Searching for a Reason to Live

Kenneth A. Cherney

In God’s eyes there is no such thing as an insignificant human

What will be the next major public health crisis? Many people say it won’t be a new killer virus or environmental toxin. It will be suicide. In my own state of Minnesota, more people are currently murdering themselves than are being murdered by others. Elsewhere, the problem is even more serious. For example, in Communist China, 500 women commit suicide every day.

How do you explain that? In a recent interview, author Kay Redfield Jamison (Night Falls Fast: Understanding Suicide) suggests it’s because rural Chinese women have access to deadly chemicals, like farm pesticides, and they can’t get to an emergency room once the deed is done. I think there’s more to the story. I wonder whether there isn’t a link between China’s female suicide rate and its abortion rate.

You may know that China’s “family planning” policy is probably the harshest in the world. Couples are allowed one child. An unauthorized pregnancy can lead to a statemandated abortion or forced sterilization. Keep in mind that these measures have been imposed on a culture that loves children deeply. The number of Chinese women whose longing to give birth has been brutally thwarted and who are carrying burdens of guilt we can barely imagine must be staggering. If many of them are seeking relief in suicide, that’s even sadder. But it’s not really surprising.

Even if not all the suicides are direct victims of the “one child” policy, it’s hard not to see a connection. Essentially, the policy is a statement that individuals don’t matter. Individual values — even when they’re as fundamental as motherhood — can’t be allowed to stand in the way of the “good” of society as a whole. The worldwide abortion movement says the same thing. An unborn child can’t be allowed to stand in the way of a supposedly higher good: in our country, that’s a woman’s “freedom” to make her own “choice.”

And as the Germans say, once someone says “A,” sooner or later he has to say “B.” Ideas have consequences. It’s an easy step from “Individuals don’t matter” to “I don’t matter,” from “People are expendable” to “I’m expendable.” Abortion is just one facet of what’s been called the “culture of death.” Once you accept one component of that culture, the others — suicide among them — follow naturally.

How do we defeat the “culture of death”? Jamison quoted U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher as saying, “We have to care more about people.” Jamison added, “I know that sounds saccharine, but I think it’s true.” She believes we have to communicate to people that they’re not simply “in the way” of things that are more important. People, all of them, matter — to us, if to nobody else.

Why not tell them that they matter to Almighty God? God cares passionately about each human life. He created it. He sacrificed his own Son to redeem it. And in that sacrifice, God filled the life of every single human being with meaning — no matter how small they are and no matter whose “greater good” they appear to be in the way of. In God’s eyes, there is no such thing as an insignificant human life. Jesus’ cross and empty tomb prove it.

Why not share that message with someone today?

Who knows? You might even save a life.


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