Our Pages

If a Christian takes his own life, will he still go to heaven?

Weekly Q&A

If a Christian takes his own life, will he still go to heaven?
Posted on December 8, 2020  - By Dr. Scott Shiffer

In Scripture, we see several characters who struggled with overwhelming pressure and who even desired death at times. These include prominent Biblical names like Elijah, Paul, Jonah, and Solomon. Today, we understand more about mental health concerns than at any point before in history.

When people struggle with suicide, it is often because they feel trapped in a prison of their own pain. This pain is the result of trauma, anxiety, depression, and the crushing feeling that there is no way out. When people get to the point where they believe that the best possible solution for their trouble is to end their life, they are clearly not thinking correctly about their reality. In fact, they probably cannot think correctly about their reality because of all the weight they are under.

People who experience trauma typically desire to avoid experiencing similar situations again. This often leads to anxiety about situations, people, places, etc. and the result is avoidance of those things. This leads to feelings of depression because they begin to think that their trauma was their own fault and that they are alone and no one can help them.

It would be great if people felt like they could voice their concerns when these types of feelings begin, but many choose not to let anyone know their struggles out of fear of further rejection. Unfortunately, this only furthers the feelings of loneliness. When people commit suicide, their friends and family are often not even aware of the depth of the person’s struggle.

When people struggle with suicide, it is often because they feel trapped in a prison of their own pain

No sin too great

This background information is important to the question because when people take their lives, they are often not in a mental state of clarity. Is suicide wrong? Yes. Is it ever really the best answer? No. Can a Christian go through with suicide? Yes. Do Christians experience trauma? Yes. Do they struggle with mental health concerns such as depression and anxiety? Yes. Do those struggles negate the goodness of God? No. Do those struggles cause us to lose our salvation? No.

If a Christian takes his or her own life, he or she does not lose salvation. No sin causes someone to lose salvation, because no power in the world or in the spiritual realm is strong enough to take us away from the love of Christ (Romans 8:39).

When anyone — Christian or not — gives in to suicide, it is a great tragedy. All life is valuable. Death is an enemy of God. God created us to live. But we live in a fallen world where sin runs rampant and things are often not as they should be. God is renewing this world and that renewal will culminate in the return of Christ. Until then, people will face trauma, experience depression, etc.

A light for the lost

As Christians, we need to be supportive of those who struggle with mental health issues. We also need to comfort those who mourn if they lose a loved one to anything, but especially to suicide. We also need to make the church a more open and safe place for discussing mental health concerns. If people have a safe place to go and share their struggles, we might even be able to help many find other solutions to their pain.

Ultimately, God’s love is more powerful than physical death. He cares for us and is there for us, but we need to be there for one another as well. We must never shame someone for having mental health struggles or for being a victim of trauma. We all have wounds and scars on our hearts.

As a church, we must be a light to shine for Jesus to the lost and broken around us. We must share His love with those who are hurting, and we must care for them as well and help them get the help they need before it is too late.

Dr. Scott Shiffer

About Dr. Scott Shiffer

Dr. Scott Shiffer has a Ph.D. in Christian Theology from the B.H. Carroll Theological Institute and has been teaching religion classes since 2006. He leads Faith and Culture Now, an organization to help believers think biblically about culture in America. Scott has given numerous presentations, including one at Oxford. He has spoken at church retreats, youth retreats, conferences, and has taught discipleship classes for many years. Scott is married and has four children. He has a heart for helping believers draw closer to God and for aiding them as they are faced with new challenges every day.



Get a notification in your Inbox

A weekly brief of new resources and Scripture-based insights from our editorial team.