Death With Dignity
The State of Michigan has taken legal steps to shut off Dr. Jack Kevorkian’s “death machine.” In the name of “death with dignity,” the doctor helped more than 10 people hasten their leap into eternity before state officials voted early enforcement of a law to curtail assisted suicide. And, while one must be relieved that such ghoulish “assistance” has been curtailed, “Dr. Death” has succeeded in bringing the issue of euthanasia into the public forum once again.
There can be little doubt that, given the moral temperament of a nation that has endorsed infanticide, euthanasia will be touted as a viable option for dealing with unpleasant aspects of the aging process. Clearly, from a humanistic, pragmatic standpoint, it makes more sense to send the elderly on their way than to snuff out the life potential of the unborn. Such is the logic of an era when man has fancied himself the center and circumference of his universe. A person’s “right,” therefore, to control life or death options becomes an assumed prerogative—as long as God is no longer a consideration and one accepts the premise that death ends it all.
But death does not end it all, and for those facing eternal consequences, making a wrong turn assures the fact that there is most certainly no “death with dignity.”
Playing God has become an increasingly popular pastime as our society has degenerated morally and spiritually. And, whether one’s peers choose to listen or not, it is incumbent upon Christians to warn that the only competent keeper of the life and death ledger is the God who has affirmed that our times are in His hand (Ps. 31:15).
As a matter of fact, some of the most important decisions in life—particularly eternal life—are made in the waning years or hours of our present physical existence. A case in point is the thief on the cross, who, staring into the face of imminent death, made the most important decision a human being can make. His “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom” (Lk. 23:42) was rewarded with Christ’s triumphant “Today shalt thou be with me in paradise” (Lk. 23:43).
I recently met a person who is in the process of facing death with true dignity. Ironically, this meeting took place in the State of Michigan during the same week that the decision was made to accelerate the end of Kevorkian’s assisted suicide. Her face was radiant. This relatively young woman explained that she was terminally ill and did not know exactly how much of her allotted time was left. But because she had trusted Christ as her Savior, she felt perfect peace and assurance that God had better things in store for her. Better still was her hope that, as promised, her Lord might return before she experienced her walk through the valley and carry her and her loved ones into His presence.
As one who, over the years, has been at the side of a host of people headed both ways as they entered eternity, I recognized the look that only those who rest in Him radiate. That, friend, is truly death “with dignity.”