Suicide, Sin, and Salvation: Is Suicide Unpardonable?

Day 1 of 7 • This day’s reading


A Most Painful Issue

Darrin Patrick, a megachurch pastor, speaker, and author, died earlier this year. According to Seacoast Church, a multi-site megachurch in South Carolina where he was teaching pastor, he died of what appeared to be a “self-inflicted gunshot wound.”

A longtime friend of Patrick noted that pastors often don’t know what to do when they struggle. They attempt to keep up appearances and handle their struggles on their own. “We don’t feel like we can ask for help,” he said.

Anxiety is escalating in our culture. According to recent surveys, more Americans than ever before are stressed, depressed, and anxiety-ridden. Nearly forty million people in the US (18 percent) experience an anxiety disorder in any given year. Anxiety disorders are the most common and pervasive mental disorders in America.

Numerous studies have related anxiety directly to suicide. Compared to those without anxiety, patients with an anxiety disorder were more likely to have suicidal ideations, attempted suicides, completed suicides, or suicidal activities.

These were the facts, even before the pandemic that is challenging millions of Americans who face mental health issues.

According to an August 13, 2020 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in four young adults said they had considered suicide in the previous month because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Roughly 30.9 percent of respondents said they had experienced symptoms of anxiety or depression.

A recent mental distress survey found that participants were eight times as likely to screen positive for serious mental illness as participants in a similar survey two years ago. The vast majority of the 2020 participants, 70 percent, met the criteria for moderate to serious mental illness.

An article in the New England Journal of Medicine noted that during public health emergencies, “emotional distress is ubiquitous in affected populations.” And counselors warn that the isolation created by stay-at-home restrictions can especially contribute to psychological harm.

As a pastor and a theologian, I am not qualified to offer medical advice or professional counseling to those suffering from anxiety and depression. But I can offer biblical insights on the painful issue of suicide. Let’s look at this issue through the lens of Scripture.

And let’s offer others the hope and help that we find in Christ.

Apply the lesson 

  • Did you know that so many people struggle with anxiety in our country? Pray that the Lord comforts and sustains those who battle the heaviness of life today. 

  • Read Philippians 4:1–9.