WMBI LISTENERS! Karl and Crew Notes: The Passion of Christ Can Heal Your Broken Relationships

  1. The Washing of Feet can heal the damage caused by foolish pride.

“So he got up from supper, laid aside his outer clothing, took a towel, and tied it around himself. Next, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet and to dry them with the towel tied around him.” John 13: 4-5 (CSB)

Problem:  We feel deep inside we are better than others.
Result:  We wait for others to serve us.
Solution:  We humble ourselves and put others first.

  1. The Last Supper can heal the damage caused by broken fellowship.

 “As they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to the disciples, and said, “Take and eat it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them and said, “Drink from it, all of you. For this is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.” Matthew 26: 26-28 (CSB)

Problem:  We harbor jealousy and distrust of one another.
Result:  We have broken community and truly dislike each other.
Solution:  We share the common bread and cup of Christ.

  1. The Garden of Gethsemane can heal the damage caused by stubborn disobedience.

    “He said to them, “I am deeply grieved to the point of death. Remain here and stay awake with me.” Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.” Matthew 26: 38-39 (CSB)

Problem:  We insist on doing life our way.
Result:  We disobey God’s plan creating trouble for ourselves and others.
Solution:  We surrender our life to doing the will of our Father.

  1. The Trial of Jesus can heal the damage caused by false accusations.

    “The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false testimony against Jesus so that they could put him to death,but they could not find any, even though many false witnesses came forward. Finally, two who came forward stated, `This man said, ‘I can destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.’” Matthew 26:59-61 (CSB)

    Problem:  We say things about others that are untrue.
    Result:  We put others through unjust suffering and pain.
    Solution:  We speak the truth and leave the results to God.

  2. The Condemnation of Jesus can heal the damage caused by painful rejection.

    ”Pilate went outside again and said to them, “Look, I’m bringing him out to you to let you know I find no grounds for charging him.”Then Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, “Here is the man!” When the chief priests and the temple servants saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” Pilate responded, “Take him and crucify him yourselves, since I find no grounds for charging him.” John 19:4-6 (CSB)

Problem:  We judge others by false standards.
Result:  We put others through heart-breaking rejection and scorn.
Solution: We find our peace in the truth God accepts us.

  1. The Crucifixion of Jesus can heal the damage caused by unpaid moral debts.

    “A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished.”Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.” John 19: 29-30 (CSB)

Problem:  We create moral debts we cannot pay. .
Result:  We experience guilt and deserve punishment.
Solution:  We find forgiveness in the finished payment of Christ.

  1. The Resurrection of Jesus can heal the damage caused by hopeless situations.

“Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know it was Jesus.  “Woman,” Jesus said to her, “why are you crying? Who is it that you’re seeking?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you’ve carried him away, tell me where you’ve put him, and I will take him away.”  Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Turning around, she said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!”—which means “Teacher.” John 20: 14-16 (CSB)

Problem:  We allow important relationships to suffer and die.
Result:  We give up all hope we will ever know joy again.
Solution:  We witness God do the impossible as He restores relationships to life.

WMBI Listeners Morning Ride with Karl and June: Notes for Bob Moeller’s Talk on Joseph and Finding Healing

Finding Healing for our Pain:  Lessons Learned from the Life of Joseph (Genesis 37-50)

  1. Where does the pain come from in our lives?

  1. Heart-breaking loss and trauma in our childhood.
  2. The mistakes our parent’s make that we must live with.
  3. Rejection by our family members.
  4. Physical, verbal, emotional, sexual and spiritual abuse by those we trust.
  5. Abandonment by others leaving us to face life alone.
  6. Lack of sympathy for our pain from those around us.
  7. Injustice we suffer that is never addressed.


  1. What are the results of unhealed pain?


  1. A deep sense of loneliness and isolation.
  2. Fear and anxiety about the future.
  3. Distrust of most if not all relationships.
  4. A lingering sense of sadness and depression.
  5. Pulling away from relationships and difficulty in giving and receiving love.
  6. Impulsive decisions and self-medicating behaviors to numb the pain.
  7. Returning to the familiar and self-destructive pattern of our parents.


  1. How does healing happen?


  1. Exchange: We must exchange trying to change our past for changing our interpretation of our past. (Mort Feldman)
  2. Draw: We must draw boundaries with those who hurt us so it does not continue.
  3. Reveal: We must reveal the truth of what happened to us to someone.
  4. Believe: We must believe God can make us forget all our trouble.
  5. Refocus: We must refocus our attention from all we have lost to all we have gained.
  6. Choose: We must choose daily God’s script for our lives over the script of the world, the flesh, or the devil (God shares His script through prayer, circumstances, God’s Word, the Holy Spirit and other believers speaking into our lives).
  7. Look: We must look for God to use our pain in the salvation of others.
  8. Release: We must release people from the moral debt they owe us and leave the issue of justice (or vengeance) to God.
  9. Return: (When appropriate) we must return kindness and love for the wrongs and injustices done to us.


@ Bob Moeller



WMBI Listeners: A Letter to My Dad and WMBI Notes Monday June 13, 2016

Dear Dad,

You have been gone five years from my life now. I must tell you that each and every day of my life I miss you so much. I keep a picture of you as a five year old boy on my desk. I have another of the last time we were together. I still see that patient, kind and always grateful expression on your face that characterized your 87 years on this earth.

Your lack of complaining, your deep gratitude and constant thanksgiving to God for the life He gave you, and the focus you had on serving others amazed me then and continues to inspire me to this day.

For Dad yours was not an easy life. You were born in a sod house on the windswept plains of North Dakota, you nearly died of diphtheria when you were less than three months old, you grew up in the grinding poverty of the Great Depression and the suffocating Dust bowl storms that buried the land in silt, you lost your godly mother to rheumatic fever when you were just 17 and at her graveside you pledged never to do anything to dishonor her memory, then just a few years later you watched as other planes exploded in flames right next out your window as you piloted your heavy bomber over the wicked anti-aircraft fire of Nazi Germany, you then returned home from the war only to learn you had lost your share of the farm to a cynical relative, you went on to build your first home for our family from a house you bought and literally pulled out of a river after a flood swept through the town, later you no doubt felt helpless as your youngest daughter struggled with a childhood disease for four long years that nearly took her life, later you sold shoes at a department store and pumped gas during summer months so you could support us and put yourself through school for an advanced degree…

And the list goes on…no Dad, yours was not an easy life.

Dad despite all this I never once heard you complain, feel sorry for yourself or blame God for all your hardships. Instead you took us all to church each and every Sunday, handed out bulletins faithfully an usher for decades on end, read devotions at the supper table, welcomed an array of missionaries and pastors to our home, and served our church whenever, however and for as long as they asked you to.

Even though you struggled to raise a family of four children on a modest teacher’s salary (and salaries were very modest in those days) you chose to take in a foster child in need of a home. He stayed with us for the rest of his growing up years and he went on to become a youth pastor that is still serving kids even to this day.

When I told you I felt called to the ministry as a senior in high school you supported that decision every step of the way. You helped pay so I could go to a Christian college, you gave me a car to go to a seminary some 800 miles away, you came to all my graduations, my ordination and you visited every one of the churches I ever served.

When Mom suffered a stroke and was about to die after 55 years of marriage, you took me aside in the hospital and said, “Son, loving someone means there is a time to hold on, and love means there is a time to let go.”

So on this Father’s Day Dad I say thank you for showing me how a man of integrity should live, for modeling that it is better to give than to receive, and for loving my Mom, we five children and later on our spouses and our children, and most of all for loving Jesus.

I shall never forget one of the last days you and I spent together on earth. It was at the Holy Land Experience in Florida. You sat in a wheelchair as you, my brother and I watched their version of the Passion Play. And when they hung Jesus on the Cross and He cried out “It is finished…” I looked over and saw the tears running down your face. That said it all to me.

And when you unexpectedly died one evening a few months later living in another state, my heart was broken. I had suddenly lost my life-long friend, my example and my earthly father. Yet even that night I knew you and Mom were together again…and after your 70 long years of patiently waiting and believing, you were now reunited with your own sweet mother once again as well. For that I could only rejoice.

Dad I’ll admit there are so many days I wish I could pick up the phone and ask you what to do. But at times like that I look over at the picture of you on my desk and somehow I know what you would do — and therefore what I must do.

I look forward to seeing you again, more so with each year that passes. Until then thank you for leaving me and the others in our family an example of a life well lived. By the way, you’d be pleased to know that just the other day one of my own grown sons told me when he has a boy he’s going to name him after you — Homer.

Dad we all miss you but as 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 promises, we shall meet again and this time never to separate again. Until then thank you for everything. Love, your son. Bob


Morning Show Notes

Why Father’s Day can be hard for many people including yourself…

  1. Your father is now gone (and you loved him very much) – never got to say goodbye.
  2. Your father is in failing health or doesn’t know you any longer.
  3. Your father and you are estranged from one another.
  4. You father left or abandoned your family when growing up.
  5. Your never knew your father (and the man living in your home doesn’t like you and vice-versa).

What are some key ways to begin healing…or at least cope…

With a death…Live in the hope of being reunited found in 1Thessalonians 4:13-18

13 Brothers and sisters, we do not want you to be uninformed about those who sleep in death, so that you do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope. 14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him. 15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

With unresolved issues…live in the complete acceptance of who you are found in Matthew 3:16-17

16 As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. 17 And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

With abandonment…live in the certainty God wanted you found in Psalm 139: 13-18

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you.

With sexual abuse…live in the promise of the healing of your heart found in Isaiah 61:1-6

61 The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,[a] to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor
and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,
    and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor. They will rebuild the ancient ruins
and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities
that have been devastated for generations. Strangers will shepherd your flocks;
foreigners will work your fields and vineyards. And you will be called priests of the Lord, you will be named ministers of our God.

With verbal/emotional abuse…live in the freedom of God’s bigger plan for your life of Genesis  45:1-7

Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers. And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh’s household heard about it.

Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence.

Then Joseph said to his brothers, “Come close to me.” When they had done so, he said, “I am your brother Joseph, the one you sold into Egypt! And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you. For two years now there has been famine in the land, and for the next five years there will be no plowing and reaping.But God sent me ahead of you to preserve for you a remnant on earth and to save your lives by a great deliverance.[a]



With disconnection…live in the prayerful expectancy of the fulfillment of Malachi 4: 5-6

“Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. He will [e]restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a [f]curse.”

Encouragement for Father’s Today…It’s never too late..1 Thessalonians 2:10-12

You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. 11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,12 encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Mom’s Advice to their Children…

Honor your father…

12 “Honor your father and your mother, so that you may live long in the land the Lord your God is giving you. Exodus 20:12

Obey your father…

Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. “Honor your father and mother”—which is the first commandment with a promise—“so that it may go well with you and that you may enjoy long life on the earth.” Ephesians 6:1-2

Respect your father…

If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spiritsand live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. Hebrews 8:10-12

Love your father…

Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him. Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him, taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. (Genesis 50:1-3)





HEY WMBI Listerners, July and August Healing the Heart Through Prayer Identical Conferences

July Healing the Heart through Prayer Training Conference
Use as a training conference or personal retreat
Monday through Wednesday, July 18-20, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Venue: Bethany Baptist Church
6700 W. Gunnison Street
Harwood Heights, IL 60706

Do you carry personal pain?
Are you open to God’s healing work in your heart?
Are you willing to pray for others in need of God’s healing grace in their lives?
Training to Heal the Heart Through Prayer is a three day conference on the power of God’s grace to heal the broken areas of our hearts. You will learn how to soften your heart toward God and others, how to minister God’s healing grace to others, and how to walk with others from a place of emotional hurt to wholeness.

Healing the Heart through Prayer
A Spiritual Approach

Session One:  The heart is the heart of all relationships.

Session Two:  How pain and sin can damage our hearts.

Session Three:  Conducting our own personal heart exam.

Session Four:  Writing your heart’s autobiography.

Session Five:  Who damaged your heart and how did it happen?

Session Six:  What is your core pain?

Session Seven:  The importance of forgiving those who hurt you.

Session Eight:  Resolving our pride, moral failure and other spiritual issues.

Session Nine:  Drawing a roadmap for Bible-centered healing prayer.

Session Ten:  Using the Biblical Counseling Personal Evaluation for tough issues.

Session Eleven:  A day by day plan to continue healing for the heart.

Session Twelve:  So when am I ready to begin caring for others?

It’s training, but you are welcome to also use as a personal retreat.
Please join us for one of the training conferences this summer, expectant for God to work in your life through revival, repentance, and renewal, allowing you to reach out to others.
Conference notes provided
Lunch is on your own. Go out or bring a sack lunch.



August Healing the Heart Through Prayer Training Conference

Monday through Wednesda, August 15 to 17, 2016, 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Venue: Bethany Baptist Church
6700 W. Gunnison Street
Harwood Heights, IL 60706

Do you carry personal pain?
Are you open to God’s healing work in your heart?
Are you willing to pray for others in need of God’s healing grace in their lives?
Training to Heal the Heart Through Prayer is a three day conference on the power of God’s grace to heal the broken areas of our hearts. You will learn how to soften your heart toward God and others, how to minister God’s healing grace to others, and how to walk with others from a place of emotional hurt to wholeness.

Healing the Heart through Prayer
A Spiritual Approach

Session One:  The heart is the heart of all relationships.

Session Two:  How pain and sin can damage our hearts.

Session Three:  Conducting our own personal heart exam.

Session Four:  Writing your heart’s autobiography.

Session Five:  Who damaged your heart and how did it happen?

Session Six:  What is your core pain?

Session Seven:  The importance of forgiving those who hurt you.

Session Eight:  Resolving our pride, moral failure and other spiritual issues.

Session Nine:  Drawing a roadmap for Bible-centered healing prayer.

Session Ten:  Using the Biblical Counseling Personal Evaluation for tough issues.

Session Eleven:  A day by day plan to continue healing for the heart.

Session Twelve:  So when am I ready to begin caring for others?

It’s training, but you are welcome to also use as a personal retreat.
Please join us for one of the training conferences this summer, expectant for God to work in your life through revival, repentance, and renewal, allowing you to reach out to others.
Conference notes provided
Lunch is on your own. Go out or bring a sack lunch.


Do All Religions Worship the Same God? by Bob Moeller

It’s a popular bumper sticker.
It contains only one word “Co-exist.”
In large artistic lettering various symbols of the world’s great religion are all unified in an appealing call for informed tolerance and global religious harmony. The implicit message of this one word bumper sticker sermon is “Let’s all just get along because we all worship the same God.”
Who can argue with that?
While people of good-will and normal civility all should agree with the principle of religious tolerance and the practice of peaceful religious co-existence, must we embrace as well the subliminal doctrinal tenet that all religions are equal? That all religions essentially teach the same truth? That differing faiths are simply variant expressions of the same core cosmic Force we call sometimes call God?
To answer that question we as Christ followers we must first ask another question, “Is this what Jesus believed?” Did He teach that all roads lead to heaven? Did he preach the differing names for God were only a matter of semantics not substance?
If so then we as Christ-followers need to embrace and celebrate the powerful syncretistic impulses of our time. We should do on a theological level what Europe has done on a political level:  erase all our borders and announce we are all now members of one Union
But what if Jesus did not believe nor teach that we all worship the same God? What if He openly refuted the idea that all religions are the same? What if He warned that a different eternal destiny awaits those who believe anything they want to believe?
Well if Jesus rejected such ideas, then we as His followers must as well.
Regardless of how unpopular it may make us in the media, how sectarian and narrow-minded we may appear to the cultural elite, and how uncomfortable we may make politicians and theologians with a progressive agenda to drive, we must courageously resist and lovingly deny the mistaken notion that all roads lead to the same Paradise.
While such an important question is certainly deserving of a longer and more in-depth analysis of the teachings of Christ, let’s examine some of His more significant statements on the subject. We shall do our best to present them in context as well as from recognized and reliable translations of the Scripture.
Let’s start with what Jesus believed as a young child of twelve years old.
He was taken by his parent to Jerusalem for an annual religious celebration.  However on the journey back to Nazareth they discover their son is missing. That begins a frantic search that lasts three days. Finally they discover Jesus in the great Temple discussing, of all things, theology, Scripture and issues of faith with religious leaders, “Why are you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father’s house (or about my Father’s business)?” (Luke 2:49)
Even as a child Jesus claims that He has a special relationship with the Father. He calls the Temple in Jerusalem “My Father’s house…” From that point onward He would never refer to any other place, structure, or building in such a unique and exclusive way.
Though the ancient world of His day abounded with other faiths, places to worship, and different deities such as the pantheon of gods the Greeks worshiped, the warring divines of the Romans, the Temple of Diana in Ephesus, the pyramids in Egypt the exalted Ra the Sun god, the mystery religion of Isis and Osiris, Jesus ignored them all. His focus was exclusively on His Father’s House in Jerusalem and the only Father He worshiped was found only in the pages of the Law and the Prophets.
As Jesus grew up He didn’t change His mind (though He said the day was coming when true believers would no longer worship the Father in Jerusalem alone but in spirit and in truth with Jesus as Messiah).
Did Jesus believe and teach we all worship the same God? Consider these statements made by Jesus during His three years of ministry:
“All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” (Matthew 11:27)
“6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. 7 If you had known me, you would have known my Father also. From now on you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14: 6-7)
42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love me, for I came from God and I am here. I came not of my own accord, but he sent me….44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him.” John 8: 42-44
What do we learn from just these three samples of the teaching of Christ?
  1.        No one can know the true and living God except through Jesus Christ.
  2.        No one is accepted by the Father except through Jesus Christ.
  3.        No one can love the Father except if they first love Jesus Christ.
If all religions are equal in their expression of eternal truth, if all faiths ultimately drive us to the same God, if all doctrines ultimately support one cosmic expression of faith, then why did Jesus so vigorously disagree? Moreover, why did He ultimately offer His life as an atonement for sin if all other religions offer the same forgiveness and pardon albeit by a different method? If that’s true it would seem that the death of Jesus Christ was perhaps history’s most terrible and unnecessary waste of a life.
What did Jesus teach about the after-life? Did he believe we all will find ourselves in the same place regardless of the name we use for God or our understanding about the nature of salvation?
Unfortunately for our age, the message Jesus offers is far from reassuring universalism:
 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. 34 Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”
“41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Matthew 25: 31-34; 41.
Obviously, if popular thinking argues all roads lead to Paradise, Jesus suggest when He returns there are going to be some significant eternal detours.
While we need not denigrate anyone else’s religion for its apparent sincerity, moral virtues or desire for truth, if we are to follow Jesus Christ we must be intellectually honest and straightforward about what He teaches. Jesus taught that He and He alone on earth was the co-equal member of the Trinity:  Father Son, and Holy Spirit. He taught that He alone knows the Father is the only One qualified to reveal Him to us. He taught that at the end of the age He will separate the nations and peoples and only those who worship Him as Savior and Lord will enter the Kingdom of heaven.
There is much more than could be said on the topic.
But, just as driving west will not take you east, nor flying north will take you south, so will believing any religion you prefer ultimately bring you into a saving and eternal relationship with the God of Gods and Lord of Lords.
Only when we place our faith in Jesus Christ alone for His atoning sacrifice and glorious resurrection, will we come to know and enjoy an eternal relationship with the One true God and Father.
We live in a time where Christians face the intimidating pressures of political correctness, or the seemingly irenic call for theological unity to help end religious strife, or the seductive invitation to become a selfless citizen of the world committed to global religious harmony.
But, we must do what Christians in every generation have been called to do – follow Jesus Christ. That is the one road, indeed the only road that will ultimately will lead us to heaven.
by Bob Moeller

Compassion and Choices by Any Other Name is Still (Dare I say It? Murder)

by Bob Moeller, D.Min.

Surrounded by her friends and family, lionized for her “courage” by the media, and legally enabled by the progressive Oregon legislature, this last weekend a lovely young wife who suffered from brain cancer took her own life.

In our brave new lexicon of euphemisms the group who cheer-led on her self-death is calls itself Compassion and Choices (or advocates of assisted suicide as they were known in slightly more truthful times).

Doesn’t compassion and enlightenment demand we approve, if not honor this apparently rational, if not heroic, choice to end her tumor-induced seizures and migraine headaches? Isn’t her decision to end her life belonging to a morally elevated plane that we all need to arrive at soon? Aren’t there certain situations and circumstances that transcend traditional notions of morality, indeed require that we embrace suicide as the only reasonable and civilized alternative?

The answer is no – for three reasons.

1.            While taking our own life may end our suffering – it only increases the suffering of others.

As someone who has conducted and participated in their fair share of funerals throughout the decades, I bear witness to the profoundly diverse impact on the survivors that accidental and natural death creates versus deliberate and contrived death. I have come to believe, standing by the graveside, that the words “merciful” and “suicide” do not belong together in the same sentence — much less the same language.

As a grief counselor once said who was working with a family whose twenty-something son who had shot himself, “I know what the bullet did to your son, now let’s see what the bullet did to each of you.”

Indeed, suicide by whatever form it takes does something to those left behind. By its very nature whether it is pre-meditated, spontaneous or even state-sponsored, suicide always leaves a bullet in the heart of others. Though I, like millions of other Americans, did not know this young woman in Oregon personally, I am nonetheless today feeling actual pain and grief over her decision.

For though it was all but certain she would eventually succumb to her cancer she was still a human being.  Therefore by definition she had value and meaning to us all. Suicide turns a blind eye to the reality (indeed it must) of communal value. Those left behind in the human community, are always left to try deal with their own sense of survivor guilt that an intentional, premature and preventable death (even if for another 24 hours) inevitably raises.

Even strangers are left with an odd, nagging sense of failure – could I have done something? Did this have to happen? The reason we feel this way is due to the most basic and essential of all human traits – love. It is in our nature to love other humans because they are humans just like us.

I do not need to know the name and address of the child that dies of Ebola in Liberia to grieve their loss. I don’t have to have exchanged Christmas cards with the pilot of the experimental spacecraft that crashes to mourn his tragic end. I need only know all these people were once like me, living with hopeful dreams, a yearning heart, and the need to love and be loved. Am I wrong to feel their loss? What’s the alternative?  Do we really wish to live in a world where the self-death of others leaves us entirely unmoved – or worse yet, admiring?

2.            While taking our own life may release us from temporary pain – it does not release us from the ongoing responsibility our abandonment creates.

While the Oregon woman was not a mother, those parents who may choose to follow her example will leave behind children. Those children will one day ask, “How did Daddy or Mommy die?” If an honest answer can be given, assuming the child is of age to receive it, the answer must be something like, “Daddy (or Mommy) decided it was their time to die…But they were going to die anyway.”

“But didn’t he (or she) want to spend just one more day with us?”

“Well, yes, but they were having physical problems and a great deal of pain. They knew it was only going to get worse.”

While they might not ask it then, the time will come when the abandoned child, or teenager, or young adult will ask a most agonizing of question, “But didn’t they love us more than…themselves?”

Unfortunately, regardless of how noble sounding or apparently reasonable the motivations for committing suicide may be, they cannot free us from the responsibility deliberate abandonment creates. Even when death comes from natural causes children and others are often left to deal with the heart-breaking feeling of abandonment – how much more so when they discover death came by their parent’s deliberate choice.

It’s been my observation that healing and closure is much more attainable when children know that their parent did all they could to the very last hour to remain with them. Such self-sacrifice carries the implicit message, “You were more valuable to me than me.” Suicide sadly sends just the opposite message. Even adult children are often left to try and piece together the mystery of why they were of so little value to the person that helped them into the world – who then deliberately left them on their own to face it.

3.            While taking our own life may be characterized in soothing and appealing terms – it remains a euphemism for what civilizations for untold millennia have recognized as — murder.

I realize it is much too soon and much too close to this dear young woman’s death to engage in any form of brutal honesty. Indeed, showing restraint at this time is in order for the sake of all that’s decent and proper — except for one countervailing truth. The Oregon woman made a very public decision to make her death a very public statement. She clearly communicated that her decision to die by her own hand was one that others should consider emulating. The media, never one to waste a good tragedy, immediately jumped on her cover story to advance its version of progressive morality.

One can only shudder to think of the thousands of afflicted souls this day, impacted by the positive media endorsement of her suicide, who are wondering if they should make the same choice and end their own tormented existence?

Imagine the adolescent who was just spurned by their first love or who is relentlessly bullied on their way to school? How much suffering should they have to endure? What about the philandering middle-aged spouse who was just found out and now faces the humiliating loss of their reputation and family? Should they be forced to bear such emotional indignities? What about the aging retiree that just learned they have Parkinson’s? Should they be forced to sit idly by and watch their capacity to control their muscular functions degrade by the day?

The problem with justifying suicide is that there is no reasonable end to its application once the floodgates are thrown open.  Once murder by any other name is legitimized it quickly metastasizes. A generation before abortion on demand was the law of the land who could have imagined a day when “post birth abortions” became philosophically (and soon legally) admissible?

The late philosopher Francis Schaeffer warned of the perils of “death by someone else’s choice.” He foresaw in the 1970’s a future world where once murder was cleansed of its moral stigma sorrow and horror could only follow. Even if death is at our own hand, once we label it something other than what it truly is, the way is cleared to truly unimaginable consequences.

In conclusion, it is not for lack of compassion or enlightenment that societies have traditionally stigmatized and rejected suicide. It is because by they have recognized that by its very nature suicide is the antithesis of compassion and rational choice.

The bullet of suicide, regardless of the reason it is fired, mercilessly pierces the hearts of all. It is for that reason, and multiplicity of others, God said, “You shall not murder.” While the grace of God can forgive suicide, the act of taking our own lives is never to be celebrated.



Listen to Bob & Cheryl on Chris Fabry Live! (11-21) – Download the Free Personal Heart Exam

Bob and Cheryl joined Chris Faby on Chris Fabry Live! on Thursday, November 21,
for both hours. Chris’ backyard fence is syndicated and listened to around the world.
We were talking with Chris about our new book, Getting Your Husband to Talk to You and
mentioned our free heart exam inventory you can download at no cost right here. Click here

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