Monday, June 6, 2016

My Response to Me Before You:

This weekend a new movie opened in theaters nationwide called "Me Before You". To be honest the trailer for the movie (see below) got our attention and Julia and I had made plans to go see the movie or at least rent it when it came out in Redbox (because whose got time to see a movie in the theater when you've got two toddlers). We had plans to see it until we found out what the movie was about...

SPOILER ALERT: They had nothing in common until love gave them everything to lose.

Louisa Clark is an ordinary girl living an exceedingly ordinary life—steady boyfriend, close family—who has never been farther afield than their tiny village. She takes a badly needed job working for ex–Master of the Universe Will Traynor, who is wheelchair bound after an accident. Will has always lived a huge life—big deals, extreme sports, worldwide travel—and now he’s pretty sure he cannot live the way he is.

Will is acerbic, moody, bossy—but Lou refuses to treat him with kid gloves, and soon his happiness means more to her than she expected. When she learns that Will has shocking plans of his own, she sets out to show him that life is still worth living.

A Love Story for this generation, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart? (From the publisher.).

Will eventually decides that his quality of life is not worth living so he decides on physician assisted suicide or euthanasia. At first Louisa Clark decides to speak out against his decision and stick to her morals but she eventually gives in and goes to his appointment with him while he ends his life.

 The movie has opened up a discussion on euthanasia, suffering, and the sovereignty of God. Below is my response to the movie as well as talking points Christians can use with their friends when discussing this movie...

Watching anyone, especially a loved one, suffer is extremely difficult. Suffering is a result of the fall, and it is natural to want to avoid it. Wanting to end suffering through euthanasia, however, opposes two of God's principles.

The first relates to the importance of suffering. In Philippians 1:19-26, Paul writes,

for I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, as it is my eager expectation and hope that I will not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. If I am to live in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart and be with Christ, for that is far better. But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

When he wrote this, Paul was under house arrest in Rome. His movements were limited, although he could receive guests. He would have welcomed death—a heavenly euthanasia. But he understood how little suffering mattered compared to God's plan in his life. Several years later, Paul was imprisoned again. He was not under house arrest this time, but in a stone cell. Most of his companions had deserted him. His closest friends were miles away, ministering to others. Despite these horrible conditions, he wrote to Timothy, "Therefore I endure everything for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation that is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory" (2 Timothy 2:10). Again, Paul knew God had a plan. In order to fulfill that plan, Paul needed to be in a dark, dank prison cell. That being the case, Paul was willing to suffer.

We, too, need to have faith that God's plan for those who suffer is in their best interests. They may have to live through difficult seasons of pain and disease and exhibit great humility as others care for them. They may even have to stay on this earth longer than they'd wish to. Even in the midst of the suffering, God is working, and will continue until we draw our very last breath (Philippians 1:6).

The second truth euthanasia opposes is the sovereignty of God in His creations. God ordains the days of our lives (Psalm 139:16). Death is inevitable (Psalm 89:48), but it is also controlled (Hebrews 9:27). And active euthanasia is murder. Even when motivated by the most selfless desire to end someone's suffering, active euthanasia is still sin because it is done in rebellion to God's will and in rejection of His plan.

But causing a death and allowing a death are not the same. Nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are to go to extraordinary measures to save a life if the person wishes otherwise. It is not unbiblical to shut off machines that keep a person alive. If the person has made his or her wishes known in a living will, or is in a persistent vegetative state, it may even be the duty of a loved one to make that call. Reluctance would be natural. Death was not God's plan for His creation (Genesis 2:17).

Death is inevitable, but it is not our place to actively seek death for a loved one. Like Paul, we need to believe God when He says, "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:9). God has control over the timing of our death (Psalm 89:48). Until then, "Let everything that has breath praise the LORD! Praise the LORD!" (Psalm 150:6).

In the end, "Me Before You" teaches a false message that some lives aren't worth living while God's Word proclaims a different message. God's word proclaims that all people are created in God's image and therefore, have value, worth, and dignity regardless of if they are a fully functioning member of society or if they are bound to a wheelchair or in a hospital bed. EVERY LIFE IS VALUABLE!!!

If you claim to be PRO-LIFE may I encourage you to be PRO-LIFE on every front. Both when dealing with babies in the womb and on the issue of euthanasia. EVERY LIFE IS VALUABLE! EVERY LIFE HAS HONOR! EVERY LIFE HAS DIGNITY!

Putting Me Before You is not a Biblical concept. Me Before You is a selfish concept. In the Bible we are called to die to ourselves and put others first. Think of Jesus's words when asked what is the greatest commandment, "Love the Lord, your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and the second is like it love your neighbor as you love yourself." We are called to put You Before Me time and time again. We are called to self-lessly put other people first rather than ourselves. Please when someone asks you about "Me Before You" tell them that "You Before Me" is better than "Me Before You."

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