“Is Living Longer Always Better?”

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Neal Pollard

 Janice Lloyd writes about the medical profession and their ethics for helping the dying and their loved ones face death, especially in cases of terminal illness.  While the USA Today article (3/7/12) stops considerably short of advocating euthanasia (“mercy-killing”), even the title is provocative.  The article does not expressly call for such measures, but neither does it make judgments about the lack of ethicality of it.

While I believe suicide assistance to be both immoral and unethical, I want to focus on the question that forms the title of Lloyd’s article.  Did you know that Paul would answer to above question in the negative?  In Philippians 1:21-24, he says, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake.”  Paul would not end his life or allow another to do that, but he expressed a greater desire for being with Christ than living in this body.

What a challenge we face in living in this world without falling in love with it!  It requires discipline and “other-worldly-mindedness” for us to adopt Paul’s way of thinking.  It is a mind-set that wants to expend ourselves on this earth for Jesus every day in every way without becoming too attached to “living below in this old, sinful world.”  It requires a longing for heaven and seeing God’s face.  It necessitates an understanding that this life is foremost about preparing for the next life.  As long as we live, let us give Christ our very best and work for His cause.  But, may we be more interested in living better than living longer!

 

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