This writing was prompted by an article I read a few days ago. It asserted that Suicide is not unpardonable sin and sufficient grounds for hell. This view was defended by purporting that, in spite of Samson’s committing suicide, he still got listed as one of the heroes of faith in Hebrews chapter 11.
Is the basis of this proposition true? The scriptures doesn’t testify to the theory of Samson committing suicide. No person who committed suicide in the bible is listed in Hebrews 11.
Here is the list of those who committed suicide: Saul, king of Israel and his armour bearer 1 Samuel 31:3-6, Ahithophel 2 Samuel 17:23, Zimri 1 Kings 16:18-19 and Judas Matthew 27:5. Add Samson’s name to this list and he will stand out as a sore thumb. His rightful place is in Hebrews 11, among those whose walk with God was amended.
From Genesis to Revelation, the gem is in the standing up again, not in the falling down and staying there or ending it all.
Samson requested strength from God in verse 28 of Judges 16 and verse 29 is an interlude to show that God answered swiftly and Samson swung into action. Then, verse 30 started with a conjunction, making it a continuation of Samson’s request in verse 28. This means that Samson made two request of God.
The first request was for strength with which to avenge the Philistines who were Israel’s rivals. His request was not for power with which to kill himself.
The second request was for God to let him die along with the Philistines. Samson probably felt he had completed his God given assignment as a Judge of the Israelites for twenty years and didn’t want to continue judging Israel as a blind man.
It is doubtful his request of God to let him die can pass as a suicide. God could have decided to preserve his life amid the wreckage regardless of his request to die.
David at one time also requested to die but, it is God’s discretion to answer our prayers one way or the other 1 Kings 19:4. In this case, He kept him alive. In another scenario, Hezekiah requested for extension of his live and got it 2 Kings 20:1-6. Simeon is another example in Luke 2: 28-30. God is sovereign!
If the assertion that Samson committed suicide is upheld and in spite of it, he was mentioned in Hebrews 11 as one of the heroes of faith then, it’ll be an affirmation that suicide is legitimate though appalling. In which case, what we need to be concerned about is the motivation for choosing suicide—whether the motive is right or wrong. This will be a dangerous phenomenon.
My persuasion on the issue of suicide whether it involves a professing Christian or non-Christian is that it should be discussed with lots of genuine love and heartfelt sympathy. The reason to apply gracious love is because it concerns a departed soul and for the sake of the grieving and pain the families and friends will be going through. The departure of any soul always brings mixed feelings of sorrow, pain and joy.
Before continuing, it’s apt to emphasize that Christians are not permitted under any heading to kill anyone intentionally according to (The law of the spirit of life in Christ) New Testament. It’s a serious issue in God’s heart—so much so that he regards hatred as murder.
Therefore, how could it ever be right in God’s sight for anyone to commit suicide? It’s difficult to grasp Ephesians 5:29a.
What exactly was commendable about Samson’s action, bearing in mind that the Philistines were more often than not at war with Israel, whom Samson represented as a Judge Judges 16:31b? Obviously, it was not him killing himself. What was praised is Samson’s faith that resulted in victory for his people Judges 16:30. It’s along these lines that Samson and others were mentioned in Hebrews 11: 17-36. Each of them had extreme rough times and overcame through their unflinching faith. Overcomers are a tested company—not extraordinarily favoured people.
It’s unfortunate that a Christian or anyone for that matter should suffer depression but is a reality. It’s like any other sickness. Servants of God both in the Old and New Testaments and in our time, have suffered depression. Prophets and kings, Paul the apostles, Spurgeon and many others. It needs not end in suicide.
Being a Christian is not the only way but is the greatest and surest protection against depression from leading to suicide.
So, is suicide a sin punishable by hell? In my opinion, Yes! Avoiding suicide at all costs is a safer option by miles.
Does it mean that everyone that has committed suicide has gone to hell? Frankly, I don’t know the answer. What happened between God and each of those individuals’ in their final moment is unknown to us. However, let each person have His conviction Romans 14:23.
The bible clearly state that we Christians don’t know the answer to everything. Put differently, we know in part—as a people who see though dimly. Therefore, unashamedly, we can be relaxed to say we don’t yet know an answer to some matters.
The final arbiter as per the fate of a person who committed suicide will be God’s.
Suicide is a regrettable waste of the precious gift of life–given to us to steward by God.
Whilst it is only fitting to approach these kind of matters with genuine love and deepest sympathy, it doesn’t seem right to provide a cheap biblical reason to console us when we’re grieving over our loved ones who unfortunately reached the dark alley of suicide.
No matter our views, to put forth our comments in the guise of giving the truth “in love” at a time others are grieving the loss of their loved ones especially through suicide, speaks volumes of our understanding and participation in Christ’ nature or virtue of “speaking the truth in love”.
All this said, the most important thing that counts at the end of the day, is for us humans to do whatever we can to help one another not to walk down the staircase of suicide.
Finally, as a reminder to those grieving over bereavement and especially of this kind, be rest assured that God is with you and He is your strength. Whilst there are many miserable comforters, there’s always “The Comforter”, the person of the Holy Spirit! Depend on Him. Shalom!