There's No Friend In Death

Bringing a spiritual perspective to world events and daily life.

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" (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" (verses 41, 43, 44).

If you read the New Testament in the Bible, you see that Jesus expected his followers to heal as he did. In the early Christian period of about three hundred years after Jesus' ascension, faithful Christian followers often did perform such deeds. But then such instances of healing became uncommon.

What brought Christian healing-of the nature that Jesus practiced-to this age was Mary Baker Eddy's discovery in 1866 of the universal truth that Jesus taught. This deeply religious woman healed many people with this knowledge in her day. She called her discovery Christian Science. Her book Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, which dispels the myth that our lives are based in matter and saved by material means, is still healing people today. Referring to God as Soul, Science and Health says this: "The educated belief that Soul is in the body causes mortals to regard death as a friend, as a stepping-stone out of mortality into immortality and bliss. The Bible calls death an enemy, and Jesus overcame death and the grave instead of yielding to them. He was 'the way.' To him, therefore, death was not the threshold over which he must pass into living glory" (p. 39).

Some who endorse assisted suicide, or who are attracted to any other form of suicide, might say that Christianity is a fallacy. But this opinion loses credence when one considers the lives of thousands who have been healed, and are being healed today, through reliance on the teachings of Jesus. The Christian Science Church regularly publishes such healings in several magazines.

The number of alternative healing methods today has attracted people's attention. As individuals seek new ways to experience healing, their efforts are being rewarded. Studies have recorded that the use of prayer has sometimes resulted in healing for patients, even when physical evidence would suggest for a variety of reasons that they cannot be healed.

We can demand to see a larger, more dependable sense of God than that of a creator incapable of giving His children all the help they need to live-and to be healthy. That sense comes naturally when we read the accounts of Jesus' ministry in the Holy Bible. The Christian Science textbook helps show how these accounts provide a reliable map for our own deliverance out of the maze of desperate evidence and unhappy opinion that says we are doomed.

You have every right as a child of God to turn to Him for solutions to your health problems and all problems. As one accepts Jesus' teachings with conviction, he or she is able to see less suffering and more of God-of good-everywhere.

Testimonies of Christian Science healing can be found in the Christian Science Sentinel, a weekly magazine.

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