More and more people who are terminally ill are choosing assisted suicide. When is it Right to Die? offers a different path with alternatives of hope, compassion, and death with real dignity. Joni Eareckson Tada knows what it means to wrestle with this issue and to wish for a painless solution. For the last 50 years she has been confined to a wheelchair and struggled against her own paralysis. And she sat by the bedside of her dying father, thinking, So much suffering, why not end it all quickly, painlessly?
The terminally ill, the elderly, the disabled, the depressed and suicidal, can all be swept up into this movement of self-deliverance. Skip the suffering. Put a quick end to merciless pain and mental anguish. These are tempting enticements to the hurting. Joni doesn’t give pat answers. Instead, she gives warm comfort from God and practical help to meet the realities for those facing death.
When Is It Right to Die tells the stories of families who have wrestled with end-of-life questions and found that death with dignity does not necessarily mean three grams of Phenobarbital in the veins. Behind every right-to-die situation is a family. A family like yours. In her warm, personal way, Joni takes the reader into the lives of families and lets them speak about assisted suicide. What they say is surprising.
Whether you have a dying family member, facing moral and medical choices, or struggling with a chronic condition that feels overwhelming, this book will help you find practical encouragement and biblical advice to help you make difficult decisions.
This book is revised and updated to examine the current events, trending issues, and the rising acceptance of assisted suicide in this country.
- This is a revised edition of a book that she wrote 25 years ago. Much has changed during that time. When the book was first written, some of what is covered in this helpful new edition was only theoretical.
There are few people I respect more than Joni Eareckson Tada. She has had tremendous influence since a diving accident left her in a wheelchair fifty years ago. I’ve read many of her books and seen her speak at conferences. This is a revised edition of a book that she wrote 25 years ago. Much has changed during that time. When the book was first written, some of what is covered in this helpful new edition was only theoretical.
The book goes beyond the theoretical to the practical. Joni helps us make the moral judgments we will all be faced with. She brings what she and her family have learned from going through the dying process with her father. She writes about her own periods of depression, suicidal thoughts, severe pain and also breast cancer.
She writes about physician assisted suicide, which is now legal in five states in the U.S. She recalls the case of Terri Schiavo case, who was deemed to be in a “persistent vegetative state”, and other stories from the headlines, but indicates that most of these stories never make the headlines. She shares heart-breaking letters that have been sent to her.
Joni tells us that 44,000 people commit suicide in the U.S. each year, and many, many more attempt it, in addition to those who take advantage of states that provide physician’s assisted suicide. Why the increase in those taking their own life? Joni states that it is often due to pain and no hope for relief. This much and no more.
She shares several answers that people give as to when it is right to die (when it’s too expensive to live, mercy, pain, etc.). She writes that unfortunately 38% of evangelicals support in certain cases “mercy killing”. She defines the various terms in the conversation (euthanasia, physician’s assisted suicide, etc.).
Scripture says that death is the final enemy. Joni writes that you have the right to live. She writes how your decision for life matters to others, to yourself and to the enemy, and to God.
She shows from the Bible that God is opposed to mercy killing, but that it is acceptable to let dying people die. The act of dying does not need to be prolonged. End of life decisions are difficult. She recommends an Advanced Care Directive, as opposed to a Living Will. She recommends that you assist your loved ones by documenting your wishes and revisit them often. Ask God to give you wisdom on these important decisions.
This practical book contains real-life stories throughout. She tells us that a life worth living is found in Christ. One day believers will have the most perfect “final exit”. This is an excellent book to read with others in a book club setting. Helpful questions for discussion and reflection are included at the end of each chapter.
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