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Commentary: Why Brittany Maynard’s choice to die is not personal or private

Comments (12)
  1. Avatar Bill H says:

    Joni,

    Your article is timely and reminds us that the author of life has a plan for us. I pray that Brittany Maynard would come to faith and realize that we all have crosses to bear and even in the midst of our suffering; sometimes our faith in Jesus may be the only hope in our life, and we know our destination to be in the presence of Jesus who heals us from all our infirmities. Praise God for sharing your story of hope in the life you lead.

    God Bless

    Bill

    1. Avatar carolyn wilson says:

      Nothing is more annoying and insulting that telling someone to ‘come to faith’. Who are you to determine that a decision different from what you would make is sign that a person lacks faith? Brittany’s choice is not different from a person who determines to stop treatment- or continue treatment. It is a medical decision made in the face of a certain diagnosis.

  2. Avatar Bernie Grebe says:

    Good article. God IS the only one who can decide when life begins and ends.

    However, God is merciful, and one would hope that one who dies by one’s own hand is forgiven.

    Life is a most precious gift given by God. Taking one’s own life by one’s own hand, or by physician assisted suicide is in violation of the fifth commandment! It is a permanent solution to a temporary situation.

    I would think a person would want to follow God’s will, and live the life He has given. To the cold, hardhearted physician that assists and condones this action…Kyrie Elieson!!!!

  3. I would love to see the Lord show His authority over this situation and take her home before she decides to take her own life.

  4. Avatar Sharon Thoma says:

    Brittany, I pray that you will change your mind. Your death will only be filled with more pain,ugliness and torture. Give God a chance to finish out your life. You have a purpose here on earth and only God knows what he has in store for you. Read about Job in the Bible. Please don’t give in to the devil as he wants another soul. Read your bible and listen to the words of God. I will pray for you.

  5. Avatar Tim says:

    I feel like using statements like “joyless existence not only without life, but without God.” and ” Three grams of phenobarbital will provide only a temporary reprieve and will only more quickly usher in an eternity separated from God” give the wrong impression about us as LCMS Christians.

    I think they inappropriately lead people to think that we believe she will go to hell because she is going to kill herself.

    The following comes directly form the official LCMS response to Suicide:

    The Synod does not have an official position regarding the eternal state of individuals who have committed suicide, though theologians of the Synod have commented from time to time on pastoral questions that often arise in such cases.

    Since the spiritual condition of an individual upon death is known only to God, our theologians have proceeded cautiously in making judgments in this regard. LCMS pastor and author Otto E. Sohn, for example, has stated:

    “Assuredly we would not wish to judge anyone who resorts to self-destruction. It is impossible for us to plumb the depths of gloom into which even Christian people may sink and irresponsibly lay unholy hands upon themselves. Perhaps the Lord will not hold them responsible, but we do not know.” (What’s the Answer, Concordia Publishing House, 1960, p. 144).

    It seems that this LCMS publication is contradictory to the other.

    1. Avatar Crystal says:

      I agree with you Mark. That is exactly what I thought when reading the article. It comes across as harsh, damning and judgemental. But on the other hand, everyone is entitled to their opinion. I don’t think her opinion should be representative of the LCMS as a whole. At least I won’t take it that way.

  6. Avatar LuNell says:

    As a nurse I had a patient ask me why her life shouldn’t be ended because she was leading a “useless” life. She said people took the life of animals when they were no longer useful. I knew the lady was a believer and that she read her Bible most days. She also knew I was a believer. I shared with her that God gave man stewardship over the animals to care for and to use as just and right. This also included killing for the purpose involved. But a good steward always tried to make the right decision.
    God did not give us stewardship over ourselves. He alone, is to decide the number of our days. We then talked about what useless means to her and how as a listener and a prayer warrior she wasn’t useless at all.

    1. LuNell ~ Awesome interpretation of the situation. We all have something to contribute, even in our apparently most dire of circumstances. Jesus is Lord of All, and all too often, in our ‘human’ shortcomings, we fail to see the big picture, and desire a way off the rough road we see ahead. However, We must Learn to see that our physical experience is just that – only a physical experience of an ETERNAL being, and that we have the opportunity to make a choice that can have a profound positive influence on the multitudes that we cannot even fathom will be effected by the Choices or our lives. Lord Willing, may we choose wisely, so that those that follow us may learn from our Actions, and better themselves for it.

  7. Avatar Monica says:

    How do you know she doesn’t have a personal relationship with Jesus? ALS and multiple sclerosis are NOT temporary conditions. They both are terminal and horrible deaths. As an RN and a Lutheran I believe that the relationship I have with Jesus is very private. Brittany doesn’t think her life is useless, she has Glioblastoma, a very aggressive cancer and her final days will be spent not knowing who or where she is. To take her own life while she still has the capacity to say what is in her heart is her CHOICE. If I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t want to die unable to respond to my loved ones last words to me. I would the conversation of “see you later” to be two sided. Before you throw stones at her walk a mile in her shoes.

  8. Avatar Robert says:

    I’m reminded of the verse from Matthew stating (in a matter of words) to take the log from your own eye before you take the splinter from your brother’s (in this case – sister).

    Keep your mouths shut, don’t blab this poor woman’s personal ordeal and name all over cyberspace.

    It’s stupidity like this that had made Christians leave the LCMS in droves in recent years.

  9. Avatar Jaime says:

    There is only One who can judge us. It is His decision. None of us know the outcome. Only He does. So we cannot judge, lest we be judged.