Better Off Dead

An Incredible Statement

What could possibly cause someone at some point in their life to truly believe that they would be better off dead? The inclination for self-preservation is so natural to all creatures created by God that such a desire must be caused by truly horrific circumstances. Someone who finds themselves in such a mindset would do well to remember the words of Paul:

For me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. Phil. 1:21 (NASU)

Paul was someone that faced difficult circumstances throughout his life, many caused by his choice to follow after Christ. He is someone who could empathize with many who are despondent and “tired of life”. For example:

Health problems

Paul had some form of debilitating health condition (2 Cor. 12:7). There are some who, when facing the prospect of a debilitating disease or condition of chronic pain consider that their life is best ended. Some might even seek out the assistance of a medical professional in order to be euthanized. Paul did not allow his “thorn in the flesh” to keep him from doing what was most important.

History of loss

Paul had suffered great loss in a temporal sense (Phil. 3:8). There are some who, due to either gross incompetence or just a lack of good fortune, suffer great loss financially. When facing the prospect of becoming destitute and starting over completely, some find it easier to just give up on life. Paul chose to “count but loss” the things which he had valued greatly because of Christ.

Of course, one might argue that Paul’s perspective in these things was “skewed” due to his role as an apostle and his belief in Jesus Christ. The truth here is that, instead of being “skewed”, his perspective was set aright in contrast with the world. Anyone in the world who believes they would be “better off dead” lacks an understanding of what such a choice would entail.

Truly Being “Better Off”

In contrast, the Christian is the only one in the world who would truly be “better off” after this physical life, but we are not one’s who are to seek out an ending to life of our own choosing. While Paul considered to “die as gain”, he still understood the need to “live as Christ”.

But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me… Phil. 1:22a (NASU)

There is nothing in this life that is so difficult, so overwhelming, or so distasteful as to make void the Christian’s example to live for Him. Those in the world who seek an escape from life are trying to escape pain and hardship. Any Christian who makes such a choice simply seeks to escape his/her responsibility to live for Christ.

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