Life Is Sacred
We are made in the image of God but our sin has tarnished that image. From the beginning however, God has wanted each of us to recognize the sacredness of human life. God was disappointed with Cain’s sacrifice, but Cain received God’s punishment because of the murder of his brother Abel. With in the Ten Commandments God included, You shall not murder (Exodus 20:13). Punishment for murder was the death of the murderer.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus reframed God’s commandment, “You shall not murder.” God’s people had lost the original intent, so Jesus called believers back to the sacredness of human life. 21“You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder; and whoever murders will be liable to judgment.’ 22But I say to you that everyone who is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment; whoever insults his brother will be liable to the council; and whoever says, ‘You fool!’ will be liable to the hell of fire (Matthew 5:21-22). There are at least two areas in our society where we are sorely deficient in our respect for sacred life.
Jesus followers must be kind, not just to their friends, but to everyone. Jesus followers must respect the personhood of each one, not just those with whom they agree. We live in an age of harshness and disrespect. Very few, if any of us are not guilty. With those we disagree, we slander, accuse and belittle. We look for the worse possible meaning and assume it to be true. We capture only partial truth and speak as though we had all the truth. We debate, we do not discuss. We accuse, we do not understand. We ridicule, we do not esteem. 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.(Philippians 2:3-4)
A second place where we have forgotten the sacredness of human life is abortion. As I understand, abortionists, defend the rights of a woman over her own body. If that is true, then abortionists must believe that the child being carried by a woman is not really a person. That must mean that the intellectual discussion must be “when does a person become a person?” The most extreme would respond, “only after the child has breathed outside the womb.” Others might say, “ when there is viable life,” that would mean when the child could survive outside the womb. My belief is that life begins a conception, nothing is added to the child afterwards except nutrition, oxygen and protection. “Viable life” does not actually begin for several years after birth. A child is completely dependant on a care giver to supply nutrition and protection for a long time. Abortion was available in the ancient world, but dangerous to the mother. More often unwanted children were simply “exposed”, meaning left to die because no one supplied nutrition and protection. A society that does not believe in the sanctity of life allows the killing of those not valued.
I do not know what the numbers will be this year. Thankfully the numbers of abortions
are falling. Still, there will likely be over 400,000 abortions in the United States this year. There are outcries over 200,000 deaths from Covid-19 this year. Why are we, as a people disturbed at this number and not troubled over the other? I do not believe a person can believe in the sanctity of life and not also be horrified with the infanticide of nearly half a million people. I don’t know what the racial make up of aborted babies would be, but surely some of them are black. Their lives matter. I don’t know what the gender rates would be, but probably half are female, don’t those woman deserve the right to succeed? Abortion, in the ancient world, and in many places still today, was not the only way the unvalued were eliminated.
Followers of Christ must value life because we are made in the image of God. Be kind to one another. Love and respect one another. That includes your neighbor and it also includes the unborn.