And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on.  For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing.  Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds!  And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life?  If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest?  Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!  And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried.  For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them.  Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

 “Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. (Luke 12:22–32 ESV)

The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen. (2 Timothy 4:18 ESV)

As we approach Good Friday and Easter, we might consider a set of questions that the world has been asking lately.

  • What is the value of human life?
  • How does one achieve a good death?
  • How should we deal with suffering when it is affecting our quality of life?

These very questions have come before the Minnesota Legislature over the past several years and is set to come up again this year.  In the past the opposition has squelched this legislation but that seems less likely this year.

Since 1988 the Unitarian Universalists have been pushing for legislation that they call the “Death with Dignity Act.”  They argue that you should have the right to end your life when you want.  In other words, they want to embrace as full of an individual’s self-determination as possible.  They argue that his choice should not be taken away and that there are many scientific advances that prolong people’s lives contrary to their will or regardless of the actual “quality of life” that it grants, and especially when there is “no reasonable expectation of recovery from extreme physical or mental disability.”  This is underpinned by a belief “that human life has inherent dignity, which may be compromised when life is extended beyond the will or ability of a person to sustain that dignity”[1]  It also assumes that medication can provide a “peaceful death.”

While the Unitarian Universalists assert that their position is about human dignity, it is a view of dignity that assumes a special place for humanity but also denies that our source of value comes from God.  For the Christian, value and dignity come from God’s regard of man.  God values the birds and flowers but even more so, He values mankind.  Though our life span and existence is short, though we are only creatures, God valued us.  This called the psalmist to marvel, “O LORD, what is man that you regard him, / or the son of man that you think of him” (Psalm 144:3ESV)?

The extent of this value was shown in that Jesus took on human flesh.  God became like us.  He did not take on the angel’s place or the flesh of animals or beasts.  No, He only became a man.  He did this as Hebrews explains to set us free from the powers of death and the devil and make atonement for our sins:

Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil, and deliver all those who through fear of death were subject to lifelong slavery.  For surely it is not angels that he helps, but he helps the offspring of Abraham.  Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people.  For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted. (Hebrews 2:14–18 ESV)

He did it to help us when we are tempted and face challenges and troubles.  In doing so, He has redeemed our flesh, bodies, and life.  We are His.  We belong to Him.  Not only are we His creatures who owe our existence to Him, we are His redeemed and reclaimed people whom He has purchased and won at great personal cost.  “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19–20 ESV).

Rounded Rectangle: Not only are we His creatures who owe our existence to Him, we are His redeemed and reclaimed people whom He has purchased and won at great personal cost.Since we belong to the Lord and since He loves us even to the extent of taking our flesh and dying for us, we should trust His timing and His rescue from this world of evil.  We should not presume to know when our Lord will take us or even the earthly cause of our death.  Rather, we trust in the One Who knows all things and Who can see all ends.  Our view and the doctors’ view is limited to the present moment and past circumstances.  We cannot see beyond the next second.

Nor is our value determined by the “quality” of life.  A good mother would still love and cherish her baby even if the child was seriously disabled and crippled.  She would not say, “Well, this child I love more because he has a better quality of life than the other.”  She might actually work harder and labor more for the child who needs more than for the child who doesn’t.  This is because value does not depend on the child but on her.  She loves the child because he is her child not because of what he can do.

“Quality of life” is a subjective and personal measure.  It is relativism intruding into a discussion of objectivity.  Life is valuable no matter the “state” or “quality” because it is a gift from God, the Creator, Who values His creature.  He grants value.  He gives dignity.  Our problem is that we, as sinners, question God’s goodness as we did in the Garden of Eden.

But unlike in the Garden, where the world was perfect, now we question God’s goodness in suffering and pain.  Ironic that we wanted more in the Garden—to know good and evil—and now that we have obtained it, we once again ask if God is good!  After all, how can all this suffering and pain be useful or produce something good?

The answer comes in Jesus dying for you and me.  For on the cross, we see the most horrible suffering imaginable.  Jesus, the perfect Son of God, taking the wrath of God the Father.  He is forsaken.  He experiences the full measure of Hell on the cross, the full measure of the eternity that we deserved.  God answers our suffering by joining in that suffering so that He can overcome it.  He falls victim to our evil and the rebellion that we undertook in order to rescue you and me out of it.  He enters suffering to bring the goodness of our deliverance out of it.  For His suffering results in our justification and ends in our resurrection, His Easter gift to us.

God answers our suffering by willingly taking it into Himself in our flesh and using it to destroy sin and the power of the devil so that we would be set free to be His people once again.  Thus, God uses suffering to bring about good—namely, to create faith in us as we see His love at work and come to truly know our Lord and God.  He uses such suffering to direct us back to Him and even helps us, when we are dying, to point our family and friends to the Lord as we express our hope and certainty in the Lord’s love and resurrection for us.  After all, we have seen His love and deliverance in Christ Jesus so how can we be anxious and worried at this moment?  How can we let pain and the fear of pain determine our actions rather than God’s Word and His command?  How can we let suffering cause us to doubt our Lord’s love?  Suffering is the moment that God is using us to exemplify the certainty of what He has done so that those around us might be strengthened in that same hope.  God uses suffering to show His love to others as we live through it for their benefit and their encouragement.

You can see then, that God answered suffered first and foremost by bearing it Himself and bringing forth new life for us apart from sin and death—new life with Him.  And second, through His bearing of our suffering and His resurrection, He has turned suffering around to bring good out of it—and not only out of His suffering but our own suffering.  He uses suffering for a good purpose and to bring out a good result.

But those who are promoting suicide as an answer to suffering are actually bringing about harm both on individuals and society.  First, death does not necessarily end suffering.  For the unbeliever, death seals them in their unbelief and that is not good.  Second, once we as a society say that some forms of suffering can be ended by a premature death, we open the door to more and more suffering being ended that way.  After all, if it a good way to end suffering, why not?

This is how the conscience of man works.  The reason we uphold as the good reason to do or allow something, that reason, regardless of whether it is good or bad, overrides other reasons.  It becomes the “new law” that must be upheld and protected.  It becomes an ever expanding rule because it must be protected for the very reasons and logic you might use to limit in one case can often be applied backwards to the first case.

For example, you might argue that we are only allowing terminal patients to make use of the suicide option.  But why?  They will die soon and they do not want to wait for their suffering to end.  Yet, the person who is depressed also does not want to wait and you are denying them based on an educated guess that death is soon.  Assuming that is correct, their death is coming soon anyway but the depressed person might have to wait years.  And then, how is that humane to make them suffer that much longer!

Do you see how the logic begins to expand and subvert the barriers meant to allow the evil but contain it?  This far and no farther changes to a little farther and a little more until there are hardly any checks on it.  Evil is not content to remain within some artificial bounds.

 Third, we devalue life by saying that some life is not worth living.  If some life is not worth living, then not only is it okay to end your life but it is okay to end other people’s lives.  This lie spreads in two directions.  The determination of when life is not worth living and who decides someone’s life is not worth living are both expanding points that continue to allow more and more death in a society.  What was allowed in a small set of special cases expands because life itself is not as valuable.

Forth, this devaluing of life feeds into how we care for other people.  Rather than promoting care, it promotes a self-preservation attitude.  It is truly the “survival of the fittest.”  If you determine your end, so be it. There is no need for me to be concerned for you; I only need to be concerned for my own self because life is only what you make of it.

These are several of the effects on society of permitting suicide in a society.  Now, before we go any further let us look at what the current law being proposed is.  First, a person must qualify:

  • 18 years old;
  • Mentally capable;
  • Have terminal disease that is expected to kill the patient within 6 months;
  • Not be subject to another individual’s authority to make the decision;
  • Make the request for “medical aid in dying.”

The doctor has a host of responsibilities which essentially deal with ascertaining the above.  Of the two versions of the law, both requires two oral statements and a written statement but only one requires a witness who is not the patient or associated with the prescribing doctor’s facility nor a relative or beneficiary, etc.

If this law passes, it could at any time be modified to change these conditions by a later law without getting as press as the initiate passing of the law.  After all, they will just be modifying it to improve it or to improve patient care!  These laws take on a life of their own.

In fact, we can look at several places where these laws have been passed.  We can look over at Europe, Canada and the state of Oregon.  In Canada, there was a law with similar safeguards as the law being proposed now in Minnesota but over time, the law was tweaked and safeguards removed such that you can find stories like that of Alan Nichols:

Alan Nichols had a history of depression and other medical issues, but none were life-threatening. When the 61-year-old Canadian was hospitalized in June 2019 over fears he might be suicidal, he asked his brother to “bust him out” as soon as possible.

Within a month, Nichols submitted a request to be euthanized and he was killed, despite concerns raised by his family and a nurse practitioner.

His application for euthanasia listed only one health condition as the reason for his request to die: hearing loss.[2]

There is also a push in Canada to now collect the organs of those who have signed up for their assisted suicide program, which will no doubt further blur the line between proper care and other interests.[3]

The Dutch have scrapped age limits for people who want to voluntarily stop eating and drinking.  They have also made room to provide assistance for suicide for people who are not dying except that they are starving themselves.  So, if you start starving yourself, you can qualify for a doctor’s help to complete this suicide option, namely in getting medication that helps alleviate the hunger pains so you can more effectively starve yourself.[4]

The state of Oregon is often upheld because it appears that the law has not progressed or changed there.  However, we will note that the suicide rate for illegal suicides has risen in Oregon by 32% since assisted suicide was legalized there.  This trend is similar in Europe.  Oregon has another issue.  The recorded data on assisted suicide shows not only some gaps in documentation but from what is recorded, we can see that we cannot accurately predict the future.  For example, in 2021 there were 106 patients who were prescribed medication to end their lives but there is no record of whether they did, in fact, take the medication (27% of the total).

Of this group:

37 have died (unknown if related or not to lethal medications) and the remaining 69 we don’t know death or ingestion status. This pattern is repeated in each previous years with a regular cohort in which lethal medication were prescribed in “previous years”. This is surprising given legal confirmation in Oregon’s touted safeguard has to establish the patient has “six months or less to live” with a ‘terminal illness’, in which they have clearly objectively outlived![5]

While some of the missing data may hide more or other problems, the visible problems are clear.  The line gets pushed and fudged and continues to move and not only that but society becomes more and more callous, which is evident in many of the countries as well as testified in Scripture:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth… And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. (Romans 1:18, 28 ESV)

God is not idle while mankind engages in evil.  He punishes evil by putting it back upon those who practice it.  We should take care that we do not add to this nor participate in it ourselves.

Instead, we should stand against it and fight it.  We should not be silent nor grow cold in our own hearts.  But not only should we stand against it and speak against it, we should also consider our own actions.  What shall we do when our own loved one or we ourselves fall into this trial or face this temptation?

Should we set-up advanced directives and living wills?  Do we accept and promote all measures to save and preserve life?  What measures of care, once given, can we remove?  We will deal with these questions and other ones in the next two newsletter articles where we will look at the question of a “good death” and “quality of life” in suffering issues.

For now, we end with the thought that life is valuable because Jesus came to redeem our very lives by taking on our flesh and blood, suffering our punishment and hell, dying our just death, and rising again to save us.  Since He did this for all people, they are all valuable—they are all priced at Christ’s very life!  And since you are worth Christ’s life, your life is valuable, no matter how long or short, no matter the condition.  Life is valuable because God said it was worth His life to save yours.Loving Father, Who considered us worth Your Son’s life, thank you for valuing us at such a great price and for actually redeeming us from Sin, Death, and the Devil’s grasp.  Help us to persevere in this world even though we suffer, valuing our life and the lives of all around us as much as You do, though Jesus Christ, our Lord, Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

[1] UUA General Resolution, “The Right to Die with Dignity”, July 1, 1988 as found archived at:




[5] Doré, Matthew, “Assisted suicide a 20 century problem, Palliative care a 21 century solution” Ulster Med J., vol. 92, no. 1, Jan. 2023, pp. 4–8.
Published online 2023 Jan 6: (