Life Issues Contest - 6-8th Grade
Please see the winning essay from this year's contest. And be sure to check back at the end of 2021 for next January's contest!
1st place Essay
Mason Terao (Our Savior Lutheran, Hartland, MI)
Have you heard of assisted suicide? It is when someone who is suffering ends their life with the help of another individual. Mercy killing, euthanasia, and physician- assisted death are other common terms. Proponents prefer the term, “death with dignity,” which has a more gentle and less disturbing ring to it. The truth is that assisted suicide is murder, according to God.
John 15:16 says, “You did not choose me; I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, fruit that will last...” This means that we are God’s chosen ones. We should not ask others to end our lives before it is our time to die because we are extremely loved by Him. GOD CHOSE YOU!
Psalm 34:17-19 states, “When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles. The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivers him out of them all.” When one is at the edge of their earthly death, a believer should cry out for help to their Savior! God promises to deliver us from our afflictions. That does not mean that the believer will not endure suffering. But He will help us through our worst times and will give us the strength and ability for it.
Exodus 20:13 states, “You shall not murder.” Murder is the killing of a person by another. Assisted suicide kills the one who is suffering. Also, Martin Luther teaches us in the small Catechism, “We should fear and love God so that we do not hurt or harm our neighbor in his body but help and support him in every physical need.”
In conclusion, assisted suicide is against God’s will. God chose us to bear fruit that will last. God promises to help us through our sufferings and He will be there for us in any condition. Finally, he specifically tells us not to harm others but to help them in their physical needs. When someone is suffering, tell them to look to God and talk to Him for comfort and show them the way. Assisted suicide is murder.
2nd Place Essay
Samuel Zurek (Northville, MI)
I am a boy of adoption. I started life in a Russian orphanage. My mom and dad worked hard to bring me home. A spurting volcano in Iceland, and an American returning their child to Russia tried to prevent me from coming home. My life story is life affirming because my birth mother chose life by placing me into an orphanage. My life also represents John 15:16, God chose me to go and bear fruit, I did not choose Him. But my essay is not about my life affirming experience, it’s about my sister’s. My sister lives with a disability called cerebral palsy. Even with her disability, she too was chosen by God to go and bear fruit.
My sister is smart, but she cannot speak clearly, many people think she is dumb. She struggles to talk, see, move, breathe, chew, ride a bike, and more. I cannot imagine being locked in my body like my sister, trying to say something and knowing what to say, but not being able to say it. My sister is my pal. We share band, ballet and church. We’ve performed in theater performances together. So, I know her really well.
When I see how people treat her, it hurts. Not all people, but many, treat her as if she is not here. They really don’t give her a chance. They talk to me, but not to her. I have been told by some people that children with disabilities should be diagnosed before birth and disposed of. A middle school novel called The Giver shows a society that disposes of disabled children. But I have special knowledge about the value of those with disabilities.
I know my sister gives me so much love. She has lightness and laughter that I envy. She laughs, listens, and hugs me a lot. Much of who I am is because of her. She helps me live a good life full of happiness. If only people could see this, see the value she offers to our home. Maybe they would love her and include her too.
She plays on a baseball team called The Miracle League. This league is for children with disabilities. If only people could see the grit and determination of these kids. If people could see the joy the volunteers have helping these disabled kids. If only they could see the persistence these kids have when batting and the simple joy they have when they hit the ball. The world could benefit.
So, I write this essay to show the rich life I have being a brother to my disabled sister. Maybe it will need to be my secret, or maybe this essay can help show value to the disabled. Our world needs not only my sister, but others like her. The disabled are appointed by God and go out and bear fruit, and that fruit can be teaching the world love, laughter, persistence, determination, joy and more.