What is the UM view on suicide?

Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry for United Methodist Communications.
Photo illustration by Kathleen Barry for United Methodist Communications.

We are sure that neither
    death nor life,
    nor angels, nor principalities,
    nor things present, nor things to come,
    nor powers, nor height, nor depth
    nor anything else in all creation,
Will be able to separate us from the love of God
    in Christ Jesus our Lord.

(Affirmation from Romans 8:35, 37-39, United Methodist Hymnal 887)

When a loved one chooses to take his/her own life it is terribly tragic.

Our Christian perspective on suicide begins with the affirmation that nothing, including suicide, separates us from the love of God (Romans 8:38-39). We believe that suicide is not the way any life should end.

In addition to the grief and loss that comes with any death, surviving family members and friends struggle to understand. They are filled with additional questions and suffer the stigma sometimes associated with suicide. Many assume suicide is an unforgivable sin, but that is not the teaching of The United Methodist Church.

The United Methodist Church’s statement on suicide begins, “We believe that suicide is not the way a human life should end.” Taking one’s own life is not God’s plan for anyone. For some, however, external factors can make life feel intolerable.

It immediately addresses some of the causes of suicide: “Often suicide is the result of untreated depression, or untreated pain and suffering.” We acknowledge that suicide is not a choice people make out of the best parts of themselves. Instead, it is a decision made from places of deep darkness that may be due to physical illness, mental illness, or circumstances that make life feel unbearable.

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The United Methodist Church calls on every member “to see that all persons have access to needed pastoral and medical care and therapy.”  Pastors and members are encouraged to preach, teach and talk about suicide and the mental health issues that lead to it. We strive to care for those who are at risk, survivors, families and others who have lost someone to suicide and "remove the oppressive stigma around suicide.” We seek to eliminate incidents of suicide by being agents of wholeness, hope, renewal, and restoration so that all might “have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10 NIV). 


This content was produced by Ask The UMC, a ministry of United Methodist Communications.