Death is never a friend

Originally published in the June 26, 1996 issue of The Christian Science Monitor

Current debate over whether to assist someone in committing suicide to end suffering raises troublesome questions. Assisted suicide is based on mistaken premises—among them that because medicine has found no cure for an illness, there is no healing possible; and that death is somehow our friend.

Both these notions find no support in Christianity. Christ Jesus never considered death a friend. He worked to overcome the threat of death, as proved by his frequently healing individuals of sickness and more than once raising them from death.

At one time, one of Jesus' closest friends, Lazarus, had grown sick and died in the town of Bethany. The book of John says that when he heard about this, even before he went there, Jesus assured his followers, "This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby." John 11:4.  Jesus arrived four days after Lazarus had died. The Bible continues, "Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me. . . . And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth." John 11:41,43,44.

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