What happens to the soul after suicide?

Written by Lynette Hoy NCC, LCPC

soulsuicideWhat 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.

Advice: 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, 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. Go to your pastor for prayer and support. Read your 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, the truth and the life. No man comes to the Father but 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 their 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 – at the foot of the cross where all sin is wiped away when one believes in the Savior who sacrificed Himself to redeem the world.

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. 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.

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 counselor. You can find a counselor. God bless you as you discover what He has in store for you even in the midst of this loss.

Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new.

What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?

Living with hope

If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.

Is this the life for you?

If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.

Read more about faith
Read more about depression, anxiety, and fear
Read about grieving
Read more about suicide

Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC

© copyright 2003 Lynette Hoy, NCC, LCPC



218 Responses to “What happens to the soul after suicide?”

  • Kim Britchford says:

    My faith has been truely tested this last 12 months and at times I believed I lost all hope, im stronger than I was an realise it was all part of my relationship with god, i had lost hope, i have social anxiety disorder and im doing my best to get on with it than let it beat me down,from today my moto is going to be, its not a challenge if your not out your comfort zone, I prey to god for strengh to do this mission. I hope you will be walking beside me amen

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Dead Man, I am so sorry that you have had such a difficult life. I am sure there is much more to the story than what you have had time to share here but I can tell it has been more than anyone should have to bear.

    I don’t have any easy answers to deal with the pain that you have had to live with for so long but I do know that taking your life is not the best answer. I can tell you love your wife and even though you are going to great lengths to make sure she is not the one who will find you, you must know that you will be devastating her by ending your life. I have dealt with the families of people who commit suicide and they go through extreme pain trying to understand and heal from that kind of a loss.

    Let me ask you to talk to a crisis mentor before you follow through with your plan. This is a link to a global directory for crisis hotlines and you will be able to find one near you. http://www.suicidepreventionhelp.com/directory/Crisis_Centers Please call and talk to someone there. They may be able to help you see things differently.

    I appreciate you indicating that you trust in Jesus. How did that happen for you? What role does Jesus play in your life today?

  • Dead man says:

    I’m here to say first I trust in Jesus but I have been carrying a big cross all of my life now. It started when I was 6 and for the past 41 years now I haven’t had one week go by where I haven’t had at least one migraine headache but most of the time I have 3-4 a week. I have been to many doctors and none can tell me anything more then I have migraines. I can’t live with the pain anymore. I am a mean uncaring person. I have a very cold heart and a very painful life. My wife of one year will be going to the Philippines soon and little does she know that will be the last time she will see me. That way I know she will not find me someone else will. After 47 painful years on earth I have nothing but her and nothing else. We are homeless and live in a semi truck. My so called family told me never to return there and they hope I die. I can’t take this crap anymore I give up. Life is not worth it. I can’t take another headache.

  • Jamie Jamie says:

    Hi Alison, I am so sorry to hear about this loss for your community and for you and your daughter. It is a tragic thing for a anyone, let alone a young child, to feel that death is the best answer.

    To answer your daughter’s question, “Where will she go?” is to put one’s self in the position of God. We do not know what was going on in her young mind or heart, not how she responded to God’s voice in her life. So there really is no way of knowing for certain. However, there are things that we can be absolutely certain about: 1) God loves that young girl as a bearer of HIs image and He has been speaking to her throughout her whole life calling her to know Him. We have that certainty because in the Bible we read, “The Lord is not slow concerning his promise, as some regard slowness, but is being patient toward you, because he does not wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.” (2Peter 3:9) 2) We also know that God has no limits so there would have been nothing that could have stood in His way to communicate to that young girl all she needed to know about Himself. We can have confidence in this because in the Bible we read, “what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.” (Romans 1:19)

    So let your confidence be in God; let your hope be in His Son Jesus who went to extreme lengths to extend the love of God to all of humanity. Know that God’s love was communicated to that young girl and that He spoke to her clearly about His love and His hope for her. Know that He will judge her perfectly knowing all of the circumstances of her life far beyond what anybody else is able to discern. And trust yourself into His care and respond yourself to His invitation to receive His love in your own life. Then you will become a beacon of hope for others who are hurting in this world and need to discover for themselves the love of God in Jesus Christ.

    If you would like to know more about how God has extended His love to you through Jesus have a look at this link http://powertochange.com/discover/faith/loveandgod .

  • Alison says:

    Hi. im new to this. I just wanted to say something about my daughters friend.

    My daughters friend died by standing in front on a train. It has left a huge hole in the hearts of many. From her family to all her friends and questions as to why or what would make her do it. You see, she was only 12 years old. My daughter has moved on, But she constantly ask’s me, Where will she go mum? i gave her an answer but i am not sure if it was the right one.

    Her death has sent a ripple effect throughout the entire community and even though half of them, including myself, didn’t know her, it still hurts and you just cant help but feel the same pain as her family would feel knowing that she was just child and a friend of my daughters.

    So i ask, if anyone has an answer for me to explain to my daughter, and myself, i would very much appreciate it.

    Thank you.

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hi Kate,

    Concerning your first question, we have an article on that very topic: http://powertochange.com/experience/spiritual-growth/voice-of-god/ Feel free to read the rest from the link I gave you. It is written to a Christian audience but is still very relevant to anyone who has your question. But I have posted part of it Here:

    When Satan speaks into our thoughts he has only one purpose: to do harm. Whether through discouragement, temptation, frustration, depression or despair, his goal is always to divide us from God, to cripple our spiritual vitality, and prevent us from obeying and serving God.

    The voice of our enemy comes with messages like these:

    This situation is hopeless.
    You blew it last time and you’re sure to blow it again.
    You’re no good: too timid, too stupid, too shy, too ugly, too ____________.
    No one cares about you.
    You are all alone here.
    Give up.
    Run away.
    You’re a failure.
    It’s too late to fix it.
    Nothing you can do will help.
    God doesn’t care.
    God is mad at you.
    God will never help someone like you.
    Everyone else gets good things but not you.
    And on it goes. Satan is the destroyer, and he uses whatever messages he can to discourage and disorient us. When you feel defeated or hopeless, that’s a good sign that Satan is at work within your inner world. When it feels right to nurse your wounds and stay angry you can be sure that you are being lied to.

    The voice of God’s Holy Spirit is very different. Whereas the goal of the enemy is destruction, the goal of the Spirit is always edification. He speaks messages intended to lift you up, to encourage you, to bring strength, faith, joy, and peace.

    The messages of the Spirit are like these:

    You are never alone. I am with you.
    You are my beloved child. I died for you.
    You do not need to do anything to please me. I love you already.
    Trust in me. I will give you strength.
    Believe in me, I want to lead you.
    You are mine forever.
    There is no sin so serious that I have not forgiven you.
    Be joyful, thankful, and have faith.
    All things will work for your good.
    My plans for you are good.

    Kate, concerning your second question: “how can love drive out fear if love is your fear?” Obviously I’m not in your mind, but I might guess that the fear you have associated with love has resulted from the suffering your so called ‘loved ones’ gave you. God’s love is his intention and plan to bless your life. Sure, that involves a step of faith that can be scary, but God’s love itself is something very very good and altogether different that twisted and messed up human love. I know you have have amnesia, but can you still think of the most loving thing you’ve witnessed or received from another person in the last while. Multiply that by a billion and you have a closer image of what God’s love is like. Take care, I’ll try to check in here sometime over the weekend. I’m praying for you.

  • Kate says:

    My issue is not suffering. … it’s like me. I have no memory of the first 26 years of my life. I have retrograde amnesia. Many have told me that it’s what they would like. Reality is peoples would like to forget the bad but keep the good.

  • Kate says:

    Dedra you have not offended me at all, it’s like you have reminded me to do what I was meant to be doing.

    Looking up … I’m just trying to figure out what the best way forward is. This is not the first time that I have been reminded of how much god doesn’t help. It’s like, every time I get closer to thinking about god your way the earth sends a reminder. Does that make sense to you?

    Jantzen, I have a question, the devil, he wants to confuse people and pull them away from God … how do you know that you are following the right one?
    And …. how can love drive out fear if love is your fear?

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    Kate, I don’t see how lowering your walls to God is in anyway a bad thing.

    I know the both of you have issues about the question of God and suffering. This reminds me of a story Ravi Z. told of a couple who had a young daughter who was born with a very rare condition. She feels no pain. She told Ravi what a nightmare it is to live with this condition. She had to be constantly checked for injuries because she would never know they happened. She could put her hand on he stove and watch her hand fry with no pain.

    She told Ravi that for years she has prayed that God would let her feel pain. While the rest of us pray that God will take it away. Could there be a higher purpose that we just have a hard time getting our head around?

  • Michael Jantzen M. Jantzen says:

    Hi Kate.

    Is there anything you’d like to ask or talk about? I’ll be on here for another hour.

    When I thought of you and how much you’ve been talking about fear plaguing you, it made me think of this verse:

    “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.” (1 John 4:18)

    What do yo think it would take for you to take the risk to give yourself to God so his love can free you from fear? Hope to hear from you soon.

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    How can you be so sure Kate? If you are willing to form your whole life’s direction on this question is it not worth some investigation? Are you willing to just take a persons word for it, or is this question big enough that it’s worth a little bit of time finding out what the arguments are? Then why not watch a couple videos?

  • Dedra says:

    Kate, I hope I haven’t offended you. If so I’m sorry. It’s just that so much has happened and I feel cornered.

  • Kate says:

    Dedra, It makes more sense then not that an all powerful god is either not powerful therfore not truthful or that he is enjoying / causing it. Maybe you have joined this conversation at such a point where I was beginning to lower my walls as a way of showing me or reminding me. .

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    To say that if there is suffering in the world there can’t be a God who cares, that just isn’t logical. Ravi Zacharias has a short video (about 4 min) on this question

  • Dedra says:

    I feel that way too Kate. I’ve prayed so many times for God to end my social anxiety and it’s painful to realize that nothing has been done. I’ve been patient yet nothing has been done. For 18 years I’ve been diagnosed with social anxiety and 6 years with paranoia/depression. Sometimes I’m lead to think that he’s the cause of our suffering and sickness, whether it be physical or mental.

  • Kate says:

    Looking up, I have nightmares almost every night. I have had nightmares about god recently. What he does what he will do.
    I can’t even think about it = makes me sick.

  • Kate says:

    Dedra, that’s what I fear. That god is just that one who has people running around following the Bibles and actually being up ‘there’ watching these people and not helping … not listening … just not caring … if not causing it.

  • lookingup lookingup says:

    I understand fear and confusion Kate. That is why I am so happy to know that God is not a God of fear or confusion. In fact, God says in his word “fear not” 365 times, once for every day of the year. God knows your fear, He is waiting with open arms to have you come home.

    God is also not a God of nightmares. He does wish for us to be tormented, that is what the enemy does. Will God listen? Kate, we can’t control God, what He does is His will, but I do wish to pray for you now.

    Lord God, I know that You love Kate and that You brought her here for a reason. Lord, one is so that she can live without so much fear, without so much confusion and without these nightmares, Lord I pray that tonight You would give Kate a good nights rest, that she could sleep without interruption and fear. I pray in Jesus name amen

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