Disguised as an Angel of Light

Moral issues are not always easy things.  Easy in terms of simplicity.  Easy in terms of doing the right thing regardless of personal cost in very real and raw terms.  Morality insists that some things are right and some things are wrong.  And morality rarely spends much time on the very real fact that doing right rather than wrong can be very hard and difficult.  

Case in point.  We can sympathize with this man.  We can and we should.  But our sympathy needs to stop short of affirming his final act for his wife.  We can understand his motives.  We should understand them.  But we can’t call them moral.  However that’s exactly what people will do.  The comments on the article already show that.  And it may be that this becomes another banner for those who advocate that we have the right to determine not only when we ourselves should die, but when someone else should die.  

Yet the very nature of morality also demands that we trust in what is right and avoid what is wrong, understanding that the cost is worth it.  That there is a point to the goodness we do or the evil we avoid.  This is at the heart of Biblical Christian morality – the idea that when we are called to do good and to suffer for doing good, there is a time and a place where that suffering will end, and there is a time and a place where that suffering will be replaced with joy.  As much as secular moralists may wish to insist that one can be good without God, being good without God is simply suffering without a point or without a purpose.  It’s suffering arbitrarily because the dictates of a secularized, human-centered morality are fleeting and without grounding.  They have no basis for being the way they are.  They indeed may very well change some day, rendering pointless the suffering of all those who came before and suffered for a morality that has eventually been reversed or altered.
My heart goes out to this man and his family.  His decision to end his wife’s life is wrong, and he will suffer the consequences for that.  Not because of an arbitrary national law or a secular approach to morality.  Rather, it’s wrong because we are not to exercise the authority and duty of God.  Our sympathy is not adequate rationale to become executioner, no matter how merciful it might seem to the one we kill, or to the one who is freed from a hard and difficult role.  Mercy killing is something we have to be terribly, terribly careful about, because mercy is a slippery word, much more subject to our own definitions and interpretations – definitions and interpretations which are subject to change and morph at the whim of an expert or a doctor or a lawyer or a family member.
We are called by Scripture not to murder, and I believe this is in large part precisely because murder can look so beautiful.  Boundaries have been set to help us avoid the slippery slope into rationalizations that quickly move out of the realm of mercy and into the realm of horror – the type of horror that we sought to run from through mercy and murder in the first place.  
Pray for this man and his family.  Great pain drove him to this action.  Great pain is going to result from it.  It has to be that way because even greater pain will come if it doesn’t.  

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