Loving Life -from the first moment to the last

llifeThe Presidential debate last night included a direct question about abortion. After all these years the discussion of this critical issue seems to have made little headway. One of the great tragedies is that the question almost always becomes derailed into a discussion of ‘rights’ so that those who oppose abortion on demand are made to look like they are oppressing women; or it is answered sensationally obscuring the very real and painful issues that arise out of an unplanned pregnancy.  Almost no one talks about the ‘life’ of the unborn or the science that shows us that life is an unbroken chain from the moment of conception to the last breath before death.

In the 1980’s I was one of a group of Christians who took a public stand on the issue of abortion, not by attacking women, but by creating a place in our community that offered support, information, and resources for women who found themselves in crisis.  Tonight I will attend a banquet where funds will be raised to support that ministry that is ongoing.  It is deeply satisfying to know that there is a place where love is expressed with truth and practical support for women who are struggling to find their way to make a life-changing and difficult choice.  (CareNet Pregnancy Resources)

As a Christian I am unashamedly ‘pro-life!’ For me, that does not just mean that I am opposed to abortion on demand. To be truly ‘pro-life’ will move a person to oppose the death culture that embraces violence as a solution to conflict.  Loving ‘life’ will cause a citizen to work to hold authorities who operate with government sanction responsible to protect the lives of the poor and those without political influence and, in my opinion, will lead to great skepticism about the imposition of the death penalty, since it is applied so randomly and unfairly. And, being pro-life will extend to those who are approaching the end of life, especially the elderly.

Some question the reason that I am so convinced about the necessity of defending the lives of the unborn. More than once I have been asked, “Jerry, there is no passage in the Bible that says, ‘you shall not have an abortion’ so why do you believe it is an issue of moral concern.”  My conviction grows out of two principles that are supported throughout the Word.

The first is that the God is the Creator and Giver of life and His gift is a treasure and sacred to Him. From the first chapters of the Bible we learn that God condemns violence against people. Murder is prohibited in the first Law.  The Psalm reminds us that “You created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.” (Psalm 139:13-14, NIV)  Jesus raised the bar significantly by calling on those of us who love and follow Him to surpass the old standard by refusing even to express contempt for another person.

The second principle involves justice. God asks us to seek justice, to stand alongside of the weak, to defend those who cannot defend themselves. Who is more defenseless than the one still in the womb, totally dependent on another for survival?  Is the answer to attack the pregnant woman in defense of her unborn child? That is absurd!  We love both, speaking with compassion, and holding out our hand in support for that woman who is afraid, or uncertain.  We cannot claim to be ‘pro-life’ if we are unwilling to stay involved with the woman after her child is born, if we withhold support. However, compassion must never silence our commitment to the truth about the sacred gift called ‘life.’

Two things must be said.  This is not a simple or easy issue that can be stated in a sound bite or solved with a bumper sticker slogan! Life is complex as is love. So, to be ‘pro-life’ will require much thought and ongoing dialogue. As with so many issues, we too often choose to demonize our adversaries instead of trying to understand them.  While the basic truth is non-negotiable, the way that we express that truth must be sensitive, thoughtful, and compassionate. And, there is this – God loves and forgives.  The Word reminds us that we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s plan. Our only hope of finding eternal life is through faith in Christ Jesus who died for all of us and who lives to reconcile us to our Father. To single out the woman who has had an abortion and imply her decision is an unforgivable sin is unChristian!  We hold out loving hands that find those who are full of guilt and/or shame and we extend them the same hope of restoration that we found in Jesus.

So, I will stand for life, and do so with humility, with grace, and praying to know the compassion of Jesus even as my convictions extend to every human being, knowing that ‘they are precious in His sight.’

Here is a word from the Word. What a picture of grace. God, help us to be like You, loving, gentle, and full of compassion. “People were also bringing babies to Jesus to have him touch them. When the disciples saw this, they rebuked them. But Jesus called the children to him and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” (Luke 18:15-17, NIV)

_____________

Jesus loves the little children,
All the children of the world.
Red and yellow, black and white,
All are precious in His sight.
Jesus loves the little children of the world.

-public domain

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