By Joel Hess –
Suffering sucks. If a person can avoid suffering she should do it at all costs, right? And the most compassionate and humane thing one can do for humankind is to alleviate suffering of others.
The alleviation of suffering has ironically become the chief motivation for many Americans’ stance on various cultural issues – from same sex marriage, to assisted suicide, and of course abortion.
Do not forget this sincere rationale of your opponent when arguing with them. Right or wrong they see themselves oftentimes as solving suffering. They see themselves as being compassionate, and you- cold and careless.
Most (not the nihilist sociopaths chopping up babies in the latest videos) who support keeping abortion legal do so because they see abortion as an alternative to suffering. For them, abortion will alleviate the mother’s life because she is unable to take care of the baby, or the baby will interfere with her college and life plans, and on and on. Also, abortion will alleviate the suffering of the child who will likely be impoverished, physically disabled, unwanted, and so on.
The same can be said, of course, regarding assisted suicide. Those who are for it, see death as better than suffering.
Alleviating suffering even finds itself at the center of the same sex marriage issue. Those who support it oftentimes believe the person with such desires, no matter what they are, are suffering because they are unable to do what they want to do. Therefore they should pursue whatever sexual desire they have in order to avoid the suffering that goes along with self-denial.
Of course, the answer to all of these – legalizing abortion, assisted suicide, and same sex marriage – is not to legalize and promote it. Abortion, same sex marriage, or suicide will not actually alleviate anything, but instead push the suffering person into a deeper and darker degree of suffering. Satan likes to lie about such solutions to suffering as he did to Eve and Jesus.
Yet Christians stand against these issues not just because they are in and of themselves contrary to Scripture and reason, but also because sometimes suffering is the path we must take! Sometimes it can’t be fixed. It can’t be avoided. Sometimes (oftentimes?) suffering is our lot.
Of course this makes no sense if you believe that there is no resurrection, afterlife, etc. Suffering becomes a waste of time. It should be avoided at all costs, even the cost of other’s lives. All we have is 83 years! Make them as happy as possible!
Unlike Buddhism which holds that suffering is a state of mind that can be overcome, Christians know that it can’t be avoided. Well, most Christians. The Word-Faith/ name it claim it/ Joel Osteen Christians don’t sound much different than Buddhists in their despising of suffering.
We suffer because we are sinners. And if you avoid suffering down one alley, you will meet it in another.
Yet God did not leave us to suffer and die. Instead He suffered with us. More than that, He suffered for us even letting his mangled body hang bloodied and broken on the cross between two deserved sufferers for all to see. The symbol of suffering has become the chief symbol of the Christian Church!
Yet three days later He rose. Suffering has an end. That is why we can endure it. But more than that, by the power of God’s Spirit and through the lens of the Cross, we can rejoice in our suffering.
Whether it is dealing with pains of a terminal illness, parenting a child with Down’s syndrome, giving up a baby to adoption, or denying your sexual desires, these things will pass! In the mean time we can say with St. Paul, “I take pleasure in my weaknesses.” For when I am weak then I am strong! For only when we fall back completely limp do we realize the strength of Him who was, and is, and will hold us.