Colorado will vote on assisted suicide this fall. A new bill to legalize assisted suicide has been introduced in the Michigan legislature. While the Michigan effort, at least, is unlikely to move forward, we must be prepared to articulate responses -- in word AND deed. Here's how we can address the question of pain.
If unbearable pain was the main reason people chose assisted suicide, we would naturally look to doctors to fix the problem. But it’s not the main reason. Unbearable pain doesn’t even rank as one of the top five. Those who have made use of the assisted suicide legislation in Oregon listed these concerns as their primary reasons:
• Loss of independence
• Loss of quality of life
• Loss of dignity
• Fear of being a burden on others
• Fear of pain
THE FEAR OF PAIN -- YES.
It seems as though fear and loss are the real motivating factors causing people to consider assisted suicide.
When proponents of assisted suicide talk of the unbearable suffering people experience with a terminal illness driving them to want to end it all, it is emotional and spiritual suffering, not physical pain. For the most part, physical pain can be controlled through palliative care.
THESE ARE SPIRITUAL, NOT MEDICAL ISSUES.
As Christians, it’s not enough to cast our vote in opposition to assisted suicide and euthanasia. We need to address these 'motivating factors' Biblically so we can offer help and support to those who are in despair when faced with a terminal illness. The Bible really does have the answers to these life and death concerns.
• Loss of independence – God wants us to give Him control. 2 Corinthians 1:9 - Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.
• Poor quality of life – We trust God’s promise to meet all our needs. 2 Corinthians 9:8 - And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
• Loss of dignity – Our dignity is rooted in being made in God’s image. Matthew 10:30-31 - Even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.
• Fear of being a burden on others – We need to help carry their burdens. Galatians 6:2 - Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
• Fear of pain – Remember God’s faithfulness in all of our trials Psalm 121:7,8 - The LORD will keep you from all harm – he will watch over your life; the LORD will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore.
This is why we do LIFT. The burden is on us. We need to help solve the problem.