Assisted Suicide: As We Age, Get Ready, Take This Pill and Die'

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Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience.

After gay marriage, brace yourself for assisted suicide - it's next on the agenda. The June 27th cover of The Economist, an influential national publication, heralded "The Right to Die: Why Assisted Suicide Should be Legal."

Currently there is a bill being put before the House of Lords in Britain to legalize assisted suicide. Get ready.

Just as homosexuality was relabeled "Gay" and "Homosexual Marriage" served up as "Marriage Equality," assisted suicide is now "Death With Dignity" and "End-of-Life Counseling" becomes "Advanced Care Planning."

Oregon Democrat, Earl Blumenauer, is sponsoring the legislation. Take note he's from the state that already has mercy killing, legal marijuana, has fined Christian bakers $135,000 (along with a "gag order" on speaking about their religious convictions) for declining a lesbian wedding; along with taxpayer-supported sex change surgery for 15-year-olds without parental notification.

This coincides with the Obama Administration's new proposal from the Department of Health and Human Services reviving their "death panel" idea "counseling" frail, older folks in light of Obamacare, skyrocketing medical costs and hundreds of thousands of Baby boomers turning 65 monthly. And lest you believe politicians reassuring us that money isn't the issue, remember as we celebrate Medicare's 50th anniversary that President Johnson initially told us it would cost $500 million a year but it has exploded to $600 billion annually!

Presidential candidate Jeb Bush is already warning us to protect ourselves and loved ones by signing end-of-life directives now.

Here's the Deal: This is serious stuff and you and your family need to know what's underfoot.

After Gay Marriage, Get Ready for Assisted Suicide!

"Son, your mother is in her 80s, if she dies on the operating table, do you want us to revive her?"

With those words, the doctor queried me prior to my mother's surgery after her fall. She lived with us for seven years and was becoming increasingly frail plus had numerous disabilities. This extremely sensitive subject is being faced more and more by our generation.

Now there is a clear difference between actively killing someone and passively allowing a person to yield to inevitable death as we see in the Bible with Jesus, Stephen, Jacob and others. This is not suicide. Also, our Christian faith requires us to compassionately care for all people approaching death as well as those with reasonable hope of recovery. Even King David nearing death was granted a young, beautiful virgin to lie in bed next to him to keep him warm (with no romantic intimacy)!

Although Jesus refused "medication" to numb pain on the cross, Proverbs 31:6 tells us, "Give beer to those who are perishing, wine to those who are in anguish." This is used in the argument behind medical marijuana.

When it is obvious to all that death is at hand; there is no reasonable hope of recovery; extraordinary life support measures aren't advisable; and, the dying individual desires (ideally with family) to be allowed to "walk through the valley of the shadow of death," then the appointed time has arrived to meet one's Maker!

Sometimes an individual refuses chemotherapy when told they are in stage 4 terminal cancer. While not refusing minimal nourishment, others refuse a feeding tube and other extraordinary measures so as not to delay but hasten their home going experience.

Socialized medicine becoming more and more a reality, we need to make preparation now for end-of-life decisions, as "death panels" will slowly be introduced like they are in Canada and elsewhere.

When my wife and I worked on our "Living Will" (ps: You need one and should address it now lest you lose savings and possessions in probate court plus others will make dying decisions for you!) we incorporated end-of-life guidelines that can be obtained from The National Right to Life organization.

The smooth and seductive reasoning presented by advocates of euthanasia needs to be exposed and resisted vigorously by people of faith. Doctors helping "suffering" elderly people or those with dementia, depression or severe injuries be "put out of their misery" with lethal doses of medicine is contrary to the will of God.

A Sensitive Subject - Suicide and "Death With Dignity"

With the battle for gay marriage won, progressive secularists are now beginning to set their sights on assisted suicide. They are just as well-organized and well-funded as LGBTQ activists.

Recently, People magazine and other publications highlighted the "beautiful" story of Brittany Maynard and her choosing to end her life by assisted suicide. After her death, there was a breakthrough on her very specific kind of cancer and it was even detailed on 60 Minutes.

A May Gallup poll revealed that 68% of Americans now "believe doctors should be allowed to help terminally ill patients hasten their death," World magazine reports.

Remember the "Hemlock Society" that promoted mercy killing? They now have a new name "Compassion and Choices." Clever, huh?

"Samaritan Ministries" is doing a cover story in their newsletter on this topic this very month as a red alert. Matt Valliere, of the "Patients Rights Action Fund" states, " It is very important to be educated on the issue and to speak to the issue. So many people in the United States don't realize this is sneaking up right behind them. This is a huge deal."

Already, 20 states in America are considering legislation to legalize assisted suicide! Because of the elderly's vulnerability due to disability, frailty, pain, economic difficulties or simply a lack of information, social engineers are crafting healthcare so that it might not pay for a cancer patient's costly treatment but will cover the small cost of drugs for assisted suicide. Add to the mix, selfish and greedy family members manipulating parents in this direction, and you can see the storm clouds on the horizon!

We Are On a Slippery Slope

In 1976 I got married. That same year I also had a book in my possession by Dr. Francis Schaeffer entitled, "How Should We Then Live?" The title comes from Ezekiel 33:10 which is an urgent prophetic warning for America today.

The book changed my life. For over 43 years in full-time vocational ministry I have lived it's message. The frightening part is that the warning given by Francis Schaeffer is unfolding before our eyes yet more people know about the pending divorce of Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner than this reality.

As we remove God and His commands from our culture and fail to uphold the sanctity of life (everyone is created in the image of God), we are on a slippery slope to our demise. Our only hope is for a genuine spiritual awakening and that is something I give my life for each and every day.

Euthanasia comes from the Greek words meaning "good death." Alternative and equally misleading terms used for actively taking someone's life are "mercy killing," "death with dignity" and "physician assisted suicide."

Scripture tells us that all life is sacred and the command is clear, "You shall not murder" (Ex. 20:13). The seriousness of this is seen when David ordered capital punishment for the man who assisted Saul in his suicide act (2Sam.1:1-16). Yet euthanasia proponents like Dr. Phillip Nitchkie say, "Many people I meet and argue with believe that human life is sacred. I do not..."

The further our Western civilization drifts from our Judeo Christian foundations, the more countries embrace euthanasia coupled with abortion and infanticide. Euthanasia is now legal in Belgium, Columbia, India, Ireland, Luxembourg, Mexico and the Netherlands (with the Netherlands small population they still euthanize 2000 people yearly plus now have guidelines for infant euthanasia). 73% of French doctors admit using drugs to end an infant's life.

This is gaining ground in America as we now see physician assisted suicide legal in Washington, Oregon, Montana, Vermont and New Mexico. Barring revival, it is coming to a neighborhood near you!

People of faith and conscience are sensing what's coming down the pike. Questions like the following are surfacing throughout our nation.

• "Is mercy killing…death with dignity…euthanasia alright?"
• "What happens to people who kill themselves?"
• "Do Christians automatically go to hell if they take their own life?"
• "Is suicide the unpardonable sin?"
• "Suicide is caused by depression, a disease, so people aren't responsible, correct?"
• "Aren't sensitive subjects like this best left to medical-health professionals?"
• "The term 'suicide' isn't in the Bible, so who are we to judge?"

Suicide is a choice to intentionally take one's own life. It comes from the Latin words
sui ("of oneself ") and cid ("to kill").

In America there is a suicide every 13 minutes. Thirty-eight thousand deaths yearly are
attributed to suicide, and the figure is increasing. It's the leading cause of death
among 15-24 year-olds, and for those in their mid-40s to mid-60s there has been a
30% increase in the last decade. Ironically, psychiatrists have the highest suicide rate
among the medical professions.

People in the Bible who either took their lives or wanted to die includes: Saul, Moses,
Elijah, Jonah, Zimri, Ahithophel, Abimelech and Judas. Samson collapsed a building
on himself, but I view this as martyrdom since he is honored in Hebrews 11 for his
redemptive heroics.

Here's the deal: Suicide is not God's will, and although it is not the unpardonable sin
(unbelief and rejection of Christ), it is a most dangerous and very serious sin. Amidst
the worst struggles of life, God always remains "an anchor for the soul, firm and
secure" (Heb.6:19).

Sadly, there are countless millions who have no relationship with God to avail them-
selves of His help in the time of need, although some do cry out in their anguish, and
only God knows what transpires in those closing seconds. We do well to avoid speculation here.

Others suffer from genuine mental illness, debilitating depression and biological dis-
orders that can cloud/impair their judgment so they do not think clearly and rationally
in the throes of their crisis. Yes, suicide is sin, but is it at times a sin not leading to
eternal death (1 John 5:17)? Again we need to tread very carefully here.

Christians should never presume on the grace of God and risk gambling their eternal
destiny by suicide. Every one of us should walk in a healthy fear of God as we reflect
on warnings in Scripture:

• Heb. 10:26-31 cautions about sinning willfully and calls the genuineness of our salvation into question.
• Rev. 21:8 declares that murderers (suicide is a grave sin equivalent to murder) "shall have their part in the lake of fire."

God is the Author of life who ultimately has the authority to give and take this precious gift. We affirm this and say with Job, "I came naked from my mother's womb, and I shall have nothing when I die. The Lord gave me everything I had, and they were His to take away. Blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job 1:21, TLB).

Jesus revealed Satan as a "murderer" and the "father of lies" (John 8:44). It is this enemy of our soul who whispers "Life is not worth living "... "I can't go on"..."It'll only get worse"..."I'd be better off in the next life"... Yet while the "thief comes only to steal, kill and destroy," it is Jesus who reminds us, "but I have come that you might have life and have it in abundance" (John 10:10).

How About Depression and Desiring to Simply End It All?

Depression is real and, like it or not, it oftentimes stems from sinful choices and consequences. Obviously there are legitimate causes that are not necessarily sin-related, but that is an area outside the limited scope of this commentary. Too often commentators and counselors attribute suicide only to external causes—things that happen to us or come upon us instead of connecting them to our own wrong choices and sinful reactions.

The cumulative effects of persistently violating God's holy standards can result in people being crushed and bitter, then blaming God for their fate. "When a man's folly brings his way to ruin, his heart rages against the Lord" (Prov. 19:3).

Let's be honest: As our society has drifted increasingly away from Judeo-Christian foundations, suicides have increased dramatically especially among the young and middle-age baby boomers. How much of our pain, suffering and sleeplessness is really sin-related?

Studies show that in Europe the suicide rate has increased dramatically as biblical standards have been discarded over the decades. How much of this pain, restlessness, lack of peace, stress and infirmity is connected to sinful behavior causing masses to seek medication like antidepressants (as well as alcohol, marijuana and hard drugs) for escape and temporary relief?

Millions of people today feel depressed ("pressed down") but don't know why. Depression is not the root problem. The guilt people sense and try to dismiss is actually God convicting us and "pressing down" upon us that we might employ the privilege of confession and cleansing of conscience to find forgiveness and freedom in Him!

In 2014 the film that won Best Picture for the Golden Globe and the Academy Awards was entitled Boyhood. It was extolled by critics as a "Masterpiece!" It's 12 years in a boy's life recorded in real time. The story unfolds fornication, two divorces, debt, lying, physical and verbal abuse, drunkenness, drugs, profanity, destruction of property, exploitation of women, self-pity, out-of-wedlock birth, deceit, mockery of Christianity, thievery, dishonoring of parents, pornography and a closing scene featuring a woman sobbing in rehearsing her life and saying, "I just thought there'd be more!" The characters' lives apart from God could easily bring them to a place of suicide. Tragic.

Multitudes of deceived people need to be helped in seeing that their problem of depression is self-induced and not something that mysteriously and arbitrarily comes upon them like measles or the flu. Our job is to reach out and help these folks with the gospel and God's truth. Consider the high rates of suicide among the LGBT community - it's shocking.

A man was desperate and depressed. He went to an old buddy who counseled him to go and talk with a psychiatrist. He did but it brought no relief and neither did the meds. So the friend advised him to invest in a therapist. He did but his money was running out and the attempts at coping didn't deliver. Finally his friend told him of a circus in a nearby town where there was a clown who was hilarious and made everybody laugh. The deflated man began to cry and when he looked up he said, "I know that won't work because, you see, I am that clown."

Awareness Should Lead Us to Action

The elderly, those battling depression and those suffering from lost mobility, illness and disease need protection from assisted suicide.

They are very vulnerable and need caregivers and family to come to their aid. Jesus said, "I was sick and you visited me…" Regardless of cultural trends, we must rise to the occasion and lay down our lives in service for the needy knowing that everyone is created in the "image of God."

An excellent organization to contact is the "Patients Rights Action Fund" for resources and help.

My wife's parents are 93 and 90 years of age and, thank God, are receiving family care in an exemplary way. It is not easy but this is what it means to "honor your father and your mother" in the midst of a very self-centered, secular society today. For those without caring family members, this is an opportunity for the church to look on the horizon and serve as a witness for Christ.

My mother went on to live another seven years and when her time came she was flanked by my sister and me as we swabbed her lips and gently encouraged her to go. Just as I read the 91st Psalm to her, she yielded her spirit as I said these words, "For He will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; they will lift you up in their hands…"

"She's gone!" exclaimed my sister.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints" (Psalm 116:15). Let's all be a part of the process of treating the departing as precious and dignified, the way God intended.

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.