Nowhere in the Bible does it say that suicide is an unforgivable sin.
In fact, whenever the Bible describes suicides, it does so in a matter-of-fact, straightforward way, as accounts of lives where something has gone wrong.
There are seven suicides in the Bible, from King Saul to Judas. While all of them are tragic, the Bible doesn’t say that those who took their lives prematurely are separated from God for eternity. In fact, Samson died at his own hand, but he is still recorded in Hebrews 11:32 among the hall of the faithful.
Part of the result of living in a fallen world is that things are broken. Sometimes, things go wrong with our brain chemistry, and people fall into depression or mental illness. They are not necessarily making a choice the way we normally think of making a choice. We needn’t blame somebody for dying because something went wrong with their body; nor should we blame someone for dying because something went wrong in their mind.
The biblical narrative reveals a Creator-God whose fundamental orientation towards the broken is one of deep compassion. Scripture portrays God as one who shepherds those who need His care, who seeks and saves the lost. Romans 8:38–39 declares that neither life nor death—not even death by suicide—can separate us from the love of God in Christ.
Ultimately, we can entrust our loved ones to God’s care. We should steer clear of spending excessive time agonising about our loved one’s destiny. Better off relinquishing them to God and His mercy.
Sometimes, we may wonder where God is in the midst of our pain. I am grateful that the biblical picture of God is not of a cold, distant, abstract God. Rather, the God of the Bible is one who understands human suffering. In Jesus, God became flesh and dwelt among us, experiencing all our human pains and griefs. And Jesus himself was the Suffering Servant, who experienced untold agony as He died on the cross. Our God is a suffering God, and He stands in solidarity with suffering humanity.
But that’s not all. God also makes a way through suffering: after the crucifixion comes the resurrection! The Christian story proclaims that death does not have the final word. In the resurrection of Jesus, God has defeated the powers of death and decay, and is making all things new.
As Christians, we participate in the resurrection. We have hope of a new life beyond this one. Death is not the end of the story.
A story at the end of the Gospel of Luke gives us encouragement. After the death of Jesus, two pilgrims are walking home on the road to Emmaus. They’re still in shock, grieving the loss of their rabbi and friend. They thought He would be their saviour, that He would redeem Israel. But now, He’s dead and gone. How could this have happened? How could they go forward from here?
As they’re walking and grieving, trying to make sense of the death of their beloved teacher, a stranger comes alongside them on the road. They begin to talk, and he shares from the Scriptures how the Messiah would suffer. They come to their home and invite the stranger in to stay with them. As they have a meal together, the stranger breaks bread, and in that moment, their eyes are opened, and they recognise Jesus (see Luke 24:30–32).
As they journeyed through their grief, they felt God’s absence. But Jesus was still present with them, even though they hadn’t recognised Him yet. That’s the way it is in grief sometimes. It’s one of the paradoxes of Christian faith; when God seems most absent, He is actually most present with us. In our suffering and pain, our suffering Saviour draws near to us.