I woke up in the wee hours of morning to a little girl in fuzzy gray footed pajamas clutching at my arm. “I’m scared,” she said in a small voice.
Bleary with sleep, I sighed and briefly contemplated sending her back to her crib. But before I could send her back, my heart took charge and I pulled my little girl into the warmth of my bed. She curled up close, her curly blonde head resting just under my chin. And there she slept, warm and safe and sound.
She’s been with us for a year now, signed off by the judge last July to be our very own. As she slept pressed tight into my chest, my mind turned to the call of Jesus to nurture life.
I’ve been so full of thoughts and questions the past year that it’s nearly paralyzed my ability to speak and write. I’ve seen things in Christian communities that deeply disturbs me. In a nutshell, this is one of the truths I’ve observed:
Promoting a certain platform that aligns with what you value and hold to be true is easy–as long as those beliefs don’t directly affect your daily life.
Sticking to those values is much harder when it means accepting inconvenience and loss.
Being “pro-life” is a prime example of this.
Never more than in 2020 have I heard people loudly proclaiming a pro-life stance, when they aren’t really for protecting life beyond birth. Being a supporter of life in body, soul, and spirit has nothing to do with political platforms and everything to do with giving one’s self in daily sacrifice.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.Philippians 2:3-4 ESV
In spite of saying they’re “pro-life,” many Christians today can’t stomach the smallest inconvenience or loss in order to protect the vulnerable. The covid-19 pandemic has clearly shown that for them, the life and health of others is less important than maintaining an easy lifestyle.
And disrespecting health is not the only blight on the landscape. Exposing and rooting out abuse in conservative churches is regarded far inferior to maintaining the projected image of holiness. Racial discrimination is covered up and denied because nobody can bear the alternative–humbly acknowledging wrong.
Despite repeated cries for help from faithful foster families, the foster system keeps on breaking under the load of homeless children. After all, it’s easier to write a check to a charitable organization than to do the hard work of providing a home. It’s easier to come up with multiple excuses for not getting involved than to follow the simple command in James to look after the fatherless (James 1:27).
It makes me wonder if Christians understand anything at all about what it means to follow Jesus.
I know all of us have failings that we can scarcely recognize in ourselves. We all need growth and change. But plenty of resources are available to show us where we are wrong. I think the American church is past the place of reasonable excuse.
Being pro-life is holding someone else’s life and well-being as more important than my own comfort and convenience. It is loving my neighbor more than myself. It is doing everything to protect and empower the oppressed, the weak, the homeless, and the vulnerable.
This coming year is our chance to do better, to look for ways to embrace life, even when it comes at great personal cost. If we seek to love life in every form, I believe we will find our journeys more meaningful than we can imagine.
Choosing and living for life is the way of Jesus.
Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.Philippians 2:5-8 ESV
How are you committed to showing Christ’s love for all aspects of human life in 2021?