You may have heard by now about Brittany Maynard, and that yesterday she ended her life.
Matt Walsh wrote an incredible piece on how suicide is not brave. He seriously says everything and more that I would want to say on the issue of physician assisted suicide, euthanasia and suicide in general. His point:
life is valuable. All life is valuable.
Honestly, I wasn't going to write anything about the topic on this blog because, while I'm very well acquainted with the abortion side of the pro-life coin, this is an area with which I am not as comfortable debating and discussing. And not because I don't know where I stand. I am absolutely unmovable in my belief that all life has value. Every.single.life. At every.single.stage. All life is dignified. All life has purpose. Even when we don't want to see it or believe it.
This is a topic that hasn't had much public discussion. But that needs to change because it is being discussed elsewhere. Behind closed doors. Among the people who will change the laws and the culture in favor of legalized suicide. And if we aren't sure where we stand, if we're not willing to have the hard conversations amongst ourselves, the people we care about, the people we know and even those with whom we disagree, soon we'll wake up and wonder why we didn't get a say.
You have a say. Now say it!
So last night I was scrolling through Instagram and I came across a post from a little shop in California that I think makes some of the cutest clothes and accessories. To my surprise, I mean my absolute shock, it was a quote from Brittany Maynard about being brave. And the hash tag #diewithdignity was used (we will get to what that means and does not mean in a moment). What disturbed me was that the owner of this shop is a Christian. But what also disturbed me was that in just 20 minutes or so, the post had received over 200 likes and several comments of praise. By this morning it was up to 400+ likes.
I was grieved. So grieved.
Of course I had to leave a comment. You know me. And what I said was this:
It is not my intention to preach here but I can't pass by without saying something. I am so grieved by the support Brittany has received for this choice she has made. There is nothing dignified about suicide. It's tragic. Life has value at every stage, during every season, whether thriving or barely hanging on. God believed her life to be so valuable that He gave it to her. Only He has the authority to determine when it ends. I'll quote Matt Walsh, "if God reached out from the depths of eternity to hand us this life, how can we think it acceptable or worse, meritable to throw it out before our time is finished?" It is never God's will for one to end the life He gave us- the most valuable and incredible gift. Suicide is not brave because escaping suffering is not brave. Because the implication then is that fighting until the dire end, suffering all the way, is not brave when in fact THAT is what is truly brave.
Almost immediately I received several responses. I was expecting them. But what I didn't expect was what these women were saying. And the most surprising response was the claim that Brittany did not commit suicide, that she did not want to die.
At first I was speechless. How can you say that the intentional ending of your life prematurely is not suicide? That is precisely what suicide is! But then it struck me. We are quickly doing here exactly what we've done with abortion. Again, this is just the flip side of the same coin. With abortion we swear up and down that "terminating a pregnancy" is not murder. Now we are saying that "physician assisted suicide" and "euthanasia" are not self-murder. But the same holds true in this case as with abortion. The intentional ending of a life is murder. Whether it's the murder of another or the murder of self. Suicide, like abortion, ends the life of a human being who has purpose, value and dignity.
And I am still hung up on the defense that she did not want to die. Of course she didn't. Last I checked, no one wants to die. But we all will at some point or another. The fact that she knew it was coming sooner than most doesn't change a thing. None of us know when or how we will die. But it's going to happen. To beat God to the punch is to say to Him, "You are not God. You have no authority over my life. I have the authority." I suppose to someone who isn't a Christian that attitude is just fine. But for a Christian to support such an action, such a stance, such an attitude, is contrary to everything scripture teaches.
We are created by God, for God, for His glory, for His purpose. How dare we think otherwise? And how dare we support someone whose actions and words say otherwise?
Now, let's visit that term "die with dignity" because it absolutely disgusts me. Completely. There is nothing dignified about ending your own life. There is nothing dignified about ending your life because you want to escape suffering. But that begs a question, is it not dignified then to suffer until the end? To say that ending your life early means that you are dying with dignity implies that dying at the end of suffering hard and holding firm until the end is not dignified. Are those who lose all capacities due to illness or disability not dignified? Is there no dignity in their suffering? In their life? And ultimately their death? Of course there is dignity.
But we can't have it both ways. Walsh addresses this in his post (link above). We can't say that it's both dignified to end a life early and to die as a result of the suffering and the disease. It's either/or. To claim both exist is pure insanity.
But sadly, that is the world in which we live. It's a world where we say things like, "that is what is best for me" and "what is right for me is not necessarily right for you" and, my husband's favorite, "this is my truth" as if to say that we get to decide truth and morality individually. But we don't get to decide those things! The truth is that what is morally right is right for all and what is morally wrong is wrong for all. Only God determines those things.
Many are claiming that what Brittany did, in ending her own life, was brave. Choosing an escape route in order to avoid suffering is not brave. Choosing to leave your family, the people you love the most, behind, is not brave.
Perhaps to some, what she did seems beautiful, dignified or brave. But to anyone who truly values life, what she did is an affront to God - the One who gave her her very life, the life she chose to end. He values all life no matter the development, the season, the situation, the thriving, the suffering or the thriving. And we should as well.
I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live Deuteronomy 30:19