Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

It’s been a little over a week since I awoke from sleep and learned that one of my favorite singers of all time had passed away. At the time I learned about it, nothing had been concluded on the details of how he died and all I could think about was the fact that he was gone. One of the first thoughts I had when I learned that Chris had died was that he would now be reunited with Andrew Wood, Layne Staley, Kurt Kobain, Scott Weiland, Mike Starr, Shannon Hoon, and others.

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From the left: Scott Weiland, Shannon Hoon, Andrew Wood, Kurt Kobain, Layne Staley, and Mike Starr in the front.

Later on that day it was confirmed that Chris had committed suicide. I think some of the thoughts that people have when losing someone to suicide might be like those posted on the image above. I’ve had some of them myself. I lost my stepmother to drugs when I was a teen. It wasn’t a suicide, but a death caused by carelessness. I was angry over her choices and wondered why she didn’t care to live. It wasn’t until I got older and thought about the pain that she endured on Earth from losing two young brothers and then her parents not long after that finally helped me accept it. She truly never got over their deaths. I was just angry, sad and bitter. I wanted her here and mourned her death probably more than anyone else.

I got to talking with people about Chris and an anonymous person mentioned to me that it was possible that he would not be accepted into heaven because he committed suicide. It’s always been my personal thought that when we die, our soul goes to Heaven. This anonymous person then proceeded to tell me that when people commit suicide they are committing an unforgivable sin and are lost from God forever. As if Chris’s death wasn’t hard enough, this caused me to sob even more.

I was shocked. Could I really be this ignorant about what the Bible says about suicide? I was raised Orthodox and have spent the majority of my life in one Church or another, but I couldn’t say for sure and had no way to refute the statement. I began to ponder about it and started roaming the internet. I was questioning in my head whether Chris was a Christian. It’s no surprise that many of his lyrics highlight a troubled soul and it’s possible that he was tormented with his own thoughts. I do wonder if maybe he was searching for his own answers as he was an open thinker. I then reminded myself of all the songs that helped me believe what was in his heart. Even though I read that he possibly considered himself agnostic, I go back to the songs that give me insight to his beliefs.


Audioslave – Like a Stone

Lyrics:

On a cobweb afternoon
In a room full of emptiness
By a freeway I confess
I was lost in the pages
Of a book full of death
Reading how we’ll die alone
And if we’re good, we’ll lay to rest
Anywhere we want to go
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
On my deathbed I will pray
To the gods and the angels
Like a pagan to anyone
Who will take me to heaven
To a place I recall
I was there so long ago
The sky was bruised
The wine was bled
And there you led me on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
And on I read
Until the day was gone
And I sat in regret
Of all the things I’ve done
For all that I’ve blessed
And all that I’ve wronged
In dreams until my death
I will wander on
In your house I long to be
Room by room patiently
I’ll wait for you there
Like a stone
I’ll wait for you there
Alone
Alone
When I first heard this song it almost seemed as if Chris was speaking directly in this song. What do you think the song means? There are many different thoughts on it. 

Audioslave – I Am The Highway

Lyrics:
Pearls and swine bereft of me
Long and weary my road has been
I was lost in the cities
Alone in the hills
No sorrow or pity for leaving I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
Friends and liars don’t wait for me
I’ll get on all by myself
I put millions of miles
Under my heels
And still too close to you
I feel
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night
I am not your rolling wheels
I am the highway
I am not your carpet ride
I am the sky
I am not your blowing wind
I am the lightning
I am not your autumn moon
I am the night
The night

When I listen to this song it makes me think of a person who is already gone, possibly in heaven, and doesn’t want to return. He’s now everything. What do you think? 


Chris Cornell – Say Hello 2 Heaven

Lyrics:
Please, mother of mercy
Take me from this place
and the long winded curses
I keep here in my head
Words never listen
and teachers, oh, they never learn
but I’m warm from the candle
though I feel too cold to burn
He came from an island
and he died from the street
and he hurt so bad like a soul breaking
but he never said nothing to me

So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…

New, like a baby
Lost, like a prayer
The sky was your playground
but the cold ground was your bed
I said poor stargazer
She’s got no tears in her eyes
but smooth like a whisper
She knows that love heals all wounds with time
Now it seems like too much love is never enough
Yeah, you better seek out another road
’cause this one has ended abrupt

So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
I never wanted to write these words down for you
with the pages of phrases of all the things we’ll never do
So I blow out the candle
and I put you to bed
Since you can’t say to me now
how the dogs broke your bone
there’s just one thing left to be said

So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…
So say hello to heaven, heaven, heaven…

This song was one that Chris wrote to pay homage to Andrew Wood, the late singer of Mother Love Bone, who died from a heroine overdose in 1990.

Chris Cornell – Ave Maria

Lyrics to this version:

Ave Maria, maiden mild
Oh, listen to a maiden’s prayer
For thou canst hear amid the wild
‘Tis thou, ’tis thou canst save amid, despair

We slumber safely till the morrow
Though we’ve by man outcast reviled
Oh maiden, see a maiden’s sorrow
Oh mother, hear a suppliant child

Ave Maria

I read that Chris attended Catholic school as a child.


Audioslave – Light My Way

Lyrics: 
In my hour of need
On a sea of gray
On my knees I pray to you
Help me find the dawn
Of the dying day
Won’t you light my way
A bullet is a man
From time to time he strays
I compare my life to this
To this I relate
And I’m willing
To listen to your answers
And I’m not afraid
To tell you I need you today
Won’t you light my way
So when I’m lost
Or I’m tired and depraved
Or when my high bullet mind
Goes astray won’t you light my way
Don’t save it for another day, hey
Won’t you light my way
Perhaps one of the most stunning proofs of his belief in God. Do you think so?

Audioslave – Show Me How To Live

Lyrics:
And with the early dawn,
Moving right along, I couldn’t buy an eye-full of sleep.
And in the aching night under satellites, I was not received.
Built with stolen parts, a telephone in my heart, someone get me a priest to put my mind to bed.
This ringing in my head, is this a cure or is this a disease?

Nail in my hand, from my creator.
You gave me life, now show me how to live.
Nail in my hand, from my creator.
You gave me life, now show me how to live.

And in the after birth, on the quiet earth, let the stains remind you, you thought you made a man.
You better think again, before my role defines you.

If you seen my previous posts, you’ve probably already watched this video and seen the lyrics. This one to me is a direct statement, “Nail in my hand, from my creator. You gave me life, now show me how to live.”
I’d love to hear thoughts on this one too. 

I went around and around online and decided to quit. I went ahead and started asking people that I know what their thoughts were on suicide. I’m keeping it anonymous here and each person’s comment will have a number.

Person #1 – I believe the Bible talks about suicide prior to the New Testament and before Jesus Christ was crucified for forgiveness of our sins. It is my belief no matter what, that you can ask forgiveness when you meet your maker. 

Person #2Suicide is nothing more than murder of the self and therefore does not prevent that person from entering into heaven. It is a forgivable sin. It’s horribly sad that Chris thought that was his only option, but God can and will forgive him if he truly knew Him as their Lord and Savior. Only God knows the heart. chris-cornell-max-vadukuljpg-4a51821142ea7d95.jpg

Person #3 – First I will start with the question in a general sense. I believe that the reason murder is wrong in God’s eyes is that since he is the Creator of all life, and also decides when to end it, when a person decides to take a life, whether some else’s or their own, they have made themselves “God”, wrongfully deciding when a person’s life should end, when only He has the right to do that. So they have made an idol of themselves, putting themselves in His position.

The Bible says He is a fair and just God, far better than the best human judge could ever be. Not only because his motives are pure, not influenced by painful past experiences, not swayed by a good argument, but also because He can see the heart and mind of us all. I think in the instance of suicide, I think He would take into account their mental state at the time of the act. Is there some kind of imbalance mentally causing unsound judgement and irrational decisions? or is the person just depressed, for example, because their boyfriend/girlfriend just dumped them? I think in the first instance, that person could not be held totally accountable for their actions, whereas in the second, even though they are despondent, they are still sane. So in the second case, they know full well what they are doing, and deciding, “To Hell with right or wrong, I just don’t want to live anymore!” So that would be considered willful rebellion, since God still had breath in that body, and continued that person’s heart to beat, they took that decision from him. That is sin since sin is rebellion. They are bucking God’s authority to decide when their life should end. And sin cannot come into the presence of God. On top of that, many times there is no time to ask forgiveness, nor when someone is in that mindset would they, cause they want their way– they want to die.chris-cornell.jpg

Now on the other hand– what if it is accidental? Such as an accidental overdose? I don’t think God would look at that in the same way, since that person did not intend to actually cause their own death. What about a situation, say on a battlefield, where one soldier takes a bullet for another?  I don’t think that God would look at that situation the same as regular premeditated suicide, cause that person is sacrificing their life to save others. So, to sum it all up, I think it depends on the situation, and only God in His mercy could accurately judge each case. I know this much– I would rather play it safe than sorry, and stay alive until He calls me home.

So, I do believe that when it was a willful decision, conscious and premeditated, that they will be in Hell. When done by someone not fully there mentally, incapable of rational thought, then in that case, I think their eternal state would hinge on did they know the Lord as their Savior before they were unstable? If they rejected Him beforehand when they were mentally sound, I think they would be in Hell, if they knew Him and were in good standing with Him, I think they would be in Heaven. And of course, with the accidental, I think that would have everything to do with where they were at spiritually when they died… were they saved or not?

Person #4 – God forgives sin. All sin. Even murder. Right?

Scripture is clear on this. Murder, especially of innocents, is especially evil, and invites His intervention and retribution into the affairs and actions of men, but it is not unforgivable. Christs blood washes away all sin.

Next, Jesus invites all to Him, and we know that no one who comes to Him will be turned away. This means anyone who surrenders completely to Jesus Christ and accepts His death as payment for their sins will be saved. This means nothing they have done bars them from coming to Him.uBmr0s_R.jpg

Next, we know from multiple places in Scripture that we cannot lose our salvation. Once we have accepted Jesus, the Holy Spirit resides in us. He is our guarantee that we will live in heaven with Him after we die. Scripture says no one can snatch us out of His hand. No one includes others, governments, demonic powers, and ourselves. This means there is nothing we can do to lose our salvation once we have surrendered to Jesus Christ.

There are many, many places in Scripture that reveal this truth that we cannot lose our salvation. There are also a couple places where if a verse is taken by itself, it appears to be saying that we can lose our salvation. Yet when we look at the complete passage carefully, and also keep in mind the clear truth shown all through Scripture that we cannot lose it, we find that these passages are underscoring other truths, and are not suggesting what a casual reader without knowledge of other Scripture might conclude.
So we know that God forgives all sin, and that folks who have surrendered to Jesus Christ and are indwelt with the Holy Spirit cannot lose their salvation.

So why do people saying can lose their salvation?

The only place in Scripture that mentions unforgivable sin is Matthew 12:22-32 (this is also recorded in Mark 3:23-30 and Luke 11:14-26). In this passage, Jesus had healed a demon-possessed man, and the Pharisees said He did it by the power of Satan. Jesus responded, then said that all sins will be forgiven mankind except blasphemy of the Holy Spirit. This passage shows that the thing that will not be forgiven is attributing the clear action and power of the Holy Spirit to Satan and his hosts. You see, the Pharisees knew Jesus was from God, and that He was performing miracles, yet they chose to lie and to,twist His glorious miracle into an action of the Adversary. This is unacceptable, and will not be forgiven.

Yet we know from elsewhere that Christians, once surrendered to Christ, cannot lose their salvation. This means that a Christian cannot twist Gods action into lies. We may lie, cheat, and steal, and rebel against Him in many ways, but if we are filled with the Spirit of God, something within us keeps us from attributing His actions to the Adversary. This means if we hear someone twisting the clear miracles of God into actions of the devil then they may not be Christians at all.

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So, we find that all sins are forgiven, even murder, which includes murder of self, and that there are no unforgivable sins, except one that cannot be committed by folks indwelt with the Holy Spirit. Therefore, folks who destroy their life are simply broken sinners like the rest of us, and they are no closer nor further from God than any of us at death. The real question is whether they ever confessed faith in Jesus Christ and surrendered to Him as Lord of their life or not. If they did, then they are saved, even if they lived a miserable, selfish life with no apparent fruit of their faith. If they did not, then they are eternally separated from God, even if they seemed like the nicest, friendliest, and giving of people.

Person #5 – God want’s good people on his side. God would rather have a loving atheist over a hateful Christian. If a person commits suicide, but spent their life helping others and is good, then they will be accepted into heaven.


At this time Chris Cornell’s family still disputes that he committed suicide at all. It has been said that he was taking Ativan, a prescription drug that treats anxiety. A possible side effect to taking this drug is that it can induce suicidal thoughts. His wife said that she believes he wasn’t himself that night in Detroit.

Here are parts of a letter recently written to Chris from his wife, Vicky Cornell:

“To my sweet Christopher, you were the best father, husband and son-in-law.” 

“Your patience, empathy and love always showed through. You had always said I saved you, that you wouldn’t be alive if it were not for me.”

“My heart gleamed to see you happy, living and motivated. Excited for life. Doing everything you could to give back.”chris-cornell-9.jpg

“We had the time of our lives in the last decade and I’m sorry, my sweet love, that I did not see what happened to you that night. I’m sorry you were alone, and I know that was not you, my sweet Christopher. Your children know that too, so you can rest in peace.”

“I’m broken, but I will stand up for you and I will take care of our beautiful babies. I will think of you every minute of every day and I will fight for you.” You were right when you said we are soulmates. It has been said that paths that have crossed will cross again, and I know that you will come find me, and I will be here waiting.”

“I love you more than anyone has ever loved anyone in the history of loving and more than anyone ever will. Always and forever, your Vicky.”


I am in no way trying to inflict my belief onto anyone by writing this post. I’m simply deliberating my own thoughts and discovering what I think about suicide and forgiveness. I have also found that after dissecting many of Chris’s lyrics, it’s possible that they point toward his belief of a sovereign God.

Today is Chris’s funeral. I hope that his family can find peace. If I could say one sentence to Chris it would be, “Thank you and I’ll never forget you.”

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I’d love to hear comments on what others think, so please feel free to say what you like below.

Thank you for visiting…

10 thoughts on “Chris Cornell: Thoughts on Suicide & Forgiveness

  1. This was a powerful post. Having been raised Catholic, though not practicing nowadays, I also was brought up to believe suicide was a mortal sin and that anyone who killed themselves was automatically barred from heaven. I don’t believe in a literal heaven or hell, as we were brought up to believe, but I do believe often that hell is here on earth. Hell is the torment our own minds go through, round and round in circles and we are unable to escape the torture of our thoughts. I’m no stranger to depression, either, and though I have never been at the point where I actively considered taking my own life, I have gone through terrible grief and sadness and pain that made me wish I could just lie down and sleep and never wake up. Not because I wanted death, necessarily, but because I needed a respite from the hell of my own thoughts. I believe we can get caught up in the spiral and cycle of our own pain, and if it’s compounded by substance abuse, it just makes it that much worse. But no one can ever know the pain another human being goes through, and it is not our place to judge anyone else in this world. I don’t know what Chris Cornell went through in his life, only that he was a tortured and beautiful soul who brought deeply introspective music to the world and leaves behind a legacy of pain and beauty. May he rest. Thank you for sharing this deeply personal post, too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for sharing these heartfelt words. I do agree that we shouldn’t judge. When it comes to suicide, I think some people have mixed feelings, but tend to judge that the person was weak and made bad decisions. We don’t know what they’ve been through or what they can and can’t handle. I think of Scott Weiland who pleaded for help and knew that he had problems. He just couldn’t stop the drugs, but had been through so much- the loss of a young brother and being raped as a boy to name a few, plus constant touring that made him tired. Many don’t know this and were quick to judge when he died, calling him a druggie and a loser. He didn’t commit suicide, but lost his life due to drugs like many others. Like with many suicides, we may never know the real reasons why Chris chose to die, but we do have to accept it. It’s so hard and out of all the losses from the grunge era, this one hurts the most for me. R.I.P Chris…💗

      Thank you again for sharing…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Great post.

    It is apparent that you loved him, and that his despair resonates with how you feel at times.

    Just remember that Jesus loves you. This means you, and all People who have surrendered to Him, and all people who have rebelled against Him and not accepted His free gift of love, life, and salvation.

    Yet His arms are wide open to anyone who will cast off their beliefs about right and wrong and spirituality, and instead accept His Grace, His Godhead, His love, and the free gift of cleansing through His blood. This is what He offers each of us, and once we embrace Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, nothing can snatch us out of His hands. Not even our own rebellion nor self will.

    When a person accepts Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us. He is like a wedding ring that cannot be removed, like a badge of our membership in His family. As a rebellious child cannot remove himself or herself from the family of his or her birth, a person who has become a member of God’s family cannot remove them self from that position. We can run away from home, so to speak, in this life, but when we rise we will find our Loving Heavenly Father waiting to take us in His arms.

    Imagine a husband with the power of life witnessing His bride destroying herself in a fit of despair and rebellion and rage. He runs to her sobbing, falls to His knees over her broken corpse, lifts her gently into His arms, rocks her back and forth, kissing her as Hos tears fall on her face and lips, and then breathes life back into her. Life that restores health, vitality, beauty, love, hope. Eternal life.

    This is what the Bible teaches about our Savior. This is what it teaches about love. Do not succumb to man’s wisdom in this matter. Read the Bible for yourself, and invite the Holy Spirit (the same One Who indwells each believer) to reveal the truth of what the Bible teaches as you read.

    There is no losing salvation for someone who has surrendered to Jesus. There is only grace, love, forgiveness, and life awaiting us.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. I am running into this post in the aftermath of Chester Bennington’s death, and in the aftermath of writing my own blog post about suicide. Anyway…I think you brought up some excellent points, especially with regards to God’s grace. One thing I’ve learned over the years through my own sins is to never ever ever underestimate the extent to which God can and forgive us. Thanks for writing this.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Brendan, thanks so much for reading the post. I was questioning my beliefs deeply when I wrote the post because of the negative comments I was coming across. I see many more now with Chester’s death as well. You are right. We cannot underestimate. Thank you for sharing… 💗 I appreciate it so much.

      Like

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