My Grief Care

Questions Grieving Christians Ask

8 Episodes

Episode 6 : Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?


Episode Notes

Is Suicide an Unforgivable Sin?

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, you know better than me the sense that an emotional wrecking ball slammed into your family. All losses are terribly hard, but some elements of a loss by suicide can make your grief more complex.

As a therapist, I’ve worked with many suffering family members grieving the loss of their loved one to suicide. The loss itself crushes them, as the impact of unanswered questions, the shock, the guilt, the sense of stigma, and the self-doubt that most often follows a loved one’s death by suicide. And some family and friends also worry that their loved one may have committed an unforgivable sin.

But is suicide an UNFORGIVABLE sin? It seems clear that suicide is a sin, just as murder is a sin. Both involve the wrongful taking of a life. But virtually all biblical scholars do NOT believe that death by suicide is an UNFORGIVABLE sin. Here’s part of their reasoning: the bible tells us that all people who put their faith in Jesus Christ will be saved and have eternal life because our sins are forgiven. It also tells us that ALL sins can be forgiven other than blaspheming the Holy Spirit (which does not refer to suicide). And it tells us that NOTHING can separate us from God. Scripture seems crystal clear on these points.

You can rest in the promises of Jesus. But you might wonder, where was God when your loved one was in their most desperate moment? I believe he was right there with your loved one, but your loved one was in too much psychological distress in those moments. God felt their pain, confusion, shame and desperation. I believe God’s heart was breaking in response to your loved one’s pain. God created us all with the gift of free will. The curse of free will, however, is that he cannot override our free will to prevent us from doing evil to others – or ourselves.

I hope you receive some small comfort in clarifying that suicide is not an unforgivable sin. I also want to emphasize a point Anne-Marie and I consider so important and often gets lost in the aftermath of a suicide. 

Your loved one means SO MUCH MORE than their final act of desperation. It is essential that their life not be DEFINED by their death. We ALL do well to remind ourselves to gradually focus our thoughts and memories on how a person lived and less on how they died. It may take time to sort that all out. But it is important to keep in mind. 

Please remember you can download and print out the Episode Notes, including the key points and some scriptural references pertaining to this episode.