Brittany Maynard at the age of 29 has decided to commit suicide on November 1 and some people are saying “Go ahead and kill yourself!” Not only will you see comments like this if you search the internet, you will read of people who are cheering here on to go through with it. No Brittany. Please don’t do it.
My sympathies are with her. She has been married less than two years. She has been diagnosed with terminal brain cancer. My heart breaks for her. She moved to Oregon from California because Oregon is one of the few states where people have the legal right to put an end to their suffering. It is her decision but I am dismayed by the choice she has made. But what really has me incensed is that people are cheering for her to do it.
Imagine walking downtown in a big city. Ahead of you is a large crowd where each person stares upward toward a building. Out on the ledge of the fourth floor is a frightened young girl obviously contemplating a suicidal jump. Suddenly, the crowd starts to chant: “Jump! Jump! Jump!” The volume increases. “Jump! Jump! Jump!” The look on the poor young lady’s face cannot be described. How would you respond to a scene like that? If I ever came upon a crowd urging a frightened person to “jump” I would tell them to shut up. And that is what I want to say to those on the internet who are urging Brittany to go ahead and kill herself. Will you please just shut up? I remain unconvinced that your “attaboys” are being helpful.
Not too long ago a very close friend asked me a surprising question. Recently he had seen his father die an agonizingly slow death due to Alzheimer’s disease. He announced that if he started to show the early signs of that disease he wanted to find a way to end his life. Here’s the question he asked: “Do you think God would be OK with that?” How would you answer that question?
I have found that times of suffering can be used to bring glory to God. They serve as an opportunity to let the power of God shine through the pain and brokenness. I knew a man who had fought cancer for decades. It was his view that his disease gave him a platform for being Jesus to other people. One day I walked with him through the hospital. Everyone seemed to know him. When they saw him, they brightened up and went out of their way to shake his hand. In his suffering he became a beacon of God’s grace shining out into the darkness of others. When you decide to end your life, you short circuit any opportunity for God to shine through you into the lives of your friends, family, doctors, and nurses. To end your life prematurely is to not just quit on yourself and family, but to also quit on God.
Brittany. Please. Don’t. Jump.
What do you think?