“Love for neighbour” and medically assisted death

Loving one’s neighbour is a great idea, because if we all treated each other with love and respect, we wouldn’t have wars, or power addicted psychopaths, or trolls on social media. 

But that leaves evil in a tricky spot, because if it can’t create anything better than love for neighbour, how does it compete and make itself attractive instead? It can’t mock the idea of loving one’s neighbour either, because too many people have experienced its benefits. But what if it could take loving one’s neighbour and use it for its own ends, and do it so well that people don’t notice, and even fully support it?

Take medical assistance in dying, for instance. Laws in several countries now give people the right to end their lives if they choose to do so when their physical and/or mental suffering from a serious illness, disease or disability in an advanced state of decline is unbearable, incurable, irreversible, and cannot be relieved by any other acceptable means.  

And why would such a law be made? Well, out of love for neighbour, right? It’s to enable an end to a loved one’s suffering, along the same lines as ending a much loved pet’s life for its sake. The person who’s suffering can choose a medically assisted death out of love for neighbour too, to avoid a messy suicide, end the heavy burden on family and other carers, and put a stop to the mounting costs too. 

But evil is subtle. It is the master of the slippery slope. If medical assistance in dying can be justified by love for neighbour, could that be exploited for killing more people, then? Well, yes, as we see in several countries now, where enabling death for problems other than a grievous and irremediable medical condition – like depression, poverty, anxiety, desperation, PTSD, hardship, and even homelessness – are being considered, and with several medical professionals already pushing assisted suicide as the solution. Why? Well, “out of love,” right? “Got a problem you can’t cope with? We can end it for you, and no more pain, my friend.” And for many fragile, disconnected young people, that could sound highly appealing too.   

So love for neighbour is already being used to widen the killing zone, to include treatable illnesses and vulnerable youngsters. Well-meaning this may be in the minds of many, but what comes next – assisted death for babies with disabilities, death for the mentally ill, or deciding death for those incapable of giving their consent?  

Hopefully, it isn’t going that way, but if it is maybe it’s a necessary eye-opener to how evil can take something good and twist it to kill. But also an eye-opener to the mercy of God, who isn’t going to allow evil to kill us off, because he wants us in his family for eternity. 

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