The promulgation of respect for life is often associated with the abortion debate. Respect for life begins in the womb, but it certainly does not end there, and it is often dropped at the moment of birth. A congressional hearing on Monday, April 17, reflects the diminishing recognition of a life’s purpose and worth by highlighting victims of crime such as a bodega employee attacked over a declined card purchase for a simple bag of potato chips. In addition, it seems almost daily we are hearing of another mass shooting such as the school shooting in Nashville, TN or the birthday party shooting in Alabama.
Those who advocate that life is valuable prior to birth should also be promoting the dignity and value of life post birth. The Lord’s view of the value of life does not end with birth. Christians should not end the advocacy of life after birth. We are called to be Christ to the world. Respect for life is one of those issues. We have dropped the ball when it comes to promoting the dignity of life and, as a result, the ignoring of a life’s worth has increased in this country.
Christians will turn out in masses for something like March for Life, but they will not step up and organize such large rallies for the decrease of crime or the respect for life regardless of someone’s sins or circumstances. Let’s not forget, every single individual is created in the image of God. That is a truth and promise from God in Sacred Scripture.
“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)
This Scripture is often quoted when arguing against homosexuality or transgenderism. However, let us not ignore the first part of this scripture which tells us that “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him.” We need to stop using Bible verses out of context simply to promote an agenda, particularly a political agenda. If a scripture is going to be used in conversation or to promote an agenda, it needs to be taken in its totality. If we are going to argue that life matters, we should promulgate that ALL life matters.
Christians should be promoting the need to protect innocent lives from crime, for stronger laws against crime and supporting justice, as well as additional mental health resources and tougher gun laws. The most important thing, however, we need to do is to live a life that is a billboard for the value, dignity, and worth of all life. We need to stop spending more time concentrating on political platforms and views. We need to concentrate more on loving every life, caring for those we can care for and get as active in advocacy for other social issues as we are abortion.
“We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brethren. He who does not love remains in death. Any one who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him…..But if any one 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 speech, but in deed and in truth.” (I John 3:14-15, 17-18)
If we do not remain in the graces of the sacraments, then it enables Satan to distract us with cares of the world rather than the mission God has given us. Christ gave us a command to love others as He has loved us. If we are not immersed in the sacraments, into living a daily life focused and obedient to Christ, then we are unable to make a real change in the world. We will never see a decrease in crime, increase in valuing life, and increased peace in our world until others see Christian love in our daily life. A recent study reflected that only 20% of Christians read the Bible. How are we going to live a life which teaches others about Christ when we do not know Christ?
“Ignorance of Scripture is ignorance of Christ.” (St. Jerome)
It is our responsibility, as the children of the God of love, to show others how to live in love. We cannot do that if we do not know ourselves. If we are not basing our concept of love and life in Scripture (which we cannot do if we are not reading the Bible), then we are basing our idea of what love and life looks like from societal teachings (that’s dangerous).
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:34-35)
How did Christ love us? He gave everything possible to meet our needs. We were in eternal need of forgiveness of sins, of pardon, and of redemption. He gave his life for us because he loved us. God the Father sent the Son to die for us because of his incredible and incomprehensible love for us.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
Instilling a concept of respect and value for life begins at home. If we are not living a life daily of prayer, Scripture reading, and Sacraments then we are not teaching our children to do the same. It is often said that children learn more from what we do than what we say. It is time to start promoting the value of life by living that belief so that others may see the light we shine and recognize that others matter. We cannot love like Christ loved us when we are not even willing to extend a hand to someone with which we may disagree. We cannot love like Christ loves us if we are not willing to look up from our cell phone long enough to look someone in the eye and tell them you care. We cannot love like Christ loves us if we do not know Christ intimately. We cannot know Christ intimately without reading Scripture and praying.
Every human being has value. We can speak it, but we are commanded by the Lord to live it. Are we really reflecting Christ to others in our daily life?