What Does Brittany Maynard’s Self-Murder Proclaim?


A young Oregon woman stricken with a brain tumor has ended her own life this weekend with the aid of doctors. Two questions come to mind when I learned of this terrible news. First, what does the bible say about suffering? And second, what does Ms. Maynard’s suicide (self-murder) proclaim?

Extreme Suffering

Consider Job—a prominent man with seven sons and three daughters. He also had thousands of sheep, camels, oxen, and donkeys. In the blink of an eye, Job’s children were killed in a storm and his animals were captured by the Chaldeans.

Job lost everything. His family, property, and livelihood were gone in an instant. And to make matters worse, Job was inflicted with boils all over his body:

So Satan went out from the presence of the Lord and struck Job with loathsome sores from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head. And he took a piece of broken pottery with which to scrape himself while he sat in the ashes.

[Job 2:7-8]

Surely Job had his wife by his side to offering words of encouragement:

Then his wife said to him, “Do you still hold fast your integrity? Curse God and die.”

[Job 2:9]

Job lost all ten of his children and all his property and his wife told him to “curse God and die.” At least his three friends finally came over to weep with him. The Bible says that Job’s friends sat with him in silence for an entire week seeing “that his suffering was very great.” [v. 13]

Finally, let’s consider how Job himself felt during this time. It must have been tempting to succumb to the grief and sorrow of the loss of all ten of his children. With the loss of his loved ones and the terrible disease that had afflicted his body, Job no doubt must have been tempted with suicide. Here are some of his laments:

Let the day perish on which I was born. [Job 3:1]

Why did I not die at birth,
come out from the womb and expire? [v. 11]

Why is light given to him who is in misery,
and life to the bitter in soul,
who long for death,
but it comes not? [v. 20-21]

Job experienced suffering to such an extent that he wished he had never been born. His emotional and physical torment was relentless. Even his wife recommended suicide.

Would Job have been right in ending his life. If anyone had a cause to do so, it would have been Job. Rather than heed the advice of his wife (and what liberal, modern societies would have us believe today), Job endured the suffering—even choosing to worship God in the midst of his pain. Job realized that he ultimately had no right over his own life. He belonged to God. Centuries later, Paul would pen one of the most profound statements ever written about this:

For if we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.

[Romans 14:8]

A Deadly Proclamation

In the introduction, I asked what did Brittany Maynard proclaim by taking her own life with the assistance of her doctors. The answer is a devastating one. It’s a proclamation that reflects an unregenerate heart, one that should be alien to the true child of God:

I own my life.


Additional Resources:

Terminally Ill Woman Follows Through on Decision to End Her life

Joni Eareckson Tada, a quadriplegic, pleads with Brittany Maynard

Image courtesy of Michael Schaffner.

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1 Comment

  1. david Maldonado

     /  November 3, 2014

    I’m impressed with your commetary. Your truth be known as God proclaims. Thank you for sharing.


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