Nineteen years ago this coming Saturday Mary and I went into Spartanburg Regional Medical Center in the wee hours of the morning for the birth of our first son – a scheduled C-section. The memory is forever etched in my mind, that morning when I stepped into the waiting area carrying our first son, with family and friends waiting to welcome and shower this young life with love and acceptance. The beauty of a new life! What a wonderful, memorable, amazing day.
Unfortunately, there’s a remarkable number of children who never have such a welcome or even a chance at life. According to the All American Life League website, the total number of abortions in the U.S. from 1973-2013 was 56.5 million+. “That’s 219 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control); 1.058 million abortions per year; 2,899 abortions per day; 120 abortions per hour and essentially 1 abortion every 30 seconds.” And the numbers, you can rest assured, have not gotten any better since 2013! In fact, according to Love Life Charlotte, in the Queen City alone there are between 150 and 200 abortions per week.
This past week I watched President Trump’s State of the Union Address. While I don’t necessarily endorse all of Mr. Trump’s rhetoric or choices, I do applaud him for choosing not to turn a blind eye to this most glaring flaw in our country’s moral fiber. In an effort to defend the unborn, he stated, “Let’s work together to build a culture that cherishes innocent life. Let us reaffirm a fundamental truth: All children, born and unborn, are made in the holy image of God.” Amen!
Now you would hope that that would be something that everyone would embrace since anyone who has a voice in this matter is someone who has been blessed with the gift of life. Not so. Honestly, as I watched the program I was sickened by the response of the stonefaced representatives all dressed in white. “How can someone, doubtlessly many of whom are moms and parents,” I thought, “knowing the fate of unborn children in our day, not want to rally in their defense with a heart of compassion?” Regardless of the political agenda and media heat, for God’s sake, stand with what’s clearly right.
As a Christian brother stated in a Facebook post, “It is beyond tragic that every single person in the United States Congress cannot stand up and support an affirmation of the dignity and worth of every human being, in or out of the womb. But the many who sat there in protest did so because their commitment to the killing of the unborn prevents them from acknowledging the humanity of a baby in the womb.”
Scripture, the authoritative standard by which I have sought to live my life and the standard to which I hope you choose to conform yours, makes no distinction between a born and an unborn child. In the book of Jeremiah the prophet writes that God “knew” Jeremiah while he was within
the womb. (Jer. 1:5) Whom did God know? An impersonal “fetus”? No. A “mass of bloody tissue”? No. God knew Jeremiah – an image-bearing creature made in God’s likeness.
In the New Testament, it is not without importance, that the word translated “babe” is used for an unborn child still within the womb (Lk. 1:41) as well as for a newborn babe, like when Jesus was a “baby wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” (Lk. 2:12) Scripture makes no distinction. Sanctity of life is not a discussion about time or what side of the birth canal a baby is – it’s about the child’s innate nature as an image-bearing creature, made in God’s likeness and full of value and purpose.
While we love everyone, including those who are on the other side of this issue, may we as believers not lie down or turn a blind eye to things. Our society and pro-choice advocates doubtlessly will continue to muddy the water by depersonalizing the unborn child (labeling with the impersonal title of “fetus”), arguing that the unborn is “part of the woman’s body” (although it has its own DNA, unique blood type and is – some of the time – a different gender) and painting advocates for life as being “opposed to choice.” At the end of the day, however, the 120 abortions that typically take place in our country per hour are, regardless of how it’s framed, the immoral shedding of innocent human blood.
I understand that this issue, especially for women, is a challenging one. It’s personal. It’s emotive. It can be life-altering. To have a child when it’s not “convenient” or in “the plan” can be hard. Dreams may be lost. I get that. But I also get that there are some choices you and I are not empowered by God to make. We were told when Mary was pregnant with our second child that there was a genetic deformity. Three times the doctor presented the option of abortion. Finally, we told him, “That’s not on the table.” I remember that moment just as clearly as the time I presented our first son to friends at the hospital. We have never regretted that decision. After all, who were we to make the decision that our son (beautifully woven and knit by God) didn’t deserve to have a chance at life?
While the unfortunate timing of a pregnancy or perhaps a diagnosis connected to a pregnancy can be a painful, life-changing and inconvenient, who are you to tell a child that he/she doesn’t deserve to have a chance at life? Friends, when we honor God and value life, our lives aren’t ruined. They’re just different. And God has a way of turning something “different” into something spectacular! Christians – now more than ever – speak the truth, show compassion, love everyone and speak up!
You are loved,