Do any of you think you are religious? . . .What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world. Jam 1:26 - 27

 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' Mat 9:13

Though this was originally written as my Easter message in 2005, I think it contains a strong Biblical message why we must never refuse food and water to a human being - or any creature God has created ~ it is a message not just for Easter, but for every time anyone thinks of starving another human being is justified.

 

My Easter Message Sunday 2005

by

Cheryl M Eckstein

for the Schindlers


The news is 24/7 - and it is full of Terri Marie Schindler - Schiavo's suffering and impending death.  Here are just a few Scriptures written thousands of years ago that seemed to jump up from the pages of my Bible as I studied it - I am sure you can think of how they apply to the present:

 

 "Fools talk foolishness. They always make plans to do sinful things, to lie about the LORD, to let the hungry starve, and to keep water from those who are thirsty.  Cruel people tell lies-- they do evil things, and make cruel plans to destroy the poor and needy, even when they beg for justice. Isa 32:6 -  Isa 32:7

 

 Would any of you give your hungry child a stone, if the child asked for some bread? Mat 7:9 

Which one of you fathers would give your hungry child a snake if the child asked for a fish? Luk 11:11

 

 Jesus called his disciples together and told them, "I feel sorry for these people. They have been with me for three days, and they don't have anything to eat. I don't want to send them away hungry. They might faint on their way home." Mat:15:32

 To everyone who is thirsty, he gives something to drink; to everyone who is hungry, he gives good things to eat. Psa 107:9

This is my belief-  my faith - my thoughts and my Lord's Word

that I wish to share with you this Easter Sunday.


No matter what human made laws say, there does exist God's law, which I believe supersedes all others and it began with creation:

"Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image." Gen 9:6
 

This past weekend, I've spent more time with my Bible to try to make sense of what they are doing to Terri. The same answers seem to arise - we are a sinful people - broken - we need to seek God first, and be in constant praise and prayerful communication with Him. What happened to Terri is what happens when God's law is set aside, and replaced by man.  I am a Christian who believes Terri is being murdered.  Yet some who agree with removing Terri's feeding tube are adamant that it is not a immoral decision and they feel every bit religiously correct as anyone.  

 

Do any of you think you are religious? If you do not control your tongue, your religion is worthless and you deceive yourself.  What God the Father considers to be pure and genuine religion is this: to take care of orphans and widows in their suffering and to keep oneself from being corrupted by the world. Jam 1:26 - 27 Go figure out what this Scripture means: 'I'm after mercy, not religion.' Mat 9:13

 

If you had known what these words mean, I desire mercy, not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the innocent. (Matt 12:7)
 

 Scripture are full of verses that apply to feeding the poor, the sick, the widowed and orphaned - also the weary travelers and we are commanded to feed even our enemies.    We are not ignorant my friends, we know that Terri was not artificially being kept alive. Without food and water we all die no matter what form it comes in -- a breast, a bottle, a fork, a tube - it is nourishment. This haste  to kill her  and the obvious disregard for Terri's God given right to live her is bringing up strong emotions and righteous anger.  So much of what is happening has strained nerves and even tested friendships.  Some are driven to rage.  I watched Terri's brother,  Bobby Schindler on CNN trying to gently persuade supporters to go home and be with their families.  Some forgot themselves and began yelling right in Bobby's face.  But Bobby kept his poise and managed to calm the protesters down.


It may be comforting to know you don't have to feel guilty about feeling hate - according to Scripture,  it is okay to hate - at least that is, to hate what God hates:

"There are seven things that the LORD hates and cannot tolerate: A proud look, a lying tongue, hands that kill innocent people, a mind that thinks up wicked plans, feet that hurry off to do evil, a witness who tells one lie after another, and someone who stirs up trouble among friends."  [Pro 6:16 ] But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you ...Mat 5:44 ,I gain understanding from Your precepts; therefore I hate every false way. Psa 119:104 

 

You who love the LORD, hate evil! He protects the lives of His godly ones; He rescues them from the hand of the wicked. Psa 97:10  And,  "To fear the LORD is to hate evil. I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech." Pro 8:13

No where in Scripture are we told to kill those we hate.  The only time murder was allowed was when God sent His judgment down on a evil people, and that is a very different study.  We must be careful what we do with our hate - as well as with our love. "You have heard that it was said, Love your neighbor and hate your enemy. Mat 5:43 

Did God change His mind about hate?  No, I think humans did.

It is distressing to hear some people who claim to be connected as supporters of Terri want to kill Judge Greer and Michael Schiavo.  How tragic to hear of a man who had obtained a gun and was going after one of them.  Such hate and behavior must be condemned.  I am reminded of Jesus on the cross praying to the Father, interceding for those who crucified and hated Him..
"Father forgive them they know not what they do."  Those people also "know not what they do."  I need to remind myself, the sanctity of life applies to our enemies.  It is not only believers or born again Christians who are made in God's image:

"... the god of this age blinded the minds of the unbelieving, in order for the illumination of the Gospel of the glory of Christ not to shine on them, who is the image of God. "  2Co 4:4 

For the love of God, we are not even to curse our enemies, because we are made in the image of God!

 "With our tongues we bless God our Father; with the same tongues we curse the very men and women he made in his image." James 3:9 ". . .God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them." Gen 1:27 

The Bible is full of reasons why we must not kill, why we must forgive and love; and how it is possible to live according to God's commandments.  When I meditate on that wonderful and powerful truth that all of us are made in the image of God it is as if I feel the earth shaking beneath me - it is that powerful.  I see everyone with a new set of eyes.  It has changed me and I want to be changed - daily!. "... put on the new man, which has become new in knowledge after the image of his maker ..." Col 3:10  

Some things are not easy.  Many a time I have had to pray for someone I would rather clunk on the head, or sink to name calling.  It is that human nature that kicks in. 

Jesus did not say, "If you feel like it, I think you should pray for your enemies. And maybe beloved, even pray for those who persecute you, but only if you feel like it.

But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.   For if you love those who love you, what reward will you have? Don't even the tax collectors do the same? Mat 5:45 - 47.

The Bible's definition of hate is slightly different from what I found in modern dictionaries.  Biblically, to hate is to love less. If we hate, we better be careful what we do with it. 

 It is my prayer that we keep our Father's Word in our heart and walk according to His commandments.    A time has been set aside for judgment - when that is,  is God's business. For those who do not repent judgment will be severe. 1Ti 1:9  With the knowledge that the law is made, not for the upright man, but for those who have no respect for law and order, for evil men and sinners, for the unholy and those who have no religion, for those who put their fathers or mothers to death, for takers of life. "

"Let us," as Paul say, "spur one another on to good deeds"  but with the Lord's help keep to His command "to love our neighbor as yourself."   I think it is possible to accomplish change.  May we not be counted with those who "know not what they do."

Cheryl Eckstein
Easter Sunday
Vancouver BC

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Cheryl Eckstein is the founder and president of The Compassionate Healthcare Network (CHN)