Living Like We Value Life
January 16, 2015 | by: Dale Thiele | 0 Comments
With Sanctity of Human Life Sunday approaching, one may despair of hope that human life would ever be held sacred in this world. The news headlines that bombard us every week highlight more the destruction of human life than the honor of human life. Terrorist attacks in Europe. Thousands killed in Nigeria. Murder in our own community. And it goes on. How are Christians to respond?
One of the foundational beliefs for a Christian is the intrinsic value of human life. This belief is rooted in creation, when God creates humans, male and female, in his image, and in the incarnation, when Christ empties himself by being born in the likeness of men. This value of human life becomes intimately personal when we reflect on the psalmist’s praise that “you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.”
As with all of our core beliefs and values, the biblical value of human life shapes how we think, respond, and act in a world that seemingly devalues human life. Let me tease out just four ways that we can respond.
1. We should grieve the devaluing and destruction of human life in all forms, but not lose hope. Our grief is a testimony of the goodness of God and our love for people. Our hope is a testimony of the sovereignty and justice of God. “Vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” God will right every wrong and make all things new. Let us long for the day that “death will be no more.”
2. Pray. How unfortunate it is when we overlook or minimize prayer because it seems unproductive (I just want to do something) or unfruitful (how long, O Lord, must we wait for an answer) or unrewarding (prayer seems unworthy of a Facebook post; not exciting enough). Jesus, however, commends to us persistent prayer, even in the face of injustice (see Luke 18:1-8). Our hope is that God will act. Let’s look to him in prayer.
3. Act. There are many ways in which we can live and make choices that emphasize our value of life, in a way that glorifies God. From the little things, like being content with how God has made and gifted you, to the big things, like rescuing girls from the sex trade or adopting an unwanted child, and everything in between, we have the opportunity to follow in God’s example (“he executes justice for the fatherless and the widow” Deut. 10:18; cf. James 1:27). This requires us to lay aside any self-centered lifestyle and “count others more significant than ourselves.” How will you value human life this year?
Jesus concludes his parable of the sheep and goats by commending a valuing of human life: “As you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you did it to me” (Matt. 25:40).