Updated: May 10, 2020
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”
Jeremiah 1:5 ESV
I’m guessing the title has given away the subject matter of this little post. In case it didn’t let me begin with some clarity...
I am pro-life. I believe that life begins at conception and that that tiny little human has divine purpose in this world, that it matters and is already loved by God. I believe that life is sacred and should be treated as such. I am pro-life.
But what is pro-life really? That is a question I have been wrestling with in recent years. The answer to it, I think, highlights one of the major problems with this political/spiritual/sociological issue. Many call themselves pro-life when really they are simply anti-abortion. They are really just pro-birth.
What do I mean?
We don’t want women to have abortions but it begins and ends there for us. I think pro-life has to mean more for it to be effective in our culture and world.
Pro-life means being pro-education. We need to teach teens about sex, about purity and about protection. Now here me, I am a youth pastor and Jesus follower and I believe in abstinence. I believe it should be taught. It can’t be the only thing taught because humans make mistakes. We have to tell our teens they should wait and why they should wait and teach them what it’s going to take to wait, but we have to make sure they are smart enough to know how to protect themselves if they don’t wait because some won’t. You don’t have to like that for it to be true. (Statistically teens who undergo comprehensive (abstinence & contraception) sex education are 60% less likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant. Abstinence only programs do not have the same impact according to most studies.) Again, this isn't about just a spiritual issue but a political one that we want to apply to everyone. If I am pro-life I have to be willing to help educate those who won't get the proper conversations at home and who don't believe the same way I do about a Biblical view of sex and purity.
Pro-life means being pro-help. If we want a woman to keep a baby we need to be willing to help her get the prenatal care she needs if she can't afford it on her own. We need to support that decision with more than words. We can’t want a woman to not have an abortion and then get silent, or worse, flat out refuse to help her walk out that choice because it wasn’t our choice and it isn’t our responsibility. We should help support organizations like our local crisis pregnancy centers etc so that they can help provide care for those in need.
Pro-life means pro-adoption. I know there isn’t anyone that would say they are anti-adoption but when was the last time you researched the adoption process and costs? It’s long and expensive, especially expensive.. Many people want to adopt but can’t because they can’t afford it. Certain tax laws and government policies make it more difficult and more expensive. If you are pro-life you can’t turn a blind eye to these facts, laws and policies because they don’t affect you personally.
Pro-life needs to be for the whole life. It doesn’t stop when the baby is no longer a baby. We want to shout about the sanctity of life when it comes to babies being born but we no longer treat that life as sacred when the baby is a child or teen in the foster care system. Or when that baby is an adult being sold into slavery in Libya. Or when that baby is now a heroin addict in need of rehabilitation and a second chance. Or when that baby is a refugee in search of sanctuary. Or when that baby is the victim of racism and violence.
I can hear your arguments. I can hear you speak of safety. I can hear you argue personal responsibility. I can hear you say you didn’t know it was happening or you don’t believe you can make a difference.
I get all of that. I believe we should use wisdom so that our families are safe but that doesn’t mean we slam our doors to everyone or don't examine the bias and prejudice of our own hearts. I believe people should take ownership of their own choices but I know sometimes we all need help. I believe the problem can seem so large that we don’t think our contribution matters but together our contributions can impact the world one individual at a time.
I also don't believe government policies are solely the answer to this. God commanded the church to care for widows and orphans and to love justice and I don't think He meant for us to stop there. We can reach out. We can teach. We can help. We can support. We can open our eyes to our neighbors and like the Good Samaritan go the extra mile to show them the love of Christ in action.
Philippians 2:4 ESV
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.
1 John 3:17-18 ESV
But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.
Proverbs 21:13 ESV
Whoever closes his ear to the cry of the poor will himself call out and not be answered
Galatians 6:9-10 ESV
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.
Matthew 25:31-46 ESV
“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And he will place the sheep on his right, but the goats on the left. Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,
I am pro-life...for the whole life.