• Greg

Merciful Termination of Life?

The Bible teaches that human beings are created in the image of God. This gives all humans dignity and value. Human life should not be terminated merely because life is difficult or inconvenient (Exodus 20:13). Christians must also reject the idea that everything must be done to save life at all costs, and sometimes the decision must be made to accept the inevitable outcome (Ecclesiastes 3:1-2).

Is there such a thing as a merciful termination of life? In our suffering creation, this concept is discussed using terms such as euthanasia, physician-assisted suicide, non-resuscitation orders, and even mercy killing, in response to untreatable severe pain and suffering.

There are evil people in the world that have a disregard for life. They clamor for abortion on demand and would have no problem being rid of the weak since they consider the needy to be a burden on society. Many professing Christians rightly oppose these immoralities by standing up for life, but they wrongly include all views and situations that relate to these topics under the same evil umbrella, and many are inconsistent in their morals. They then wonder why people do not take them seriously.

As someone that values human life, I also believe that life is not its own end. Christians do not argue that life should be preserved at all costs. Many Christians throughout Church history have given up their lives for some other end, such as martyrdom or saving the life of someone else. This was done for the precise reason that life is precious; yet precious life was forfeited to secure this end. In the past and present, people have concluded that a person may willingly give up his own life as an act of love. Making careful and faithful choices about dying is not the same as “playing God”, instead, it provides examples of people using their freedom and responsibility given to them by God.

Consider this scenario: A despotic government official condemns one of my loved ones to death for being a Christian, and instead of making it a quick and painless death, the decision is made to burn my loved one at the stake. There is nothing I can do to stop this cruel tragedy, and my loved one begins to suffer unspeakable pain and horrific suffering on the way to inevitable death. From a distance, I have the opportunity to fire a single lethal round from a firearm that would end my soon deceased loved one’s suffering. Would I do it? With all the pain that a man could possibly feel, yes, I would, out of love and compassion for my family member. This situation pulls at our heart strings, and perhaps many others would agree with this position. Some of us look at this from the perspective of showing mercy, and the fact that many of us would end a life in this scenario to prevent suffering, and even end our own life to protect others in certain circumstances, thus contradicting the notion that we think only God should decide the timing of a person’s death. Not everyone that believes there are situations where ending suffering is the right thing to do are doing it for selfish reasons. I refer to the hypothetical scenario provided in order to draw a distinction between the freedom and responsibility of the individual to make his or her own decision, or a compassionate family member to relieve a loved one of extreme suffering when death is inevitable (not situations of inconvenience or troubling times), and State sanctioned euthanasia. Some see that there are exceptions pertaining to this topic that stem from a perspective of loving compassion, while remembering that the God of mercy is with us in both life and death.

I staunchly oppose State officials being in control of life and death, and I consider State sanctioned euthanistic policies relating to the unborn, the elderly, and the infirm to be wicked.