We were discussing a 29 year old girl that recently took her life under the Right to Die Act in Colorado. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and the doctors said she would die a horribly painful, agonizing death. Basically, suicide. So our question is: Would a suicide in that situation be considered a sin in God's eyes?
Absolutely. That girl broke the sixth commandment: You shall not murder. That commandment includes not only other people, but yourself. If the killing was not an accident, self-defense, an act of war, a criminal execution, or a selfless sacrifice for the sake of another, then it is murder. That girl murdered herself for her own selfish reasons. She wanted to avoid pain, discomfort, humiliation, expense, etc.
That said, it is a sin God forgives. I know many believe murder or suicide is a one-way ticket to hell, but that certainly is not what the Bible teaches. Moses was a murderer, and he appeared with Jesus at the transfiguration. King David was a murderer and an adulterer, and God called him a "man after my own heart". So if that girl was a believer, and in a moment of weakness committed this sin, then according to Christ, she is in heaven right now. But if she was an unbeliever and never accepted Christ as her Savior, then according to Christ, she traded temporary pain, discomfort, and humiliation for eternal pain, discomfort, and humiliation.
But let's examine the philosophy behind Right to Die, shall we? Take a walk with me to a future news event. A new Life Center has just opened its doors in Columbus, Ohio. As a promotion for their grand opening, they've given away a free "Life Option" to five lucky recipients. The first recipient, Jane Doe, steps up to the microphone to address the crowd. Let's listen in:
Ladies and gentlemen, my name is Jane Doe, and I have terminal cancer. The disease started in my liver, but metastasized to virtually every part of my body. Truly, I am one of the walking dead. My doctors give me no more than three months to live, probably much less. At the moment, I feel a little weakness creeping in, but otherwise good.
When I first heard of the Life Center drawing for a free Life Option, I knew I had to enter. My cancer is particularly nasty according to my doctors. They said I would die a horrible, painful death, that my guts would devote themselves to the production of vomit and diarrhea, my bones would turn to chalk, and my tongue and eyes would shrivel in my skull...a truly awful and messy death. I'm not ashamed to say it - I prayed to win that Life Option, and God answered my prayer.
But it wasn't only for the alleviation of my own suffering that I hoped to win the Life Option...far from it! My primary motivation was to prevent the horrible suffering of my family, both emotionally and financially. There is probably no greater pain than watching a loved one wither away slowly and painfully. And the awful mess and stench...I just couldn't bear the thought of my family shouldering that horrible burden while draining their assets at the same time.
Plus, there is the added bonus of being able to plan. The Life Center counselors offered such good and helpful advice to facilitate my entry into this final stage of life. It's been nothing short of wonderful. I kissed and said good-bye to all my family and friends, and I tied up all the loose ends with a security and efficiency that just broomed all worry from my mind. I am more ready for this than I've ever been for anything in my life.
I just want to thank Life Center and our state legislators for passing our good Right to Die law so that people like me can enter this next stage of life with some dignity intact. We afford that much dignity to dogs and other animals, and it was high time humans claimed a right to equal treatment. Thank you all.
[With the applause of the crowd, Jane walks resolutely into a cylindrical "life chamber", and the door hisses closed behind her. As a red light begins to glow above the life chamber, Jane Doe's husband, John, takes the podium to address the crowd.]
Good afternoon. I am John Doe, Jane's husband. I just want to reiterate the positive words of my wife. I can't tell you what a godsend Life Center has been to me. When I think of all I've avoided - the emotional pain, the loss of money...not just from medical bills, but from missing work...the turmoil and upheaval of my life...well, it's just hard to thank Life Center enough. I didn't have to clean up any vomit or diarrhea, and it's a good thing because I don't think I could've done it; I have a weak stomach. [Chuckles ripple through the crowd.]
Jane was spot on about the Life Center counselors. They gave such good advice and helped us plan for this next stage of life. In fact, I'd like to introduce you to a big result of some of that advice. Honey? [He gestures toward someone to join him on stage. A pretty blonde emerges from the crowd and stands beside him.] This is my fiancee Candee. With the money I saved with Jane, I was able to buy a nice engagement ring and a honeymoon in Bermuda. We'll be married this afternoon and relaxing in our seaside bungalow by tomorrow afternoon, all so slick and smooth, barely a ripple in my life.
[The light above the "life chamber" now glows green, and a small box labeled "Jane Doe" exits the chamber on a little conveyor belt. John holds it up for all to see.]
None of this would've been possible without Life Center and that wonderful Right to Die law that finally allows a man like me to treat my wife with the dignity of a dog. Thanks and God bless you all!
Do you see? Jane's full adoption of that philosophy might seem reasonable, sensible, unselfish, perhaps even noble, but John's full adoption of it reveals the true monstrous selfishness of it. How does a person grow strong in virtue except by living through situations that demand it? Jane robbed John of the opportunity to exercise love, mercy, kindness, compassion, patience, empathy, and a host of other virtues. When virtue is denied a person, what's left? A mercenary.
I am not saying the family of the woman in Colorado exhibits this kind of brute callousness, but I am saying callousness, a loss of natural affection, is the eventual societal consequence of that philosophy. Sanitized horror infects and propagates until a society can neither recognize horror nor feel the emotion appropriate to it.
The Bible predicts that in the end times, people will be without natural affection. May God have mercy on us.