Saturday, February 19, 2005

This is How We Know What Love is

With reading so many articles on Euthanasia as of late, it intrigues me that "mercy" is the supposed motive of such an act. Yet, in cases like Terri Schaivo and Tracy Latimer, the victims never expressed a desire to die, but their husband and father, respectively, made that decision omnisciently on their behalf.

1 John 3:12-16 says:
Do not be like Cain, who belonged to the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own actions were evil and his brother's were righteous. Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you. We know that we have passed from death to life, because we love our brothers. Anyone who does not love remains in death. Anyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life in him. This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers.

This verse highlights the differences between Cain and Christ. Under the "Cain" column we have:

1. Do not be like him
2. He belonged to the Evil One
3. He murdered his brother
4. His actions were evil
5. He hated his brother
6. He did not have eternal life in him

Under the Christ column we have:

1. He laid down his life for us
2. He modeled love

Cain, out of love for self, took his brothers life. Christ, out of love for us, sacrificed his.

This passage exhorts us to:

1. Not be like Cain (who took his brother's life)
2. Not be surprised if the world (ex. Euthanasia supporters?) hate us
3. We ought to lay down our lives for others

Christ died to save us from our sins. If this is Heaven's definition of mercy, we should ponder what this means for us. If Christ pitied sinners and wanted to help them, why didn't he just euthanize us all and thus "rescue" us from our pitiful existence? Why not deliver us from this cruel world and usher us into heaven? Doesn't that sound a lot more merciful than making us endure the hardships of life for seventy or eighty years?

Interestingly, the Bible tells another story where this very thing happened. In Genesis, we read of the flood where all the world, but eight people, were killed. But we, nor the Bible, view this as an act of love or rescue. The story of the flood is one of judgment and death. The people who died in the flood were not being rescued out of mercy and ushered into paradise, they were being judged for their sin.

The flood tells a story where God initiates death and as a result mankind is condemned. The cross tells the story of Christ initiating the death of his own life and as a result mankind is redeemed.

Taking life is murder; laying down your own is love.

You will be a dynamic and inspirational example of love and mercy if you lay down your life for others by pouring out your gifts and energy, serving, attending to, and loving the disabled. Disabled people are like regular people, we feel loved when someone cares for us and helps us and tells us they love us. And we, reflexively, feel hated when someone tells us were a waste of oxygen and then threatens to kill us. Pretty basic logic, really.

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