By Edwin Christiaan | January 30, 2019

There is a disturbing trend lately of pastors who commit suicide. The Scriptures say,

Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? Ecclesiastes 7:17 NKJV

In the Bible, we can read of seven accounts of people who committed suicide:

Abimelech (See Judges 9:54) – To avoid the shame of death at the hands of a woman.

Samson (See Judges 16:29-31) – By collapsing a building, Samson sacrificed his own life, but in the process destroyed thousands of enemy Philistines.

Saul and His Armor Bearer (See 1. Samuel 31:3-6) – After losing his sons and all of his troops in battle, and his sanity long before, King Saul, assisted by his armor-bearer, ended his life. Then Saul’s servant killed himself.

Ahithophel (See 2. Samuel 17:23) – Disgraced and rejected by Absalom, Ahithophel went home, put his affairs in order, and then hung himself.

Zimri (See 1. Kings 16:18) – Rather than being taken prisoner, Zimri set the king’s palace on fire and died in the flames.

Judas (See Matthew 27:5) – After he betrayed Jesus, Judas Iscariot was overcome with remorse and hung himself.

In each of these instances, except that of Samson, suicide is not presented favorably. These were ungodly ‘evil’ men acting in desperation and disgrace. Samson’s case was different. And while his life was not a model for holy living, Samson was honored among the faithful heroes of Hebrews 11. Samson’s final act was therefore an example of martyrdom, a sacrificial death that allowed him to fulfill his God-assigned mission.

It is interesting to note that in the case of Judas Iscariot, Jesus said the following about him:

I chose the twelve of you, but one is a devil. He was speaking of Judas, son of Simon Iscariot, one of the Twelve, who would later betray him.John 6:70-71 NLT

Judas walked with Jesus three years in the ministry – he was even His treasurer – and yet, Judas ended up betraying Jesus and committing the evil act of suicide! None of the other disciples did such a thing! The Bible also says about Judas that, “he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.” (John 12:6 NLT)

According to the Bible, suicide is murder, inspired by the Devil, and therefore it is a sin against God. At one point, Jesus said the following to the people who were rebelling against Him: 

You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.John 8:44 NKJV

This means that just like in Judas’s case, it is possible to be in the ministry for many years – even have an important position like that of a pastor – and yet not be chosen and appointed by Jesus to fulfill His calling, and instead end up living a defeated and dark life, leading others into deception! 

It is never God’s intention to appoint a pastor who is depressed and suicidal to lead His flock – no matter how good someone’s motives might have been in the beginning. When Jesus chose and appointed His disciples, they all ended up doing the will of God! The same goes for anyone else who has been chosen by God.

Jesus also said:

You have heard that the law of Moses says, ‘Do not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.’ Matthew 5:21 NLT

In another Scripture it says,

But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. 1. John 3:8-9 NLT

There is no circumstance that can justify a Christian taking his or her own life. Christians are called to live their lives for God, and the decision of when to die, is up to God and God alone.

Many of the great men of God in the Bible faced overwhelming depression and sometimes wrote that they wished they had never even been born, or merely wished to die. King David, for instance, said this to God:

How long must I struggle with anguish in my soul, with sorrow in my heart every day? How long will my enemy have the upper hand? Turn and answer me, O LORD my God! Restore the light to my eyes, or I will die. Psalm 13:2-3 NLT

The prophet Jeremiah reached a low point in his life, when he said:

Yet I curse the day I was born! May the day of my birth not be blessed. I curse the messenger who told my father, “Good news — you have a son!” Let him be destroyed like the cities of old that the LORD overthrew without mercy. Terrify him all day long with battle shouts, for he did not kill me at birth. Oh, that I had died in my mother’s womb, that her body had been my grave! Why was I ever born? My entire life has been filled with trouble, sorrow, and shame. Jeremiah 20:14-18 NLT

And Job, who lost all his children and himself was struck with sickness, desperately said:

I would rather die of strangulation than go on and on like this. I hate my life. I do not want to go on living. Job 7:15-16 NLT

Even though these men faced great suffering and injustice, they kept their faith in God and His goodness, and in so doing, they were sustained and blessed by God.

Another example is that of the prophet Elijah who ran into the desert, wanting to die after receiving a letter from Queen Jezebel threatening to kill him. (See 1. King 19:1-9)

Elijah was temporarilyovercome with a type of depression that made him panic and run! But wishing to die to escape your problems is not the same as contemplating how to commit suicide. Many people get temporarilyoverwhelmed by a difficult situation, and in Elijah’s case, an angel of the Lord came and sustained him by giving him supernatural food that strengthened him to take courage and get up. After this episode, the Bible doesn’t say he suffered from any more episodes of depression and never that it was over a longer period of time. As a matter of fact, he resumed his duties as a prophet with great power!

The act of suicide never takes place apart from demonic influences driving one to take their own life, and no one commits suicide in the presence of others (unless it is terrorism related). This also shows how demons always seek to isolate an individual from others to drive them to despair. We know that Satan’s sole purpose is to “steal and kill and destroy.” (John 10:10 NLT)

That is why suicide is directly contrary to the will of God, as Jesus Christ, the Savior, said:

My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. John 10:10 NLT

For we are not our own masters when we live or when we die. While we live, we live to please the Lord. And when we die, we go to be with the Lord. So in life and in death, we belong to the Lord. Christ died and rose again for this very purpose, so that He might be Lord of those who are alive and of those who have died. Romans 14:7-9 NLT