You Asked For It!
This past weekend we concluded the You Asked for It series. Thanks to all who submitted questions. We tried really hard to provide answers in appropriate venues. If you are wondering why we wouldn’t answer each question submitted at a Sunday gathering, there are several reasons. First was time constraint. Having limited time forced us to try to address the questions that would appeal to a greater audience. Second, not all questions asked were appropriate to address in a large public venue. That’s why we provided a few weeks of small group options and after each gathering, the panel was available for personal conversations.
Last week a question was submitted but didn’t come through to my computer until later Sunday afternoon. So, having said we would address all questions, I thought it would be appropriate to do that here. The Question: Are there situations where suicide is acceptable? For example, if you have a very painful terminal illness. This question seems to be on the forefront of many debates and conversations in the medical field. Assisted suicide, as it is known, is a slippery slope culturally. The case is usually made to relieve the suffering of a terminally ill patient. The argument is it’s more merciful to end the suffering if the patient so desires than for them to suffer. Currently in the United States assisted suicide is a state issue and seven states have laws on their books allowing medical doctors to end a terminally ill patient’s life.
Once we say it’s okay for another to end a life in certain circumstances, other circumstances will present themselves that will seem just as merciful. For example: what about the severely mentally disabled or physically disabled? Assisted suicide can easily move on to euthanasia and infanticide.
For those who are skeptical about the slippery slope, I would ask you about how far has abortion come since 1973 and the passing of Roe v. Wade? It used to be abortion was restricted to the early stages of pregnancy. Today abortions are available as late as the 21st week of pregnancy. Have you ever heard of partial birth abortion? This answer is not about abortion but to simply point out the truth that once we open the door to one social/ethical situation, others follow closely behind.
So, to answer the question. As I said in my talk last Sunday, you will not find any place in the Bible where God condones suicide. Again, he is the author of life, and according to the Bible He knows the number of our days. God is a merciful God, and He has promised His pretense through all of life’s situations, even the end of life. So my answer is no, suicide is not an acceptable option that God would condone.
Now, for those facing the realities of a loved one with a terminal illness and in a lot of pain, the medical community does offer palliative care. Palliative care as defined by the getpalliativecare.org website: is specialized medical care for people with serious illness. This type of care is focused on providing relief from the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. The goal is to improve quality of life for both the patient and the family.
Palliative care is provided by a specially-trained team of doctors, nurses and other specialists who work together with a patient’s other doctors to provide an extra layer of support.
At the risk of sounding unmerciful or uncaring about those who are suffering, there is one more point to consider. As we read through Scripture, we find people of God who suffered greatly. In their suffering they all had a few things in common: 1) The promise of God’s presence and 2) The growth of their faith and love for God. We live in a time where suffering is not seen as something to grow us but to desperately avoid at all costs. I am so thankful that those we read about in the Bible didn’t avoid suffering but faced it with the faith and promise of God. Jesus is our prime example. One of the titles for Jesus is the suffering servant. As I stated, this in no way minimizes the suffering people go through by illnesses and disease. God’s promises are true and available to any who trust Him.
Listen and Live: A 40 Day Journey in God’s Word
I cannot emphasize enough how much this all church campaign will help you grow in your faith. Please be at Grace starting August 19th and join a 6-week small group. More information about how to get into a small group or to volunteer will be available this Sunday!
God bless you. I hope to see you Sunday.