The following is an excerpt from my book, Why You Have Not Committed the Unforgivable Sin.
Yesterday I wrote that suicide is not the unforgivable sin.
In the past when I have taught this in various churches and conferences, I have been warned afterwards that I should not teach such things. Why not? Because even if it is true, it will encourage people to commit suicide.
Apparently, some fear that if we teach that people can go to heaven even if they commit suicide, those who are thinking about suicide will be more likely to go through with it. It is better, they say, to teach that suicide is unforgivable because this idea will hopefully keep people from committing suicide.
I strongly disagree.
We should never use a lie to encourage people to do what is right.
The truth, if properly taught, encourages right living and behavior. This also goes for the truth that suicide is forgivable.
The Truth Prevents Suicide
When a person is contemplating suicide, there are numerous things going on in their minds and lives which lead them to think that taking their life is the best solution to their problems.
They may be dealing with deep depression, or feeling that nobody loves them, or that their best years in life are behind them and every day is worse than the one before and it would be better to just end it all right now before things get even worse.
I have dealt with suicidal depression in the past, and these are some of the things I thought and felt.
One thing that helps people overcome suicidal depression and anxiety is the knowledge that they are loved, needed, and wanted. They need to know that there is hope for their future, that life will get better and is worth living.
While there are numerous possible sources for such love and hope, the greatest source of all is God. He loves us more than we can possibly know or imagine, and He has plans for our life and our future that are far beyond anything we can ask or imagine. He has a grand purpose for each one of us in life, which never includes ending our life through suicide. He has a goal and purpose for our lives on earth, and if we commit suicide, we will miss out on fulfilling His perfect plan for us.
This is the truth presented in Scripture, and this is the view of God which will help people work through their depression and anxiety about life without giving in to suicide.
Lies Do Not Prevent Suicide
But when we tell people that God will not forgive them if they commit suicide, we are giving them a terribly dangerous and destructive picture of God.
We are telling them that God only loves them and forgives them as long as they do not sin. But as soon as they do sin, they must go begging to God for forgiveness, and if they do not, He will send them to hell for eternity.
Such a God is petulant, like a spoiled child who wants everything to go his way all the time, or he won’t play. This is a power-hungry God, who wants to keep people squirming under His ever-watchful eye as He waits for them to mess up so He can pounce on sinners and condemn them to everlasting hell.
This view of God confirms to people their dark suspicion: God hates them.
Give Hope and Love to Prevent Suicide
When people are dealing with deep depression, the anxieties of life, ruined relationships, lost jobs, the death of a child or spouse, or ongoing health problems, the last thing they need is the idea that God hates them.
How much better it is to know that even though they are going through some of the worst things that can be experienced in life, God still loves them, and is still with them, and will continue to be by their side for the rest of their life and for eternity—no matter what?
This view of God does not encourage people to commit suicide, but rather encourages people to have hope for the future and to believe that there is a purpose in life for them.
So teach people that suicide is forgivable, not just because this is true, but because this it tells others what kind of God we serve.
He is a loving and compassionate God, full of understanding in our times of weakness, tenderness in our times of pain, and present with us in times of abandonment.
The knowledge of this truth will not encourage people to commit suicide, but will help keep them from it.
Learn More About the Unforgivable SinIf you have questions about whether or not you have committed the unforgivable sin, here is a whole series of posts I have done on this topic. Feel free to read them all! Please note that most of these posts were drawn from my book, Why You Have Not Committed the Unforgivable Sin, which you can purchase from Amazon for less than $6.
- Have I committed the Unforgivable Sin?
- What does Matthew 12:31-32 mean?
- Is Divorce the Unforgivable Sin?
- Is Adultery the Unforgivable Sin?
- Is Abortion Forgivable?
- Is Suicide the Unpardonable Sin?
- Can People who Commit Suicide go to heaven?
- If I Deny Christ, will He Deny Me?
- What is Blasphemy Against the Holy Spirit?
- Attributing the Works of God to the Devil is Forgivable
- Can Israel be forgiven for Rejecting Jesus?
- Is Failure to Believe in Jesus the Unforgivable Sin?
- Can God Forgive Me?
- Is Confession of Sin Required for Forgiveness?
- Is Repentance from Sin Required for Forgiveness?
- Make Sure You Never Commit the Unforgivable Sin
- More about my book on the Unforgivable Sin