This isn’t a simple question with a simple answer.

People ask this question for all sorts of reasons.  Sue Rodriguez, who was suffering from  ALS was one; “Its roots stretch back to the 1993 Supreme Court decision that denied Sue Rodriguez the right to die. The B.C. woman, suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), sought to end her own life, famously asking: ‘Whose body is this? Who owns my life?’ In a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court rejected her efforts to strike down the Criminal Code provisions, saying they weren’t in step with Canadian values.”  (National Post)

For people suffering terribly drawing near to the end of their lives I can understand why they would ask such a question.  We should have nothing but compassion for people driven to the edge in desperate circumstances.  We are not qualified to be their judges and we don’t know what we would think or do in their place.

Others ask this question for more frivolous reasons yet they claim the same right to ask.  It isn’t hard to ‘google’ lots of examples.  The Escapist forum cites this scenario in response to the question; “How far should ‘It’s my body, I can do what I want’ go?” from a person who is clearly disgusted by the adolescent self-centredness of some:

Currently on a ‘popular’ (not to be named) website, someone stumbled across a woman posting on facebook that she had enough vodka and coke’s that she couldn’t drink anymore or she wouldn’t even be able to walk.

This is all well and good, except for the fact that she’s 6.5 months pregnant. Many people expressed their disgust on her page or by messages, all the while her friends and family keep posting retaliatory messages supporting her and saying how good of a mother she IS and WILL be.

It astounds me people could be this stupid, never mind the fact her friends and family are supporting her choices to drink and having the gall to actually say she will make a good mother. This just screams of selfishness and idiocy, regardless of it being legal or not.

Some are pushed to the edge of the ‘slippery slope’ because of circumstances beyond their control.  Others casually or carelessly get there and are oblivious to the consequences of their selfish actions.  In the absence of any absolutes in life it hard enough to set your moral compass at the best of times.  When the storms of life threaten to overwhelm a person trying to decide what is right and what is best becomes near impossible without guidance.  Many sail through life with no cares and still end up lost or shipwrecked.  The great tragedy is that often people close to the individual – a child with fetal alcohol syndrome, a caregiver wracked with guilt or a grieving spouse – also pay a high price when the ‘ship goes down’.

The Bible gives us the clear answer to the question ‘Whose body is this?’; “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price.Therefore honor God with your bodies.” (1 Corinthians 6:19,20)  For those who are not Christian, this answer has no binding hold over their decisions.  For those who are Christian at least we have the certainty of the answer.  That being said, our Christianity doesn’t exempt us from the trials and tribulations of life.  Jesus told us; “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

As Christians some of us will likely come to the same terrible place that Sue Rodriguez came to.  We know what the Bible tells us and we also know that Jesus will provide peace in that terrible dark storm.  That is what ‘faith’ is all about.  

We must not judge or condemn others for their decisions because Jesus told us not to; “Do not judge so that you will not be judged. For in the way you judge, you will be judged; and by your standard of measure, it will be measured to you.…” (John 7:1,2)  Correct Biblical application starts and ends with our own actions not the actions of others or we run the risk of becoming like the Pharisees; “They tie up heavy, cumbersome loads and put them on other people’s shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a finger to move them.”  (Matthew 23:4 – see also James 2:1-10)  We may exercise discernment and use Scripture as a plumb line in a world that has little to offer in terms of real guidance for our actions and responses to others.

In a world with no absolutes and many gods including the great god of yourself, people must deal with difficult questions on their own and in isolation.   This is not new.  In the past life was like this; “In those days there was no king in Israel; everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)

Jesus gave up His life for all of us whether we are Christian or not; “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)  Jesus calls to all of us whether we have slipped down the ‘slippery slope’ or have not yet been put to any terrible test; “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.” (Matthew 9:12,13)

My response to this difficult question is: ‘Oh Lord, have mercy upon us all and deliver us from evil.’

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