Many Canadians believe that they have the human right to die with dignity. They believe that they have the human right to spare themselves and their loved ones misery and pain. They believe that they have the human right to ask a physician to take their life when they are in “a grievous and irremediable medical condition” that causes them to endure “physical or psychological suffering that is intolerable to them and that cannot be relieved under conditions that they consider acceptable”.
On June 16, 2016, Bill C-14, an Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying), received Royal Assent, which means that publicly-funded doctor-assisted suicide will be fully available to all mentally competent Canadian patients with terminal disease.
True, it is painful to see a loved one confined to his or her bed with zero quality of life. True, it is painful to watch a loved one dying of a long and painful terminal disease. True, it is painful to see a loved one fighting a battle that cannot be won.
True, patients with terminal disease feel humiliated when they lose control over their bowels. True, patients with terminal disease feel undignified when they lose their autonomy. True, patients with terminal disease do not want to inflict unbearable sadness on their family.
We have heard of many critically ill patients, both young and old, ending their life when their quality of life deteriorated. They thought that by ending their life they have spared themselves and their loved ones needless misery. Little did they know that their misery does not end at their death. Little did they know that their earthly suffering will continue in the beyond.
The path of the flesh has to be taken until the end, that is, every being also has to experience the embodiment as a human being. The earthly path prior to this cannot be deliberately shortened or interrupted. However, in the stage of free will the human being is able to use his free will and therefore also end his earthly life as a human being arbitrarily without being prevented. But the consequences of such interference in divine will are awful … In a manner of speaking, it has to carry on bearing the earthly suffering in the beyond, which it had wanted to escape; the same things it had thrown away are still clinging to it and torment it dreadfully. (Proclamation 1951, The Word of God)
… The human being is unable to end his adversity by his intervention, he will have to continue suffering because of it, he will not be able to escape his distress, and that is why the soul will suffer inexpressibly in the kingdom of the beyond…. (Proclamation 6005, The Word of God)
People put too much emphasis on their earthly life. They do not believe in life after death. It never occurred to them that suffering is a means of purifying the soul.
… And if you humans would only ever consider the suffering you have to endure as a means of purification, as the condition for a cleansing of your soul from all weaknesses and flaws still adhering to it, you would truly bless the suffering and be glad of it, because it will result in your spiritual progress and one day you will also realise why it was necessary during your earthly existence. You should learn to look at every day as a step on the ladder to perfection …. (Proclamation 7157, The Word of God)
As Christians, we need not only to remind ourselves but also to tell others that our life on earth is transient, that the Earth is just our temporary abode, and that our true home is the spiritual realm.