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My mom is refusing to follow the medical treatment the doctor recommends. She knows this will likely shorten her life. How can I get her to see her life’s value to us and her grandkids?

As image bearers of God, our lives have significant value. We should treasure the gift of life for as long as God gives us breath. We are called to be good stewards of all of creation, including our own bodies. Our bodies are even a temple in which God’s presence dwells (1 Cor. 6:19). So yes, our lives matter. We are also each free to choose, making a deeply personal decision on how best to glorify God and being accountable to God for our choices. 

Medical decisions are best made with clarity of thought using the best information available. There are always pros and cons. If your mom is capable of making decisions and has the necessary information to choose with discernment, then the choice is hers to make, hopefully in prayer and conversation with her loved ones. Discuss the potential benefits, risks, and options with your mom. Seek to understand why she made her choices without trying to change her mind. Your mom gets to decide if and how she pursues medical care. You might not like it, but it is not your decision.

Relationships should not be a means of asserting pressure or leverage. Be careful not to use the grandchildren to force your mom into changing a decision that she discerned in the Spirit’s leading. Although your mom might desire to have more time in the grandkids’ lives, she also knows about living with her condition.

It might be painfully hard to support your mom as she makes decisions with which you are uncomfortable. If you have expressed your concerns about her choice, let the discussion rest.  Decide to make the best of the time you have with your mom by honoring her and accepting the decisions she has made. 


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