating the blood of Jesus to our sins and receiving the grace he offers to cover them. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 3:23-24)

Therefore, suppose a person who has genuinely received Jesus as Savior takes their own life? The argument against them going to heaven is that committing suicide is a huge sin and once they are dead there is no opportunity to repent of it. Unless you believe that “once saved always saved” (which I do not believe) you may come to the conclusion that there is no hope of heaven for that person.

I believe there is still hope. Yes, it is true that taking your own life is a grievous sin. Certainly it is the ultimate act of rebellion. God has given us life as a precious gift. “And in Thy book they were all written, the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them.” (Psalm 139:16) Who are we to take our life in our own hands?

If a person genuinely commits suicide as an act of rebellion and rejection of Christ then I think they miss heaven. But is that always the case? I remember the brother-in-law of a close friend of mine. He knew Christ as Savior but he also struggled with mental and emotional illness. The day came when he lost that long hard battle and committed suicide. I always felt his family will see him again and that now he is completely healed of the demons which plagued him on earth.

I’m not sure if your question is hypothetical or personal. Maybe you have had someone you love take that irreversible step and your heart is anxious and grieved. If so, be comforted with this: “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel 16:7)