How do you measure the significance of a life? I once enrolled in a class that analyzed the lives of the seven most significant and influential men in modern western culture. One requirement was a research paper on one of the seven – I selected Sigmund Freud.
Freud, referred to as, “the father of modern psychiatry”, was unquestionably an intelligent man who impacted his world. This is not an attempt to deliberately defame him, but my studies revealed some discouraging facts.
Armand Nicholi, professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, said that Sigmund Freud lacked compassion for people. Freud wrote in 1918, “I have found little that is good about human beings on the whole. In my experience most of them are trash, no matter whether they publicly subscribe to this or that ethical doctrine, or to none at all.”
In 1939 Freud requested his doctor and friend Max Schur to assist him in committing suicide. He said, “You promised me not to forsake me when my time comes. Now life is nothing but torture and makes no sense…” Schur complied, administering adequate amounts of morphine to precipitate Freud’s death. Freud died on September 23, 1939 at the age of 83 – friendless, bitter and disillusioned.
Now, let me tell you about someone who never published a book and whose name will never be well known. She was a 91- year-old lady who passed away this spring.
Her life was characterized by statements like, “I pray and God works!” and “God loves you and so do I!” I had the privilege of being her pastor for several years. On the day that she died, I read some of her favorite scriptures, reassuring her of the teachings of Christ about eternal life and the promise of heaven. She passed away content, surrounded by family and with a heart full of hope.
Her funeral was attended by hundreds and a private family interment was comprised of four generations of family members. As I spoke with them, they used different words, but all said the same thing. Her simple, but profound faith in God had impacted each of them.
I believe from what I read in the Bible, that human souls are the same color, size, shape and of equal significance in the eyes of God. How do you measure the significance of a life?
“Only one life; twill soon be past; only what’s done for Christ will last.” – P. H. Harding
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church