Q. The son of friends has committed suicide and I have no idea how to console them. They were so hopeful that he would eventually come to know the Lord and then this tragedy happened. Is there anything at all in the Bible that could give them any hope for his soul? Anything you could offer would be of great help at this horrible time.
A. One of the most difficult things we face in life is trying to console others in a tragedy like this where the deceased is apparently not saved.
Here’s what we know. Hebrews 9:27 states that man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment. Deciding whether or not to accept the Lord’s pardon for one’s sins is the over riding purpose of our lives, but at the moment of death the time for deciding has ended.
But I can say this with assurance. The Lord promised that everyone who asks receives (Matt 7:7-8). Even if your friend’s son literally sought God’s forgiveness with his last conscious thought, he will have received it. That’s the message from the thief on the cross who died moments after recognizing Jesus as his Lord. He was in paradise with the Lord that very day (Luke 23:42-43).
Just because no one witnesses a dying person’s confession, doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. It’s a matter between the person and the Lord. An impending death, even at one’s own hand, can cause even an uncertain mind to suddenly understand. The Lord wants everyone to be saved (1 Tim. 2:3-4), and I believe He’s there with each dying person listening for that final plea. If I were in your position, I would hold out this hope in consoling your friends, and pray that this would help them find peace in their time of need.