Is my loved one in Heaven?
It's ironic but the sermon at church just two weeks ago was about this very subject. Another very sad moment led to that sermon. It started out as I had always heard. Coming from a Lutheran background, the teaching is the same as the Catholic church. If you have any unconfessed or unrepentant sins at the time of your death they are not forgiven. Since suicide is considered a sin, (murder of self) and since there is no time for one to confess, the conclusion is that the person is in hell. It's a complicated issue though, and I am not sure that I agree. I did love the sermon and it brought up some very interesting points.
First of all, we do not know what the person's frame of mind was at the moment of their death. Does God hold someone who is not in their right mind accountable to the same standards that He does the rest of us? I think that there is a level of accountability equal the person's level of understanding. Paul said, "when I was a child, I behaved as a child (i.e. ate baby food - baby lessons), but when I became an adult, I behaved as an adult (adult lessons). So, yes, God does take into account where the person is in their spiritual walk. Second, we do not know what that person thought in their last moment of consciousness before they slipped into death. Did they seek forgiveness and confess? We should not judge what we do not know.
But the bigger question was, Is suicide a sin? and the short answer is Yes. But it is not a unforgivable sin. The only unforgivable sin is denial of God (including both Jesus and the Holy Spirit). So the conclusion is that committing suicide does not automatically condemn you to hell for all eternity. As in all cases, it depends on where the person's heart and soul are.
I've never been to the point where I felt that suicide was the only option for me, and God-willing, I never will. But little did I know when I sat and listened in church two weeks ago that I would hear something that might be able to help someone close to me.
Never stop learning, especially about God. Tuck these little tid bits away for use later on when the time is right.
And if you are thinking of taking your own life, or struggle with depression. Please get some help. Ask a friend, call a doctor, or if nothing else, call 9-1-1. There are people out there who care, and I am one of them.
Until next time:
Peace to you and yours,
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