Question 209

Q: Our only child, our son, died of a drug overdose.

I feel we let him down, because my husband and I divorced. He was essentially a good child who knew he was doing wrong. When he died, I was so distraught that I contemplated following him to heaven, if you know what I mean.

Joey accepted Jesus as his Savior at the age of 12. My question is: do Christians who commit suicide go to heaven or hell? And what do you say to the person who says, “If my child isn’t going to be in heaven, I don’t want to be there myself”?

Asked by: Kim


A: Kim, I need to begin by pouring out my heart to you and saying that I’m deeply touched by your question. 

Obviously, there are no emotions that can even begin to go as deep as the ones that you’ve described—to know that you’ve lost your precious son and to lose him in such a way makes it exceedingly difficult. So let me try to unravel a couple of things for you.

First of all, your son, Joey, if he accepted Jesus Christ as Savior at the age of twelve, yes, I believe that he is in heaven. Sometimes Christians die under strange circumstances. They not only die in accidents, but yes, sometimes they commit suicide. If Joey was a true believer—believers can sin and they sometimes die in that sin—I believe that you can take comfort that he is in heaven.

But now let’s talk about the issue of suicide, and you as a mother. Believe it or not, I’ve had this question asked me a number of times. I’ve talked to people whose child committed suicide or whose child died in a way that Joey did, and they’ve wondered, should I commit suicide and go to heaven to be with him? Well, the answer to that question is no—suicide is always a bad idea. It’s putting a period where there should be a question mark or a comma. So no, don’t commit suicide.

The sun will eventually shine in your life, I can guarantee you that. I’ve told people that and a couple of years later they’ve admitted I was right. But more than that, keep this in mind, that even though it’s true I believe that Christians who commit suicide do go to heaven, not only is suicide a bad idea, you should be aware that suicide always is an indication of failure and not blessing, so don’t do it.

Now what about the person who says “if my child isn’t going to heaven, I don’t want to be there.” Yes, you do want to be in heaven, even if your child isn’t. The Bible says that God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes. These could be tears of regret, most assuredly, and they could also be tears of deep grief because of some loved one who is not with us there at the pearly gates.

God will give us His perspective, we’ll look at everything through His eyes and not our own. And if God can be happy in heaven, you’ll be able to be happy in heaven too, even if a loved one isn’t there. No question about that, but I know it takes faith to believe it. And once again, my heart and prayer for you is that you might be healed in your spirit and trust God through this very, very difficult time.

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