Is my brother going to hell?

I get a lot of mail, much more than I can respond to. But occasionally when reading something I sense the Lord saying to me, “Hit reply and start typing.” This happened to me recently, after a reader asked me the following question:

My brother (a lifelong Christian) was diagnosed with cancer over the last year, and deteriorated to the point he couldn’t eat, talk, or use the bathroom by himself. He couldn’t even drink water without choking. A few months ago, he ended his own life. He was suffering immensely. Some pastors say suicide prevents you from going to heaven. Is this true?

I have written before on What happens to Christians who commit suicide. (The stories under that article will break your heart.) But I felt to respond personally to this reader. This is what I wrote:

Hi ____, I am so sorry for your loss. To answer your question about whether suicide stops you from going to heaven, no, that’s not true at all.

Your brother is with Jesus, and he is not suffering anymore. Have peace that his battle with cancer is over, and he is safe and secure.

Some might say he was a murderer (he killed himself) and that he is lost because he never repented, but the gospel declares the blood of Jesus paid for the sins of the whole world – including the unrepentant and suicidal (1 John 2:2). Can a Christian undo God’s forgiveness by committing suicide? No – it’s impossible. God’s gifts are irrevocable.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies” (John 11:25). Whether you die in a house fire, from an over-dose, or go down with the Titanic, Jesus said, he who believes in me will live, even though he dies.

It’s a promise.

Your friend,

Paul

I hope you appreciate I am NOT encouraging suicide. No matter what you are going through, there is always hope. Cultivate your hope in God.

If you have lost a loved one to suicide, may be you’ve heard words of condemnation or hollow comfort. Maybe you’ve been be told that the one you lost is lost for eternity.

If so, find peace in the promises of our loving Father. Allow yourself to be convinced, as Paul was, “that neither death nor life will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rms 8:38-9).

In times of grief it’s natural to feel confused and lost. At such times we can become susceptible to lies and fear. This is why it is so important to settle your heart on the truth of God’s word: Nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.

Nothing.

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33 Comments on Is my brother going to hell?

  1. Thank you.

  2. I struggle with this daily. My son died from a heroin od. He believed in Jesus. He even shared the Gospel in prison for three years before he died. But he had a very dark side to him. He had sex addictions and the need for a woman at his side and the drugs made him abusive to these women. It was a nightmare. I did not know how this amazing loving person could become so filled with hate and rage until I learned more after his death about the addiction and what it does to those who use it. Rage is common and sadly, abuse is as well. I often think, he needed sex. He almost had a Jekyll and Hyde about him and because of this addiction to sex and this need (I guess it was a secondary addiction); Satan often terrorizes me with this memory and thought that he is not in Heaven. My heart just needs peace. But I do not want a false peace. A tickling of the ear peace. What is there to be said for men and woman who live in a sinful way prior to death? ???????? A broken-hearted mom. Tomorrow he is gone 4 years and not one day goes by without this thought in my heart and mind. Help!

  3. Jenny L Beauchamp // September 12, 2019 at 2:11 am // Reply

    Thanks Paul. I am an eye witness to God’s words about suicide. I first lost my dear sister who overdosed on her own medicine; and later my dear brother who hung himself. I don’t fully understand depression, but I do know it is a disease/disorder that needs much more attention and research. After my first loss, I heard lots of “crap” about how they are lost forever. Not what a person needs (from her church family) on top of losing a loved one. So, as always, I asked God myself and I was told the very same thing…….Nothing can separate us from the love of God! No, nothing! ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! I too know my sister believed and I was a witness involved in prayer with my brother when he repented and asked Jesus to be his Savior and Life. It’s a very strange thing, but I have come to realize what courage it takes to surrender to depression and take one’s life. And I truly believe there is a moment of faith in Christ to be able to do so. Initially, I thought it was the most selfish act a person could make and I thought it was the BIGGEST rejection loved ones could feel! I love you, but not enough to stay alive! With regard to there being no forgiveness for murder, consider that there is no forgiveness because the person murdered cannot forgive (cuz they are dead) in this realm, but God is in and through all realms and God’s forgiveness trumps all of ours! Over the years, God’s grace has been more than sufficient! I have had visits with my loved ones in dreams and they are sooooo very happy, at peace, and enjoying eternal life in Christ Jesus! I encourage others to speak directly to God with all their hurt, pain and questions. Regardless of how a believer dies, what measure of faith they have when they pass over, Jesus is waiting and ready to embrace them with His abundant love. I too am sorry for those going through this right now and I encourage you to cling to your family and allow God to love you through it, and know that time does help. Blessings.

    • Thank you for sharing your story, Jenny. I know there will be many people who read it and will be encouraged by it.

    • Dear Jennifer,

      I am sorry to hear of the loss of your son. He may not of led a victorious Christian life, but if he was genuinely born again, rest assured he will be with the Lord.

    • Wow Jenny… you’ve spoken a wonderful word in season! Thank you

    • Mark Deckard // November 2, 2019 at 10:04 am // Reply

      These are the cases for which modern Christian doctrines have no answers. However we must remember it is not church doctrines that answer our questions, it is Jesus.
      The disciples once asked, “Who then can be saved?
      Jesus replied, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

      Your son is very likely with Jesus. If he is not, he will be. Gods refining fire can burn the evil and darkness out and prepare him to be reconciled unto God even after the grave.
      If it were not so, then Paul would have never said. “That at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW (Gr. worship) in heaven and on earth UNDER THE EARTH (Gr. place of the dead)
      and EVERY TOUGUE CONFESS (Gr. celebrate) that Jesus is Lord.
      This is lifted by Paul directly from Isaiah 45

      [Isa 45:22-23 NASB] 22 “Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; For I am God, and there is no other. 23 “I have sworn by Myself, The word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness And will not turn back, That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear [allegiance.]

  4. Wedsol Dummitt // September 12, 2019 at 2:20 am // Reply

    Let God be TRUE and every man false (liar)

  5. Thanks Paul, Great response on suicide or death of any kind. God fixed mankind by what he did at the cross (God in Christ).
    I love to go to 2 Cor 5:18-19, this is such a huge scripture for ALL people to know. “And all things are of God, who has reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation; to wit, that God God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them, and has committed unto us the word of reconciliation. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray in Christ’s stead, be reconciled to God.”

    • Thanks Elaine, simple truth of the good news. God in Christ has reconciled the world to Himself and commissioned us to go tell the good news. God loves us and chose to be our saviour while we were dead in our “trespasses and sin” He calls us to Himself each in his own time and we who have come to faith already are blessed to be able to participate in the process by way of sharing what He has done for us. Her brother is not going to hell.

  6. So true, may these words minister peace.

  7. Michelle L French // September 12, 2019 at 5:13 am // Reply

    Thank you Paul!

  8. so important! Peace to anyone who is grieving over this sort of heartache

  9. Thanks, Paul! I had this come up this summer. A friend came with the question because his friend, a dedicated believer, killed herself. I tried to explain that believers do have times of depression, sometimes very deep depression, and that decisions made during that time do not define them. His argument was that her last act was murder, a sin, and she did not have the opportunity to repent. Again, I tried to explain that Christ has washed away all our sins, past and future. He said he didn’t believe in “once saved, always saved.” Sigh…

  10. Hi Pastor Ellis. I’ve just read the email about a christian commiting suicide. Aren’t most christians commiting suicide in a way, by believing lies, religious lies? Bringing condemnation to ones life, by ourselves, its not a form of suicide? I totally agree with you on this matter of what happens to a christian commiting suicide, but thinking about it, the thought just came to mind.
    Many blessings Pastor.

  11. This was timely as today it is 9-11 in the U.S. of A. A lot of gentlemen and ladies sadly had a choice between two horrific ways to die 18 years ago. God bless those grieving hearts today with the comfort of the Wonderful Counselor.

  12. Jay Mer Tabugan // September 12, 2019 at 12:16 pm // Reply

    Thanks for this Pastor. I was wondering this thing also since there are many pastors committing suicide and Pastor Jarrid Wilson is in the recent news. This means a lot. Let’s continue to be the light and salt. God bless you Sir!

    • I didn’t know about Jarrid Wilson until readers started making the connection this morning. I’m heartbroken for his young family. I would hate anyone to think I posted the above article to capitalize on his death.

  13. Thank you Paul! 15 years ago, my brother did the same thing, and I have always worried about him, even thoiugh he was a Christian, (a wavering one, but a Christian nonethless)

  14. Romans 3:23-24
    for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus. I love Jarrod Wilson wife’s posted commentary of her husbands conviction.

    “I love you forever, Thomas Jarrid Wilson, but I have to say that you being gone has completely ripped my heart out of my chest…Suicide doesn’t get the last word. I won’t let it. You always said ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word’.” Quote: Juli Wilson.

    Suicides are the ultimate VICTIMS. Christ came to save victims. It is IMPOSSIBLE to me to believe that in the end, when all is said and done, Satan wins anything at all. He will be bruised in the Head and for a tiny moment of time our Christ (and we with Him), have been bruised in the heel. But in the end, our Christ wins and in my Bible he wins and we win completely. A person who is suffering to the extent that they end their own life is no different IMHO to a baby that is beyond the reach of their own mind and can not control their thoughts… Christ saved suicide victims on the cross, long before they became victims.

    ‘Hope Gets the last word. Jesus gets the last word‘

  15. To me God has got the last word. God says Dod, he will asave us. His word to this day has not been broken and never will be. My Sister at 18 died on an overdose. I was 14 then, am 62 now. I trust God no matter what others say , do or feel. I am not God, I trust God to take care of us all, somehow, someway, by his might, not any of my own or this world’s. If she not saved, okay, I trust God to have the final word in whether or not whomever is saved Not mu Choice my hope though.

    In other words, when I get there too. Whatever God says is truth, I stand in beleif to his love and mercy, given us by Son at the cross in his death once for all. That is done, all that he left is to believe or not believe and stand in this no matter what happens to us here on earth, whether good or bad. The final word is God himself in and through Son’s done work, done once for us all. so turn to belief, stand in it no matter what and see new given you from him without work to get it

    My Sister, died at age 18, my Dad at age 63, my oldest Brother at age 31. I have not to this day denied God, and will not even though I remain deserving death. I am by no means perfect, but God is and he has a gift for us all to stand in beleif to his love and mercy for us all
    Love to all

  16. Jenny L Beauchamp // September 13, 2019 at 8:22 am // Reply

    Jennifer, I’m so sorry for your loss. Please know that God is full of Grace and Wonder and loves your son so very much. I remember praying with my brother and then asked him, do you believe and his response was, “I want to”. That was enough for me and I immediately thought “Jesus loves him more, so that’s got to be enough for Him– if it is for me”. I told him that was enough for Jesus and that He was now born of Him. He had ups and downs after that, but so does everyone. God heard your son and I believe especially when he was high, when he needed Him even more. I also believe much can touch our flesh, but as a believer (with whatever measure of faith) nothing can touch our spirit that’s been sealed by God. And remember it’s not about behavior modification, just belief in Him. I encourage your to ask God your questions and know that He longs to answer you and give you His Peace in this. Blessings

  17. I have question that so many times and with dealing with mental illness have tried have tried tha S word not knowing what the out come would be and my son would never show me in GODS WORD what u just did in fear i would some day go through with it at this point in my life im not the s word GOD IS MY ROCK but i do think u for sharing !!!

  18. Jenny L Beauchamp // September 14, 2019 at 12:51 am // Reply

    There are some basic things one can do to get through the day. Get outside, get into nature, take a walk and pray. Go to to a park. I believe depression can come from too much self introspection. If I sit and think about myself and my behaviors and the pain I have caused others or what’s going wrong, etc,. I tend to get really down on myself and it’s easy to feel hopeless. That’s all flesh and flesh focused. I know mental illness, such as bi-polar, schizophrenia, etc. are different. All I can offer there is to follow your dr.’s advice, eat healthy and exercise.
    Most important, cling to God! Your prays do not return void. They just don’t. Be patient and try to live day by day. When you are down, have the goal to just make it through that day and cling to God. Whatever it takes, read scriptures, listen to praise music and sing outloud (really loud), just focus on that day and getting through it. Call and reach out to someone and let them know how you’re feeling. If you have noone, call a hotline. The people listening on the other end are just waiting to talk to you. I’m not minimalizing anyone’s pain/anxiety/depression, but at the root is fear and guilt and it’s not from God, but you need to give it all to Jesus. Just sit down and lay it all out and visualize yourself laying it at His feet. My favorite place to do this is a cemetery. I’m an outside girl and for some reason feel closer to God outside. Cemeteries are so groomed and pretty and it doesn’t matter where you plop yourself, you can cry your eyes out and even act like a 2 year old and roll around and pound on the ground. Everyone tends to leave you alone cuz it’s pretty much expected there! I know I’m quirky! Know that God can take it. Remember He was tempted in all ways– for us, and He provided a way out of each and every situation, and that is Himself. Keep talking to Him; He is with you. Blessings.

  19. Dear pastor Paul thank you for sharing the message of grace of our Lord Jesus. I believe believers who take their life go to Christ. But there is something I don’t get clear. If suiciders took their life cos of pain what of the part of scripture that says God will not let us be tempted beyond what we can bear? It means they could not bear the pain?

  20. As only God himself can reveal the trtuth to each of us to stand in beleif in trust to his love for us to see us through it all.
    As is said also, he does provide a way out, while anyone is in troubles and the thoughts flood them in anger, fear and worry over things.

    Renew the mind is what I see to turn to God to ask for the renewed mindset from the first born mindset.
    Romans 12:2, I see to ask to see God’s mindset view to us through risen Son for us after his one time death took away all sin then. For at the cross in his one time death he took away all sin upon himself to give us each new life in belief of in his risen back to life for us to rise too, in his love and mercy for us to do freely too, just a she did for us first

  21. Tad Winkler // October 8, 2019 at 9:10 am // Reply

    Paul,
    If an unborn fetus in the womb, a one year old baby, a four year old toddler, a ten year old youngster, goes straight to Heaven if it should happen to die – that’s proof enough that everyone else, regardless of age, goes to Heaven when they die.

    • That’s not proof at all, but it is directly opposed to what Jesus said (eg: John 3:16).

      • So as no one knows, in truth, whether or not anyone is saved or not in truth is God’s decision and not anyone else’s

        I agree unless beleive, as well as anyone that does or not, whether say they do or not. The truth still remains whether God approves or not.
        So truth is then: Whenever I get to die here on earth, either get to be there or not.

        Personally I stand in trust to God’s decision, whether another or even me gets there to be alive with him forever.
        Bottom line is do I trust his judgment or not? So if my Sister who died on an overdose, is not there, and I am, am I or anyone else then going to deny God? Or remian in trust to whatever God chooses?

        As only God knows each person’s motive, that is what I see is his truth to make his judgment
        Now from my view I do not see, anyone that does not have their mind developed enough to decide whether to believe God or not. I tend to think these are not accountable

        Yet Father knows best, to decide whether or not who gets eternal life with him forever or not
        So all I can see is to stand in beleif to he is risen after his one time death took care of the sin issue. once for everyone, to turn to God in beleif to be given new life in the risen life of Son for us to walk new in and not of self either, at least learn to as we I see make mistakes along the way, it is a bumpy ride

  22. I want to add some encouraging words from David son of Jesse for those in the grip of the Accuser – “A prayer when he was confined in a cave. God, I’m crying out to you! I lift up my voice boldly to beg for your mercy. I spill out my heart to you and tell you all my troubles. For when I was desperate, overwhelmed, and about to give up, you were the only one there to help. You gave me a way of escape from the hidden traps of my enemies. I look to my left and right to see if there is anyone who will help, but there’s no one who takes notice of me. I have no hope of escape, and no one cares whether I live or die. So I cried out to you, Lord, my only hiding place. You’re all I have, my only hope in this life, my last chance for help. Please listen to my heart’s cry, for I am low and in desperate need of you! Rescue me from all those who persecute me, for I am no match for them.  Bring me out of this dungeon so I can declare your praise! And all your godly lovers will celebrate all the wonderful things you’ve done for me!” Ps142

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