Will a Christian who takes his own life be in heaven? First of all, let’s discuss why a person who is a devout believer would do such a thing. The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick” (Prov. 13:12, NKJV). Hope is the positive expectation that something good will occur and the belief that bad things will not always be as they are.
For example, Job became so despondent that he cursed the day he was born (see Job 3:1-11). However, he also looked forward and held on to his trust in God, who eventually blessed him with twice as much in the end (see Job 42:10). A person can also experience weak faith, as did the disciples on occasions (see Matt. 8:26).
However, when hope is delayed, then the heart begins to feel sick. A sense of doom and despair will take root. Some see taking their life as a form of escape from the pressure they are feeling. As believers, we must never lose hope. We must surround ourselves with praying individuals during our weak moments, knowing that our trials have value (see 1 Pet. 1:7).
In the Bible there are three examples of people who took their own lives: King Saul (see 1 Sam. 31:4), Ahithopel (see 2 Sam. 17:23) and Judas Iscariot (see Matt. 27:5). In all three instances these men were not believers but were in complete rebellion against God and spiritual leadership. These examples are not the same as a person who loves the Lord yet has fought a hopeless spirit.
In some instances there have been Christian people who were on a very high level of medication that actually caused severe confusion and depression in their minds. If a person had no clue what he or she was doing because of legal medication that somehow clashed with their thinking, then God will judge according to each circumstance.
It is very important for us never to take the risk of what lies beyond if we take our own life. It is the unknown that often forms a restraint in the hearts of those who battle depression and anxiety. The thought of the judgment or perhaps not being a part of the eternal kingdom restrains a believer from saying, “I am finished with life.”
Hold on to your hope. Bad things today are changeable tomorrow, and the Lord said He would go with you even to the end of the world.
How will God judge soldiers who had to kill during wartime? First of all, there are two distinct Hebrew words translated in the English Bible for kill. The word used in the commandment “Thou shall not kill” (Ex. 20:13, KJV) is the Hebrew word ratsach, meaning, “to dash in pieces or commit murder.” It deals with the premeditated slaying of an innocent person.
A man who would rob a home and kill the owner, kill a woman by raping her or a child by abusing him, then take his life, is a murderer. There is a difference between this immoral action and the action required to protect innocent people from a demonically controlled dictator. Had the Allies not entered Europe and fought against the Nazis during World War II, few Jews would have existed in the world today.
War is not the best choice, but at times war becomes necessary for the greater cause of humanity. In war, a soldier understands that when he is confronted with an armed enemy, it will be either his life or the life of his enemy. It is a matter of survival. In the case of a soldier who takes the life of an enemy, it would have been in self-defense and for the freedom of innocent people who were suffering in that nation.
Because America was founded on high spiritual and moral principles, our men and women enter war with certain convictions, mixed with their determination to defeat the enemy. At times these convictions, especially spiritual ones, can clash with the necessity of taking the life of an enemy geared toward the destruction of our troops and the people of their own nation.
Also there is nothing wrong with a man defending himself. Christ told His disciples that if possible, the one who had no sword should sell his garment and purchase one (see Luke 22:36). The only need for a sword would be for personal protection. If you were to come across an armed gang that stopped your car, would you allow them to beat your family and leave you in the road if you had a way to protect your loved ones? There are times when a person must protect himself, which is both a natural instinct and permitted in Scripture.
Perry Stone directs the global outreach Voice of Evangelism, based in Cleveland, Tenn., where he also serves as a bishop with the Church of God. He is the author of more than 40 books and booklets. You’ll find more on these questions and many others in his new book, Secrets From Beyond the Grave, which releases in September.
Find the answers to other tough questions about heaven at heaven.charismamag.com
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