As Christians, we believe in the sanctity of human life. We believe that all people are image bearers of a holy God and, as such, all human life is sacred and should be respected and protected. Many churches dedicate a whole Sunday in late January — Sanctity of Human Life Sunday — to enlighten its members about the sanctity of human life, particularly the issue of abortion.
But, as we will see, all life is sacred — even the lives we often neglect.
Sanctity of Human Life: The Other Victims of Abortion
Many churches will use Sanctity of Human Life Sunday to inform their congregants of the very real evils of abortion. As they should! Approximately 125,000 babies are aborted worldwide every single day. In Wake County, North Carolina, where I live, 7,530 babies were aborted in 2015 alone. These are horrifying statistics.
But do you know what else this means? We interact with mothers and fathers of aborted babies every day. They are people like the woman we pass everyday walking to work, the man standing behind us in line at the grocery store or the new visitor at your church.
We often fail to consider the life of the mother who could come to regret her decision but must live with the fact that it cannot be undone. We neglect to remember the father who now remembers his teenage years forcing his high school girlfriend to get an abortion. And we forget about the doctors and nurses who once performed these procedures before the Lord changed their heart. The burden of these past sins will weigh heavily on them on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. Each of these people may have contributed to the atrocity of abortion, but not even they are beyond saving. They are still image bearers whose lives should be respected and protected.
So, yes, churches should arm their congregants with the awareness of how common this tragedy is, even in our own backyard. But these same churches should also prepare their congregants to actually engage these men and women who need hope.
Sanctity of Human Life: It’s Not Just About Abortion
Abortion is a terrible atrocity, but we also need to think about how we can show compassion and protect the lives of all people of all ages.
Consider the quality of life of the grandmother living day to day in a drug ridden neighborhood miles from your home. My own grandmother lived in a similar neighborhood where bullets randomly pierced her walls, and drunks and crack addicts stumbled pass her steps on a daily basis. Oh the change that could happen if God’s people determined to share his love and truth there.
Think about the single mother left to work and raise her children alone, and now gives all she has to her children. Who will consider her and tell her that her life is valuable?
Think of the young man shot dead in the street, an image bearer, bleeding, lifeless on the pavement and a shadow of a son who once was yet shall never become. Who will tell his family that his life was valuable?
Consider the elderly placed in nursing homes, those who once teemed with youthfulness but now are all but forgotten by their loved ones. Who will give them time, consideration and unflinching love and pursuit?
Remember the family in a third world country with children who are starving to death and the parents who look them in the eyes, knowing they have no means of providing for their beloved children or themselves. Who will show them that their lives are valuable?
This Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, my sincere prayer is that God would give our pastors wisdom on how to challenge His people to love well, consider the burdens of others as their own and fiercely share the good news of Christ to a hurting and dying world.
Either way, let’s consider the whole of human life, from the womb to final breath. May the compassion that will burn in our hearts be a lasting one that lingers well beyond this Sanctity of Human Life Sunday.