Question to Ravi Zacharias: The catholic church believes that those who commit suicide go directly to hell. What do you think about that?
This question has so many ramifications, other than that, it goes into things like assisted suicide, where machines are pulled off, or, living wills. All these things are now coming into play. The more machines we have and the more science grows, the more complex these decisions become and we are making more decisions of a more rapid nature and with more dramatic implications.
Let me just say this to you: I wish I had an absolute answer to give to you. I would just say this: I wouldn’t want to meet the Lord, after I have taken my life. And the reason is, in Genesis 9:6, murder is called the ultimate attack upon the image of God. That’s what murder is- you have violated the image of God. So, if I violate the image of God in someone else, or I violate it in myself, it is the ultimate act of lack of faith, and without faith it is impossible to please God. So, I would say, I wouldn’t want to meet Him on those terms.
I will also say this, that I cannot stand as a judge, and tell the parent of an 18 0r 19 year old, where the life has been wasted like that, that that’s the end, and that that person is hell bound. That’s not my prerogative in life. I would have to leave God as the judge, and God to work for the peace of a family that has had to live through it. I would never want…. I tried that once. It took me years to even talk about it. I never talked about it to my parents, afterward. My wife spoke to my mother and my father, and said, “It is so embarrassing to Ravi to even discuss it.” It’s easier for me to discuss it from a platform, than it is to talk one on one across the table. The fact that I tried to take my life is a devastating thought to me. The only consolation I have is that I didn’t know Christ at that time.
Now that I know Him, I will never, ever violate the image of God, that is given to me. And, I pray that in pain or in struggle, or whatever… in Romans 14, it tells you about eating food, about one day being more sacred than another, it gives you all of these things, and it tells you this: “Whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” What it really means is: if you violate a conviction that God has places in your heart, clearly, it’s a sinful thing to do.
So, I would say what Francis Schaeffer says about the sovereignty of God and the responsibility of man. “If you are ignoring the sovereignty,” he says, “that’s what I would preach to you at that time.” “If you are ignoring responsibility, that’s what I would preach to you at this time.” If anybody is toying with the idea of taking their life, that’s what I would say to them, “Don’t even think about it. It’s the most sacred gift that has given to you. Don’t use your freedom to violate your freedom. The eternal destiny is in the hands of God, but the moment is for us to choose and select. Let us not violate what God has given to us as a sacred gift. It is a privilege that is entrusted. Trust Him through the wildest twists and turns . When you finally meet with Him, you will find He has sustained you through the greatest and your darkest night of your soul.
Life is too precious, don’t squander it. Go out into the darkness, put your hand into the hand of God.