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End-of-Life Decisions: A Christian Perspective on End-of-Life Decisions
How should Christians handle end-of-life decisions? Are there principles that should guide Christians in making end-of-life decisions? Will the principles be the same for all end-of-life situations? How can we know what is best?
Making decisions for someone we love when they aren't able can be arduous. Making decisions for/about someone else's health and well-being is often clouded with emotions and can be intensely painful. So when someone finds that they need to make an end-of-life decision for a loved one, the weightiness of that decision can be more than any of us want to bear. But these things are inevitable, and without a living will or a durable power of attorney for health care that expresses our loved ones wishes, we need to make the best possible informed decision or decisions that we can. So how should Christians approach these kinds of decisions? Is it ever appropriate to withdraw medical treatment from someone so that they can pass away? Or, do we have a responsibility, knowing the sacredness of life, to try to preserve it at all costs? Join Dr. Josh Philpot and Dr. Richard Caldwell for this episode of the Straight Truth podcast as they seek to encourage us with biblical wisdom and guidance in the answers to this subject.
Dr. Caldwell wants us to first know that God is sovereign and to understand that there is nothing He is not sovereign over. Knowing God is sovereign over all things is a comforting doctrine. God’s Word tells us that all our days were written down before we lived even one of them. There is a day for our birth and a day for our death, and both of them were determined by God before we ever lived. As we think about this, it will help us to remember that life and death are never in our hands, nor the doctor’s hands. To live or to die is in the hands of God. We don’t have to feel guilty as if we are in control of our loved ones living and dying because we aren’t; God is. Until Jesus comes again, we all have a day to die. For the believer, it’s a portal into the presence of God, a day of great rejoicing. For the unbeliever, it’s a tragic day.
Secondly, Dr. Caldwell mentions we live in an era that God has placed us in, which most of humanity never experienced. Because of the advances made in medical technology, we sometimes face decisions that past generations wouldn’t have even faced. If we have a loved one on medical equipment that's sustaining their life, we can choose to have those unplugged. We don’t have to feel guilty if we make a choice to turn a person over to the natural processes.
A third thought Dr. Caldwell shares is that because of advancements in modern medicine, there are times that it may present the possibility for life to go on. So if there is hope for intervention that might bring recovery and extend our loved ones life, we don’t need to feel guilty about wanting to wait to remove those life-supporting systems. It’s not wrong for us to want to wait and see if there is a way that they might recover. We don’t have to feel guilty about this.
So while it is possible that our loved one might perish without the life-sustaining medical equipment and intervention, at the same time, it is possible that they might not. God may sustain them to full recovery, but He might not. We do not have to feel guilty about considering both options. We should listen to the doctors and get good medical advice, all while keeping the truths of God’s Word in our minds. God knows our hearts, and we can make these decisions either way and rest in His good and perfect care.
Keeping these three things in mind will help us make the best wisdom-informed decisions that we are able. Dr. Caldwell says he believes that this makes these decisions less intense. He also says that it is good if people can make their intentions and wishes known in advance before loved ones have to face these decisions. Those ways of making these things known are helpful because, then, we don’t have to feel guilty about honoring our loved one's wishes. He wishes there was a hard and fast rule for each situation, but there isn't. So we need the Spirit of God, and we also need good sound judgment.
All of our days are in the hands of our God. We cannot add a single hour to our lives or the lives of our loved ones. Our responsibility is to provide the best loving care we can, make wise, informed decisions as we go along, and trust God, our Creator, and Sustainer, for the time He has determined when a life shall end. Following are sermons to listen to that will help us as we think about life and death. In them, Dr. Caldwell reminds us, as he has in this podcast, that all of our days are determined by God and that if we are reconciled to Him, we have nothing to fear when our final day comes. The very moment we pass from this life, we enter the presence of God and shall be with Him forever.
About The Straight Truth Podcast
The Straight Truth Podcast: Christian Opinions in an Increasingly Secular World. Join Dr. Richard Caldwell, Dr. Josh Philpot, and their guests as they discuss news events, current affairs, and cultural issues from a Biblical point of view. Find the truth at www.straighttruth.net
The Straight Truth Podcast is a weekly opinion show hosted by Dr. Richard Caldwell and Dr. Josh Philpot. Straight Truth is available as an audio podcast on iTunes or as a video podcast through YouTube or Vimeo. The duration of the podcast is approximately 10 minutes. We release new episodes every Thursday.
The topics discussed in the Straight Truth Podcast are current events, matters that challenge traditional Christian values, and questions submitted by audience members. Dr. Caldwell, Dr. Philpot, and their guests seek to answer these questions with Biblical truths and from a Christian conservative point of view. The Holy Bible is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God; it alone is and will be the basis and authority of
answering any and all questions.
The Straight Truth Podcast is the perfect podcast for those seeking to strengthen their faith, to be informed on how to broach difficult topics with a Christian point of view, to share their faith with unbelieving friends, to challenge the status quo of their own beliefs by viewing them under the lens of the Scriptures, to interpret current news events from a Biblical point of view, and more.
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