"I just can't take it anymore. Life is too difficult. There's no hope for me. I'm going to kill myself!"
Suicide as an acceptable solution to the seemingly insurmountable pressures of life is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. More and more physicians and politicians are getting on board with supporting "death with dignity." Additionally, we're witnessing people more readily ending their lives when they feel hopeless, crushed, trapped or depressed.
In the classic film, The Hiding Place, Corrie Ten Boom felt there was no way out from the incredible suffering and pending extermination in the Nazi death camp. At a defining moment her dying sister Betsy told her, "There is no pit so deep that God is not deeper still." Corrie was miraculously released and went on to serve God for decades. If someone hasn't been genuinely transformed by the grace of God and learned to depend totally upon Him amidst life's adversities, words like these ring hollow.
Moments ago, I had a divine appointment leading up to my praying with a Christian leader whose son had just died a tragic death from a drug overdose. This follows interaction last week with a Christian woman whose 16-year-old son was killed instantly from a foolish prank when he was thrown off the hood of a car. Both were devastating tragedies, yet the iron-clad faith of the surviving individuals is what carried them through.
What about millions of people who don't have a vital relationship with God through the Person of Jesus Christ? The sad reality is, they fall prey to despondency and yield to the escapism of suicide. Our duty is to reach them with the gospel.
Culture of Life or Death?
With senseless killings, suicide, abortion, euthanasia and infanticide advancing around us, we either succumb to a culture of death where life is no longer sacred or we work to cultivate a culture of life.
Witnessing the downward spiral away from honoring human life. Our family was taught to recognize every person as created by God and in His image and thereby worthy of respect from womb to tomb. We receive our precious widows into our homes; speak up for the unborn, disabled, elderly and sick; participate in initiatives celebrating the dignity of human life; and, joyfully embrace the adoption alternative.
We adopted a Korean child. One of our sons and his wife just welcomed their third adopted child into their home, a precious 2-year-old boy from China. Our other son married a single mom raising two small children, and now they're a family of six.
Christians everywhere are helping reestablish a culture of life in America. This stands in stark contrast to disturbing developments regarding an accelerating culture of death gaining ground. The astute are perceptive to what's happening.
- The suicide rate for teenage girls has hit a 40-year high, according to the CDC.
- Babies with Down syndrome are "mysteriously" disappearing across Europe and now in the U.S. in spite of the fact they can live healthy and happy lives until about 60 years old (termination rate is 100 percent in Iceland; 98 percent in Denmark and in France, it's almost 80 percent). Was it coincidence or providence that the new Gerber "spokesbaby" is a handsome little boy with Down syndrome, chosen from 140,000 who sought the title?
- Recently in Canada, where euthanasia was legalized in 2016, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau conveyed chilling comments regarding speech restrictions on pro-life people, "not in line with where we are at as a government and quite frankly where we are as a society."
- Like so many choosing to "play God" in terminating their life, Fidel Castro Jr., just killed himself because of struggles with depression. Seems not a week goes by when we don't hear of news like this regarding someone we know or a celebrity, sports figure or business leader.
- In the aftermath of a mass shooting or domestic homicide, how many times have we heard, "He then shot himself."
- Recently a 29-year-old Dutch woman battling emotional turmoil took a lethal dose with her doctor's approval so she could escape her "rotten life."
- In Oregon, a bill sanctioning starving mentally ill patients to death is expected to pass. This was the first state that legalized assisted-suicide (others include Montana, Washington, Vermont, California, Colorado and Washington, D.C.).
- The Senate days ago voted down common-sense legislation to humanely protect the lives of babies who survive abortions! Instead they will be left to die on the table even though babies are viable outside the womb at 22 weeks!
- New York Times columnist, David Brooks was lampooned for suggesting the Democratic Party change its position on abortion to protect human life. He infuriated readers by revealing that "the first pro-life rally on the National Mall was organized by the Democratic National Youth Pro-Life Coalition!"
- Vile comedian Sarah Silverman spoke at an abortion fundraiser last week and had the audacity to crack a disgusting "joke" about "eating an aborted fetus."
Americans Must Awaken
Multitudes of pastors and people prefer steering clear of the brutal realities facing us in our time. While the storm clouds are looming on the horizon, it's more crowd-pleasing and financially profitable to stay in the "safe zone" ignoring the barbarians at the gate. Someone "pulling the plug" on our life is no longer a remote possibility.
Here's the deal: proponents of casual no-fault divorce, abortion-on-demand, gay marriage, transgender initiatives, marijuana legalization and now the "right to die" movement would be vanquished swiftly if the pulpits of America were aflame with preachers of righteousness proclaiming the transformational message of the gospel alongside informing, equipping and motivating their church to stand up and speak out for Biblically-informed justice. The "Bullseye 30-Day Challenge" (endorsed by senior leaders nationwide) helps us all to arise to the crisis in which we find ourselves.
Eighty-three percent of our American populace professes to be Christian. Ninety-two percent of our senators and congressional leaders proclaim themselves to be Christians. Barna Research shows 90 percent of evangelical church members want to be equipped on today's "hot-button" issues, but only 10 percent of pastors will do it for fear of losing tithing attenders. What's wrong with this picture?
Jesus Christ confronted injustice and sin while challenging His followers to advance the Kingdom rule of God and be "salt" and "light" rescuing the lost from deception and damnation.
Biblical examples like Moses, Esther, Daniel, Peter and Paul inspire us through the corridors of time not to shrink back but proclaim righteousness in the land.
John Wesley, William Booth, Charles Spurgeon, William Wilberforce, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Billy Graham, Martin Luther King Jr., Chuck Colson and others engaged the people of their day with the gospel and social activism to bring change and awakening to the masses.
Now, It's Our Turn
May this rapidly growing "right to die" movement jolt us out of any complacency into an awareness that passivity is not an option anymore. "Who will rise up for me against the wicked? Who will stand up for me against those who do iniquity?" (Ps. 94:16).
Having just commemorated Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s holiday weeks ago, let's call to mind the charge he left us:
"The church must be reminded that it is not the master of the state or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its proper zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority."
Larry Tomczak is a cultural commentator of 46 yrs, Intercessors for America board member, best-selling author and a public policy advisor with Liberty Counsel. His new, innovative video/book, BULLSEYE, develops informed influencers in 30 days (see www.bullseyechallenge.com).
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