Saturday, August 29, 2009

Martyrdom of John the Baptist

When Herod ordered John the Baptist to be beheaded,scripture tells us (Mark 6:26) that "The king was deeply distressed, but because of his oaths and the guests he did not wish to break his word . . ."

You see, the daughter of Herodias had performed a dance for the king, and it so delighted all of his guests that he promised her anything. By her mother's prompting, she requested John's head on a platter. Unwilling to go back on his word,spoken in front of everyone, Herod ordered John's death. Scripture tells us that Herod was afraid of John because he knew him to be righteous and holy, so he had been keeping John in custody.

Looking at Herod's actions, we can see that, perhaps, his own pride caused him to order John's death. Not wanting to be embarrassed in front of his guests, he acted grievously. What would it have looked like if the king had gone back on his word?

This is a good lesson for all of us . . . When have I allowed my pride to be destructive to others?

Have I laughed at jokes created at the expense of others?
Have I spoken against someone so as to make myself look better?
Have I, out of a desire to please someone else, acted sinfully?

Sometimes when we read scripture, we think it isn't relevant to us today. We might be tempted to think that this is an old story about a king and a prophet. But when you look deeper at the human behavior, oftentimes we find ourselves in the account being told.

May scripture come alive for you, as you study and reflect on its message and its very real application to your own life. May it encourage you to make any changes that might draw you closer to God's way.

God bless,

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Assisted Suicide

I was reading in The Week about a British woman who was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Upon learning about it, she and her husband said goodbye to their children and committed suicide together. They went to Switzerland to do it because it is legal there. Apparently, her husband felt that after living with her for fifty-four years, he could not live without her. The Week reported that this was troubling because her husband did not have any life-threatening problems. Although, they did say that the husband was frail and losing his sight and hearing.

I can only imagine the pain one would experience at the thought of losing one's spouse, especially after that many years. But where were the doctors and family members to help him with his feelings of hopelessness?

This is very, very sad. There is nothing romantic about this, as some have indicated.

Let us all pray for those who feel such deep pain that they cannot imagine continuing on. May God give them the strength to move forward, one day at a time, until the end of their natural life.