Why Suicide Doesn’t Always Lead To Hell

Anthony Bourdain and Kate Spade are just two of the many people and/or celebrities who have committed suicide in the just the last year. It’s heartbreaking to say the least, and I believe our society and culture is in need of a great awakening in regards to priorities, mental health awareness, and the love of God. My heart breaks for the family of Anthony and Kate, and I’m praying God will cover them with nothing but peace and comfort.

While observing the many comments and articles related to suicide in response to the recent deaths of Anthony and Kate, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were quick to point out what many believe are their eternal destinies. “Anyone who commits suicide ends up in hell” said one Twitter user, while another said, “Suicide is an unforgivable sin.”

I’m writing this post because I want people to understand that these statements couldn’t be more wrong. In fact, they’re ill-thought and without proper biblical understanding. Did Anthony and Kate commit their lives to Christ, even in their last moments of pain and suffering? I hope so. But only God knows. And I’m not here to judge whether or not they did. No. I’m here to discuss something quite different.

Those who say suicide automatically leads to hell obviously don’t understand the totality of mental health issues in today’s world, let alone understand the basic theology behind compassion and God’s all-consuming grace. Heaven is a place for people who have a personal relationship with Jesus, not a just a place for people who didn’t commit suicide. We must do better at educating people on things they have a hard time wrapping their heads around. And mental health is definitely topic Christians around the world must yearn to better understand.

Mental Health Issues

As terrible as it sounds, mental health issues can lead many people to do things they wouldn’t otherwise do if they didn’t struggle. If you don’t believe me, I’d encourage you to get to know someone with PTSD, Alzheimer’s, or OCD so that you can better understand where I’m coming from. As someone who’s struggled with severe depression throughout most of my life, and contemplated suicide on multiple occasions, I can assure you that what I’m saying is true.

The reality is, you wouldn’t dare say that someone who died of cancer is going to hell just because of their illness would you? I hope not. Then please don’t assume someone who died of suicide via severe depression is going to hell either. Both are illnesses. Both can lead to death. The deciding factor for someone entering heaven vs. hell in regards to Christianity is this: Knowing Jesus as your personal Lord and savior. And guess what? There are many who know Jesus as Lord yet still suffer with and illness such as severe depression and other mental health issues.

  • Does God approve of suicide? Nope!
  • Does God view suicide as a bad thing? Yup!
  • Is God’s grace sufficient even for those who have committed suicide? Yup!

Some Statistics

1. Over 80% of people who are clinically depressed are not receiving treatment.

2. The number of people diagnosed with depression increases by 30% every year. 

3. An estimated 121 million people around the world suffer from depression.

4. In 2013 41,149 suicides were reported, making suicide the 10th leading cause of death for Americans

5. In 2013 someone died by suicide every 12.8 minutes.

Suicide doesn’t lead people to hell. Not knowing Jesus as Lord and Savior does. And while suicide is in fact a sin that will judged by God, so is stealing, cheating, and lying. And these are all sins that all Christians commit on a daily basis, yet they don’t necessarily keep someone out of eternity in heaven. But want know what will keep someone out of heaven? Not knowing Jesus as one’s personal Lord and Savior. Thats just Bible 101.

“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”—John 3:16

Stop telling people that suicide leads to hell. It’s bad theology and proof one doesn’t understand the basic psychology surrounding mental health issues. In closing, we must understand God hates suicide just as much as the next person. Why? Because it defies God’s yearning for the sanctity of life. But while suicide is not something God approves of, no mess is too messy for the grace of Jesus. This includes suicide.

If you or someone you know is thinking about harming yourself/themselves or attempting suicide, reach out to someone who can help right away. Call the toll-free, 24-hour hotline of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK to be connected to a trained counselor at a suicide crisis center nearest you.

If you are looking for a licensed Christian counselor in your area, please visit our Anthem of Hope website.

—Jarrid Wilson

Published by Jarrid Wilson

Husband, Father, Pastor at Harvest Christian Fellowship & Author of a few books.

26 comments on “Why Suicide Doesn’t Always Lead To Hell”

  1. I am trying to wrap my head around this. So if I lie or cheat or …….I can pray and ask for forgiveness and repent. If I commit suicide I can’t do that. I am not trying to challenge you, I really want to understand.

    1. The judgment of suicide is ultimate between you and God. I don’t know the answer for each circumstance. But I do know mental health is something different to be understood.

      1. Thank you God bless you
        My dad took his life… he hung himself. I was 12yrs old & I couldn’t reach to cut the rope…
        my late Spiritual father Dr D James Kennedy once told me that Sanity from insanity is a hairline away.
        He’s the only one that gave me a lil hope that my precious father is in Heaven.

    2. Glenda, I’m glad you asked that question. It was going through my mind the whole time I was reading the article. I guess this is where faith comes in for family members…that even if their loved one did take their own life, if they claimed Jesus as Lord and Savior, they would still be reunited in Heaven.

    3. Lets say someone lies or cheats and then before that person can ask for forgiveness he or she got into an accident and dies. Then in this specific situation it will be the same case as committing suicide, right? No more chance of asking for forgiveness. Am I making things more complicated… but well I think, there is this one time conversion that we had where we know we are sinful and ask for God to forgive us, a one time deal where we invite God into our life, and then there is this daily sins that we have to keep asking for forgiveness daily because we are still in our flesh and cannot stop sinning. I would think that suicide is like the latter (assuming the person already received Christ as his or her personal savior), where we struggle with sin and sometimes we overcome them with His strength while sometimes (or most of the times) we fail. Not that having depression means failing, but because we fail in our decision making to choose a godly outcome (and I am also not saying that when depression strikes, we for sure have that ability to choose because when you hit a really low key you really can’t. This is another whole discussion.) but if you see suicide as a mere sinful act and death is the consequence of that choice, then I think you can also compare that to many sinful acts that ends in deaths (spiritual, emotional). But then again, there are so many things that we don’t know for sure because our sense of justice is not perfect. In the end, we can only trust that God is a merciful God and He knows what He is doing and i truly believed that if He already died for us once then He will do everything in His power to win our souls, and He will do all these without compromising His righteousness. Ok I’m going to stop the discussion here 😂 just my humble two cents.

      1. As someone who jad an adult brother take his own life, Pastor Greg Laurie personally ministered the words that God daily covers our sins, even the ones we don’t always realize.
        I appreciate Pastor Chuck Smith’s question that shows each of us where we are in understanding the grace and finished work of the cross of Jesus Christ: “If you have lived a life following and loving God and are one day struck down by a car as you criss the street and then curse the car and then immediately die after, does that reaction alone keep you out of heaven?”

      2. Asking for forgiveness after receiving Jesus is not what makes you earn forgiveness. The fact is God forgave you all your life time sins. Because Jesus took the punishment for all sins once and for all. So confessing your sins after Jesus has paid for them already is not what earns you forgiveness. You are already forgiven from the moment you accepted Jesus as your Lord and Savior. You are eternally secure in the love of God. Nothing, not even death (by suicide) can undo what Jesus has done on the cross.

    4. Hi Glenda. The way I look at it is, that when you die, I’m pretty sure we all will have unforgiven sin. Wether it is a bad word, a lie, or even taking your own live. If you believe and know the Lord, we know He loves us no matter what we do. Also, many that do this are sick, not thinking clearly. I don’t believe the Lord that loves us and died for us, would send you to hell for this. As long as you have truly accepted the Lord as your savior, you will be with Him one day. Hope this helps and the Lord open your heart ❤️

  2. Please note Matt 26 :verse 38 and Mark 34: verse 14 New International
    Version : At the garden of Getthemane .Jesus : “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death” he said to them. “Stay here and keep watch” Additionally, many people forget that many of our military veterans suffer from suicidal thoughts due to a number of deployments and experiences in war zones .

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