"Man's Best Schemes"
July 29, 2014
The Law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul; the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple; the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart; the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes; the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever; the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether. Psalm 19:7-9
It was the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, who wrote, "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!" It was his simple way of saying humankind makes grand plans, but the benefits often fall far short of what had been promised.
Burns' poem also provides an adequate summary of a recent presentation made by Professor Theo Boer to England's House of Lords. The topic was "the legalization of euthanasia" and the Dutch scholar shared why he had gone from supporting, to opposing, euthanasia.
Boer said that, in 2007, when euthanasia became allowable in the Netherlands, he and his colleagues thought they had crafted a pretty solid plan. Since then, having followed more than 4,000 cases, Boer says their best laid schemes have gang agley (gone wrong.) Some of the major points of Dr. Boer's speech were the following:
1. Assisted suicides are occurring more frequently among those who are lonely, older, bereaved, who have psychiatric problems or dementia. Boer added, "Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades."
2. Public opinion about euthanasia is changing. He says tremendous pressure is being placed on doctors by individuals and family members who seem to think relatives are disposable.
3. The numbers of assisted suicides are rising 15 percent annually.
In conclusion, Dr. Boer observed, "Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is not likely to ever go back in again ...." and then he urged, "Don't repeat our mistake."
The doctor has given some good advice.
Although he didn't speak in theological terms, Dr. Boer recognizes it's all too easy for one sin to lead to another, and then to another, and to yet another. In America we removed the religious moral compass from our children and now we are shocked when some sad soul murders his classmates. We removed morality from our youngster's education, and we are surprised to see high schoolers "sexting."
It is tragic to see what occurs anytime humankind thinks it knows better than, and can improve upon, the Lord's directives. Far better for individuals, families, and all who are in authority, to look to the Lord for guidance and direction. Nobody knows what is better for us than the Lord who has created, redeemed, calls and keeps us.
This is why we say we can do no better than to listen to the Lord. After all, the alternative is "The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men Gang aft agley, An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain, For promis'd joy!"
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, how sad You must be to see the world never learns. Your ways are best. How disappointed You must be when humankind disregards the Savior and tries to save itself. May we, Your adopted children, do better. In Jesus' Name I ask it. Amen.
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries