What happens to one’s soul/spirit after suicide? I recently had a close friend commit suicide and I am so worried that she will still not be at peace with herself. She had an anxiety disorder due to a troubled childhood and although she loved life, her friends, and her family, she just could not be independent as she could not relax. We struggled together with this for so long. She was a creative and loving individual who had traveled much and lived away from us for a few years, so she had known independence. She feared for her sanity – she explained to me that she wanted to die because she actually did love herself and the constant thoughts going through her head would eventually turn into madness. I dearly love her and couldn’t bear to think that she will eternally go through this struggle. I am searching within myself to find meaning in my loss.

Dear Struggling,

It’s obvious that you were and are a very close and loving friend. You have suffered with your friend right up to the end and beyond. You cared about her welfare, and her emotional and spiritual state. But, now this tragedy has occurred and, no matter what you or anyone tried to do, she has passed into eternity.

First of all, I want to tell you that your friend’s suicide and death was not anyone’s fault. Her suicide was the result of her choice and her psychological instability. Don’t let false guilt and self-blame take over. You and others tried to help. But, this woman is the one who made the choice despite all your pleadings and intervention.

Secondly, you need to grieve your friend’s death. You will go through several stages of loss: shock and denial, protest and dealing with the reality of her death, anger, confusion, depression and finally, reorganization. It’s normal to grieve. It’s important to care for yourself. You may need counseling to help you through these very normal stages. Go to your pastor for prayer and support. Read a Bible, especially the Psalms and the gospel of John. Jesus talks about God’s love for you and for the world, His plan to give you eternal life (John 3:16) and abundant life (John 10:10). Scripture will bring you comfort and hope for the future – hope for eternity.

The Bible does have stories about people who committed suicide, but it doesn’t talk about where their souls went – to heaven or to hell. But, Jesus promised: “I am the resurrection and the life – he who believes in me though he may die – yet shall he live” (John 11:25). If your friend trusted in Christ as her Lord and Savior, she is in heaven today. How do I know? Because Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except by me” (John 14:6).

Jesus claimed to be God, to speak the truth and the words of God. He died on the cross for the sins of the whole world and then rose from the dead on the third day. Over 500 witnesses saw the resurrected Christ!

Because of these facts – you can have great hope for the future! You can trust that Christ loved your friend greatly and will judge her justly.

Suicide is a devastating experience to those who loved its victim. Suicide happens because the person is so depressed and has not received the appropriate treatment – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

But, suicide, though a sin, can be forgiven – by God who sacrificed his son to pay for all of our wrong doing. You will never feel comfortable with what happened. A life was lost. But, you can trust that God can bring good out of this circumstance.

God can become more personal to you in this time of suffering. God can give you courage and make you a person of character with strong values. God can demonstrate His love and comfort to you during your pain. God can give you more wisdom to help others who have suffered.

This world is a broken place – a place that is not our home forever. We are just passing through. Your friend could not stand the emotional and mental turmoil she experienced. But, you can. You and God can go on together.

She ended her stay on earth and God allowed her to do it. He did not cause her to do it because He is not the author of evil. He does allow people to make choices which are against His will. But, you can find hope and courage to discover God’s will for your earthly life. You can leave a legacy that will give others hope for tomorrow and for eternity.

If you find you are depressed and anxious because of this – see a professional counselor. Here is a list of counselors in the USA. God bless you as you discover what He has in store for you even in the midst of this loss. Also, confidential and free mentors through Issuesiface.com are available and eager to journey with you.

This article was written by: Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC

Photo Credit: Allan Harris