Friday, June 21, 2019

Assisted Suicide Case in CT: I had Counseled the Couple in Their Prior Pain

I was shocked this morning with a call from a friend about the assisted suicide case on very public trial here in Connecticut. A woman had her husband hold a gun to her head while she pulled the trigger. I have known her family for over twenty-five years.

She called me nearly two years ago in very deep spiritual and psychological pain, having suffered for decades. She asked for counsel, and I visited with she and her husband three times, including once with a friend praying for her and their deliverance. She was emaciated, we did not see the breakthrough in the heavens we hoped for, but we did see tangible hope received in the midst of great confusion and confession of sin.

We had thought she had died of cancer (which was not in view when we visited with her). Only today to learn of the terrible reality.

On the afternoon show on WTIC radio (the 50,000-watt super station here in CT), the topic in all its legal and personal dimensions was central. I tuned into the station after finishing some writing, not knowing the topic, and then called in.

I addressed the reality of the deep pain I knew was in view, and the talk show host is a professing agnostic and/or atheist. He asked me about "religious judgment" on the matter of suicide that another caller had raised, and I spoke of how the apostle James sums up the whole Tanakh and New Testament in addressing the law that gives freedom, to love our our neighbors as ourselves, and as summed up in the "mercy that triumphs over judgment."

His response was that this idea is "beautiful," asked me to repeat it, and a subsequent caller who had seen his wife suffer for years, also said how this ministered to him.

The poison of political idolatry is always judgmental and dehumanizing. How do we bring the Good News into such a world? In Luke 6, when Jesus speaks of the love of enemies (literally from the Greek exthros, "those who hate"), he then says that God "is kind to the ungrateful and wicked." This poignantly describes Cain as the biblical prototype for ungratefulness that turns into wickedness, as he mocks God and kills his brother. And what we are dealing with here is nowhere near Cain's evil; but it is the evil of the "enemy," as exthros is used also to refer to the devil by Jesus. Satan poured his evil upon two deeply broken people who needed the Savior. God is still kind in always reaching out to a broken humanity. Food for thought and prayer.