Firstly, we can truly be thankful for all science and medicine that is being used to serve mankind. Donating blood for example is a great expression of human solidarity. I want to say a proper ‘thank you’ to those that donate their blood to their fellow man in need. And also, to impress upon them the importance to continue to do so, for as long as their health allows it.
But, donating organs is taking it a big step further!
An organ donor is a person that allows their own organ(s) to be removed and to be transplanted into another person’s body. Either while the donor is still alive or after his or her death.
The demand for donor transplants is increasing worldwide. There aren’t enough available organs to meet the need. This results in patients being put on lengthy waiting lists and people that are dying every day, because of chronic organ failure.
In an effort to counter this, the Dutch law has been significantly adapted and it urges me to say something about it! The subject requires me to gradually add more of my thoughts about it. This is about you, so please take the time to read through my blog.
The Bible obviously doesn’t say anything about organ transplantation, because in Bible days there was no such thing. But perhaps there is a verse that refers to organ donor transplantation. It’s where God says:
“I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh.” – Ezekiel 11:19
Without this transplantation we would be dead to God in sins and transgressions and lost forever. But because of this, by God performed transplantation of our old heart to a new heart, we have received eternal life.
However, we can find a lot of Scriptures that are applicable to our donor subject of today. One of the strongest arguments to be in favor of organ donation, is the love that you show to others.
The apostle Paul says:
“Whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Romans 13:9
And the apostle James says:
“If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.” – James 2:8
But you can also go back to the Old Testament of the Bible, where God says:
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord.” – Leviticus 19:18
We are taught to love God, but also our neighbor. To be willing to donate an organ from your own body to someone else’s, is the ultimate sacrifice of kindness to your neighbor.
This is exactly what Jesus did for us when He laid down His life to save humanity from eternal death. John puts it together beautifully in these words:
“Since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” – 1 John 4:11
You might say that donating an organ mutilates the body and that the Bible says:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own.” – 1 Corinthians 6:19
You certainly have a point. We should indeed treat our body with respect and stay away from anything that wants to damage our body. But when Paul wrote this, he also added the following:
“You were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” – 1 Corinthians 6:20
The apostle continues on this subject in his next letter and says:
“For we know that if the earthly tent we live in is destroyed, we have a building from God, an eternal house in heaven, not built by human hands.” – 2 Corinthians 5:1
Perhaps these Scriptures from the Bible can take away the fear that many Christians have when thinking that the body must be preserved as a whole for the “Rapture”. Paul says that we will receive an entirely new body upon the rapture to heaven. When we die, it even goes beyond that. God says:
“Until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.” – Genesis 3:19
With this in mind, a Christian doesn’t have to neglect nor reject organ donation upon their death without consideration. Just because they believe that the body should be intact to take part in the rapture. The Bible also clearly says:
“Flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.” – 1 Corinthians 15:50
Maybe there are also people who are reluctant, because they’re doubtful someone in need of a new organ actually deserves to receive it from someone else. Of course there are people that have damaged their organs due to wrong decisions in their lives. Do these people deserve a second chance?
The Bible does not support this thought and basically says the following:
“At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:6-8
Therefore not offering help to the unbelievers or the negligent when it comes to donor transplantation cannot be biblically substantiated. The parables of the king and the servant (Matthew 18:23-25) and the good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37) are also examples of this.
The Bible says more in this regard:
“Do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well. If anyone forces you to go one mile, go with them two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.” – Matthew 5:39-42
These verses clearly show that Jesus does not refuse help, just because there may be conflicting sides to the person. Jesus takes it even further and says:
“You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” – Matthew 5:43-44
Up to now I have tried to substantiate why organ donation does not explicitly contradicts the Bible and that it is not unbiblical to be an organ donor as a Christian. Yet there is also another side that I would like to highlight. Especially for those that are convicted in their spirit not to be an organ donor!
In this, it’s very important to emphasize that those who choose against organ donation don’t love Christ or their fellow man any less than those who decide to donate. Those who are not an organ donor also love Jesus and have great respect for life and the body. All this being said, I don’t want to make you feel like you aren’t a true lover of your neighbor until you donate your organs.
On the contrary!
It is quite possible that for some reason you don’t think that organ donation fits your beliefs and that you actually have peace in your heart when deciding to not be an organ donor. It’s important not to feel judged and above all, to guard your heart and maintain that peace. This is a Biblical principle and after all, organ donation is not an obligation. Therefore, you do not need to explain your point of view to anybody or defend yourself whether or not you are an organ donor.
Organ donation is something very personal!
But, you do need to make a choice about what you want happening to your body after you pass away. Because otherwise the state will decide. And without your statement, the Dutch state decides in advance that you are an organ donor!
Of course this is an upside down world! Organ donation should never be a self-evident decision. And it certainly shouldn’t be a law imposed by the government. Organ donation is only justified when it is an act of charity and not when the donor is required to submit to the law that was allegedly imposed upon them for the good of society. This way, the government decides what happens to your body after death. And in this way, giving an organ is not a gift, charity or donation, but a rule imposed by the state that everyone must adhere to unless you explicitly indicate that you do not want this!
Therefore it is extremely important to think about this and to make an informed decision whether or not you want to be an organ donor. And if the answer is NO, then you MUST indicate this in the donor registry. If you do not explicitly indicate your choice concerning organ donation in the donor registry, then your name will be read with the following statement: “No objection to organ donation.” Meaning that you are automatically registered an organ donor after death!
Maybe this is not what you want at all!
All the more because the possibilities of medicine and technology are endless today. So especially as a child of God it’s important to take a clear stand. This will prevent you from making a decision through ignorance that does not match your convictions or wants.
We’re seeing how the boundaries of morality are being shifted, especially in these times. But for God’s children, the Bible, God’s Word, should always be our standard (Psalm 32:8). Thus as a child of God we must not approach these matters intellectual or carnal, but ask the Lord for counsel.
You might say: “David, I have done that. But I still have doubts and even tend not to do it.” My answer to that is very short and simple:
WHEN IN DOUBT: DON’T DO IT. PERIOD!
You might say: “But I would consider it and probably do it when it concerns my family!” Even then you may have peace and rest in your heart about that decision. For organ donation is and remains an act of charity, in which you decide to whom you donate something.
Finally I have to put an end to this blog, even though there is still so much to say. Of course we can discuss endlessly on this topic and one thing will lead to the other. There is a lot to say from both sides. But however way you look at it, in the end EVERYONE has to make a very personal decision. Paul says something important about this:
“Each of them should be FULLY CONVINCED IN THEIR OWN MIND.” – Romans 14:5b