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A Biblical View of Suicide

We looked earlier at some myths that are often carried concerning suicide. Today I want to discuss a Biblical perspective on suicide. This is needed because there is a belief that suicide is an unforgivable sin. For the purpose of this blog I will define suicide as willingly taking your own life or allowing someone else to do it for you. I want to look at a few examples of suicide in the Bible to get a better perspective on this topic.

Abimilech (Judges 9:54)
Hurriedly he called to his armor-bearer, “Draw your sword and kill me, so that they can’t say, ‘A woman killed him.’ ” So his servant ran him through, and he died.

Abimelech was the son of Gideon who had himself proclaimed king of Israel. He besieged Thebez and was struck in the head due to a woman dropping a rock on him. He knew that he was injured severely. He commanded his armour-bearer to slay him because it was a disgrace to be killed by a woman. His armour-bearer followed the order. He chose his own method of death instead of having his legacy tarnished.

Samson (Judges 16:28-30)
Then Samson prayed to the LORD, “O Sovereign LORD, remember me. O God, please strengthen me just once more, and let me with one blow get revenge on the Philistines for my two eyes.” 29 Then Samson reached toward the two central pillars on which the temple stood. Bracing himself against them, his right hand on the one and his left hand on the other, 30 Samson said, “Let me die with the Philistines!” Then he pushed with all his might, and down came the temple on the rulers and all the people in it. Thus he killed many more when he died than while he lived.
Samson had been dedicated to God since birth. He became a judge and lived faithfully toward God. He made a mistake by trusting Delilah and lost his power. He then became a slave. Samson prayed to God for strength to pull down the temple. This caused the death of many of the leading Philistines but it also caused his own death. He did this in revenge. He was attempting to make things right with God. It appears that his thinking was clear when he made this decision and he knew that his life would end in this action.
Judas (Matthew 27:5)
So Judas threw the money into the temple and left. Then he went away and hanged himself.
Judas betrays Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. He appears to feel guilty about this and hangs himself in shame.
I chose these three examples specifically because each man took his own life for different reasons, but the result was still the same. Each man died through their own will and by their own choice. Since God is the giver of all life, then their actions should be questioned. Does God give us the right to end our life when we want to? Just looking at these three examples I would have to say no. I believe that since He forbids us to take another’s life that He would not be pleased by us taking our own life. Although Samson prayed for the strength to get revenge it does not clearly state that he had the blessing of God to kill himself. I think the natural assumption then is that suicide is a sin. I believe the sin is in the choice to end a life that God has blessed us to have. He has given us dominion over the Earth and commanded us to be fruitful and multiply. God is in the business of bringing life, so to do the opposite would seem to go against His will.
Is this a forgivable sin?
The main reason people believe that suicide is an unforgivable sin is because you cannot repent of this sin once it is committed. The person who commits suicide in essence has died with unrepented sins. This almost seems like an “open and shut” case but the reality is that EVERYONE dies with sins that they have not been forgiven of. If I die in a car wreck and curse before I die I have unrepented sin. If I drown one day, but forget to apologize to my wife for being mean to her that morning then I die with unrepented sins. Without the grace of God in our lives we are all out of luck and have no hope. So this argument alone will not stand.
Please do not interpret this as me saying that suicide is a good thing to do. I believe it is a terrible way for someone to end their life because they always leave their family and friends behind as vicitims. If you are considering this path I urge you to talk to someone you trust about your feelings so that you can receive the proper help.
I realized a long time ago that I am not God. Due to this revelation I do not make it a practice of deciding who will and who will not make it to Heaven. It is important for all of us to understand that we do not know what is going on in someone’s life or mind when they take their own life. I have no idea if the person is dealing with depression, anxiety, feels trapped, or thinks this is the only way to fix their problem. Since I do not have that information and since God does I will leave it to Him to determine where they spend their eternity. I would love to hear your comments about this.
  1. Brian Nicklaus
    March 17, 2007 at 10:59 pm

    hey, king saul, too, right?

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