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Emmerdale and Assisted Suicide...

I was really moved last night by the sterling performances during what I felt was one of the toughest episodes of Emmerdale I've seen in a long time... Yes, even I watch Emmerdale!

It dealt with the final hours of Jackson Walsh's (Marc Silcock) life as he begs his mother Hazel (Pauline Quirke) and boyfriend Aaron (Danny Miller) to help him end his life. After a tragic car accident, Jackson was left tetraplegic, unable to move from the neck down. It came as no surprise that Emmerdale would decide to take the character of Jackson down this road as it's fast becoming a hot topic - the ethical debate over whether or not it should be legal to take or help another person to take his or her own life. The acting of all three was amazing and very touching for a soap cast.

But what do you think? Now in the soap we'll begin to see the consequences play out. At the moment, this is illegal and both Aaron and Hazel will face charges of assisted suicide which can carry a 14 year prison sentence. But people are fighting to have the law changed to allow for someone to have their death hastened. We continue to hear stories of people traveling to foreign countries to have their lives ended and there is a large outcry - perhaps even you feel this way - to allow this to happen.

It's not hard to sympathise with someone like Jackson. A young man, in love, healthy and able bodied suddenly finds his world is now confined to a wheel chair. He can't interact with it other than by talking, can't reach out and touch, feed himself, go to the bathroom. He feels the weight of being a burden to his Mum and his boyfriend. He doesn't have hope, he can't be cured, he will live like this possibly for years before death finally creeps up on him...

No wonder he looks to immediate death as the only release from his suffering. But there is one fatal, tragic flaw in such thinking - what good reason do we have to believe that it will be better for him to die than to live? Think about it - he doesn't know what waits for him on the other side. It's a major gamble to play and the odds aren't in his favour.

Does anyone know what waits on the other side? Yes, there is one person who does: the one who came from the other side and told us what awaits us, Jesus Christ. He gave the proof that he had the power over death by dying and then raising himself to life three days later.

Hebrews 9:27 :"Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment..."

Without the forgiveness Christ won for us by dying in our place on the cross, taking our crimes against God upon himself, people are judged and the punishment - eternal, final, separation from a perfect, loving and holy creator God. A far worse fate than any physical trauma we might ever have to experience.

I know for myself, if I died right now I'd be facing a hefty sentence - guilty of countless crimes from lies to lust to theft and on and on... I agree with one of the writers of the bible when he says:

1 Timothy 1:15 : "Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst."

What the fictional character of Jackson needed was hope. Hope that one day he would he would be treated for the worse disease known to all mankind - that of sin. He needed to put his trust in the great Physician Jesus who could heal the crippled and the lame, but came to heal the truly sick sinners like you and me.

Matthew 9:4-8 "Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts? Which is easier: to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up and walk’? But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins…” Then he said to the paralytic, “Get up, take your mat and go home.” And the man got up and went home. When the crowd saw this, they were filled with awe; and they praised God, who had given such authority to men."

(By Martyn)