An even clearer example however, is King Saul. He also committed suicide and even led his armor bearer to do the same (1 Sam 31: 4-5; 1 Chr 10: 4-5). Yet when King David rises to the throne, he composes a song in honor of King Saul (2 Sam 1: 19-27). In the middle of this song, David, under the inspiration of God, says that King Saul and his son, Jonathan, are not divided in death (2 Sam 1: 23). Nobody questions that Jonathan is with God in heaven, and if he will spend eternity with God, then so will King Saul. Though some people think David just means that Saul and Jonathan were buried together, David knows how to talk about burying people in a grave (Psa 5: 9; 6: 5; 30: 3; 31: 17; 141: 7), and says nothing of the sort here. If David only meant that Saul and Jonathan were buried together, he would have said so and would have included Saul’s other sons, Abinidab and Malchishua, in his statement, since they also were buried together with Saul and Jonathan (cf. 1 Sam 31: 2 with 1 Chr 10: 12). No, under divine inspiration, David recognizes that Saul and Jonathan were reunited after death for eternity with God. Suicide did not keep Saul out of heaven, nor will it keep any other person out of heaven. Suicide is not the unforgivable sin. In the past when I have taught this in various churches and conferences, I have been warned afterwards that I should not teach such things, even if it is true, because it will encourage people to commit suicide. Apparently, some fear that if we teach that people can go to heaven even if they commit suicide, those who are thinking about suicide will be more likely to go through with it. It is better, they say, to teach that suicide is unforgivable because this idea will hopefully keep people from committing suicide. I strongly disagree. We do not encourage people to do what is right by lying to them. We cannot scare people into obedience. People are encouraged to do the right thing by telling them what is true and right. The truth, if properly taught, encourages right living and behavior. The same goes for the truth that suicide is forgivable. When a person is contemplating suicide, there are numerous things going on in their minds and lives which lead them to think that taking their life is the best solution to their problems. They may be dealing with deep depression, or feeling that nobody loves them, or that their best years in life are behind them and every day is worse than the one before and it would be better to just end it all right now before things get even worse. I have dealt with suicidal depression in the past, and these are some of the things I thought and felt.[ 1] One thing that helps people overcome suicidal depression and anxiety is the knowledge that they are loved, needed, and wanted. They need to know that there is hope for their future, that life will get better and is worth living. While there are numerous possible sources for such love and hope, the greatest source of all is God. He loves us more than we can possibly know or imagine, and He has plans for our life and our future that are far beyond anything we can ask or imagine. He has a grand purpose for each one of us in life, which never includes ending our life through suicide. He has a goal and purpose for our lives on earth, and if we commit suicide, we will miss out on fulfilling His perfect plan for us. This is the truth presented in Scripture, and this is the view of God which will help people work through their depression and anxiety about life without giving in to suicide. But when we tell people that God will not forgive them if they commit suicide, we are giving them a terribly dangerous and destructive picture of God. We are telling them that God only loves them and forgives them as long as they do not sin. But as soon as they do sin, they must go begging to God for forgiveness, and if they do not, He will send them to hell for eternity. Such a God is petulant, like a spoiled child who wants everything to go his way all the time, or he won’t play. This is a power-hungry God, who wants to keep people squirming under His ever-watchful eye as He waits for them to mess up so He can pounce on sinners and condemn them to everlasting hell. This view of God confirms to people their dark suspicion: God hates them. When people are dealing with deep depression, the anxieties of life, ruined relationships, lost jobs, the death of a child or spouse, or ongoing health problems, the last thing they need is the idea that God hates them. How much better it is to know that even though they are going through some of the worst things that can be experienced in life, God still loves them, and is still with them, and will continue to be by their side for the rest of their life and for eternity—no matter what? This view of God does not encourage people to commit suicide, but rather encourages people to have hope for the future and to believe that there is a purpose in life for them. So teach people that suicide is forgivable, not just because this is true, but because this tells others what kind of God we serve. He is a loving and compassionate God, full of understanding in our times of weakness. He is tender with us in times of pain, and present with us when we feel abandoned. The knowledge of this truth will not encourage people to commit suicide, but will help keep them from it. Will some people still commit suicide? Tragically, yes. But not because of the idea that God is loving and forgiving, but simply because sometimes, people commit terrible sin. And if a person does commit suicide, the knowledge that God still loves and forgives that person will also be a source of great encouragement to the loved ones and family members who are left behind. They will know that although their loved one went through some terrible experiences in life, they are now free from pain and suffering and they will all be reunited again with God in eternity.