The Lasting Impact of Suicide
Erin: Can you shed any light on what God's Word teaches on the subject of suicide?
Kim: I hesitated to address this question because I know it is one that evokes much emotion and one where there is considerable disagreement within the church. So if you could, please accept me as one "whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters" (Rom 14:1).
So here goes. I do feel comfortable sharing with you where I am (as a fellow sojourner) on the issue of "Can someone who has professed to be a believer commit suicide and go to heaven?" Let me begin by telling you the first question I asked our pastor after he came to see me (after just learning of Rick's death) was, "Is Rick in heaven?" Our pastor had prayed the prayer of salvation with Rick a few short months before his death. My pastor told me, "Yes, Rick is in heaven because nothing can take him out of the Father's hand." He used the verses in Romans 8:31–39. For the most part, I believe my pastor's take on this. I loved Rick dearly, and I want to believe this. However, I do not believe it was God's will for Rick to take his life. I don't believe it is ever anyone's right to take their own lives. I know the boys and I have suffered and that suicide is an incredibly selfish act with many victims.
I will share with you what I tell my boys: "Yes, I believe Rick is in heaven, but what he did was wrong. He forfeited many blessings and many crowns to lay at our Father's feet." When they ask me if I am sure, I tell them "for the most part." And for the most part, I am sure because of Scripture. Everything in me certainly hopes that he is in heaven. However, I do not want the boys or anyone else to ever think we have the right to take our own life or that it is ever the right choice. My boys are older now (almost 18 and 16), and they have encountered many folks who want to tell them they are sure no one can commit suicide and go to heaven. This has been incredibly hard on them and on me as their mom. However, God has helped to have peace in this area. I rest in the fact that God is all good and He knows even though I cannot say I know one hundred percent, I still trust Him and I still run to Him. He has all the answers and that is enough for me-whether He chooses for me to know them or not.
Erin: From someone who has lived through the consequences of someone else's decision to end their life, what would you say to someone who is considering that route right now?
Kim: Stop!!! Don't do it. Whatever trouble or heartache you are facing right now is temporary. I know you don't think that now, but in a few days, weeks, or months life will probably look much different. It may very well be something awful you are facing and it may seem hopeless, but life has a way of not staying the same. It is not always good, but it is not always bad either. Hang in there. It is worth it. God has amazing things planned for you.
Tell someone what you are thinking! (Note: You can find a list of suicide prevention hotlines at the end of this post). We all need folks to encourage us and help hold us up when life gets hard, and that is okay. Your life is a gift from God, and you don't have the right to end it. You might go to heaven, but are you sure? Are you sure if you took your life that you would? As much as I wish I could tell you I am sure Rick is in heaven (and believe me, I have searched the Scriptures), I can't say with one hundred percent certainty. I think he is, but I know he has missed so much here on earth. What would you miss if you chose to die...a wedding one day? Kids? Christmas mornings? Seeing your child go to kindergarten? Friends and family who love you?
Maybe you say you aren't looking forward to anything, and you believe you will go to heaven. But what about those crowns you are to earn to throw at your Savior's feet (Rev. 4:10)? What about all He has planned for you to do (Jer. 29:11)? What about that person who might never know Him if you didn't come into their life? Oh, friend, God loves you and adores you (Jer. 31:3). He will be your strength (Phil. 4:13). He is a very present help in times of trouble (Ps. 46:1). He is hope for the hopeless. He will forgive anything you have ever done (1 John 1:9), and He will be your rock (Ps. 18:2). He tells us all this in His Word, and He means what He says. He is faithful. You can count on Him.
Erin: What specific hope can you offer someone who feels like life is not worth living?
Kim: I've been there. I was so in love, head-over-heels-smitten with my husband. He babied me. He took care of me, and when he died, I wanted to die, too. But I am so glad that I never followed through with those thoughts the Enemy was throwing at me. I am blessed beyond measure, and I found (in God) an incredible peace and steadiness that no person, no circumstance, no all-problems-fixed could ever give me.
My kids, my family, and my friends would have been devastated if I took my life, and so would yours. You might not believe that now, but I can't imagine anything hurting worse than someone you love taking their own life. And you may want to hurt someone because you have been hurt, but that is just stupid. God has better for you than that. He died for you. He would have died just for you. Your life was bought with a very expensive price as the King of Glory left a throne in heaven to die for you. You are incredibly valuable to Him. Your life is worth living...it is a great adventure! There will be ups, and there will be downs, but God has great plans for you... exceedingly abundantly more than you can ask or imagine. You don't want to miss it! He loves you soooo much.