Life matters. Pleasure is sought by all in a plethora of packages, yet little matters if there is not a life to enjoy it. There is a primordial instinct to live; yet most would choose to relinquish life if it did not contain some substantive form of pleasure.
Life matters is a common theme. Politicians try to convince each voter how much they personally matter to the one grasping for office and persuade the masses their way is the best, if not only path to the life they deserve.
Life matters is a common theme commonly ignored if it is not about your own life; especially if to help someone else necessitates lessening one’s own pleasure. A study published in The Lancet and written about by CNN is illuminative. Developed countries such as Canada and the United States report declining abortion rates resulting in a thirty-year low. Unfortunately, abortions have risen in developing countries. One in three pregnancies are aborted in Latin America. The World Health Organization and the Guttmacher Institute found that around the world, 25% of all pregnancies now end in abortion. Life matters unless someone else’s life hinders one’s own.
We live in an era of rights versus responsibilities and rights are gaining the upper hand. The right to higher wages trumps the responsibility to work hard, show up on time, and do what it takes to compete and win a higher paying job. Human sexuality is both a gift and a responsibility. While sex is designed to be pleasing, not all sexual pleasure is ethical. The long history of human experience, reason, and God’s plan all agree with Jack Hayford’s conclusion that “Feelings are extremely unreliable as guides to the morality of sex.”
Jim Daly, president of Focus on the Family, blogged last week about the United Methodist Church’s surprising announcement. The country’s third-largest religious body voted 445 to 310 to repeal the official resolution supporting the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade decision. In addition, they voted to sever ties with the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice (RCRC), an interfaith organization that “advocates for abortion without restrictions – the legal killing of any pre-born child for any reason at any point during pregnancy. The group even supports partial-birth and sex-selection abortion.” The UMC seems intent to return to its biblical guiding principle that all life matters. This is the social gospel at its best. The lives of both the oppressed and oppressor matter to God. He values the rich and the poor. “There is no longer Jew or Gentile, slave or free, male and female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus.”
Choosing to emphasize personal choice and responsibility through the power of God’s grace is essential to those who value life, all life. According to the study above “making abortion illegal does not make it less prevalent in many parts of the world, meaning women seeking abortions will have them performed illegally if they want the procedure.” What a person really values will influence their decisions.
Choosing to value what God values is difficult for those discontent with a low paying job, singleness, an unhappy marriage, physical disabilities, or from another frustration or anxiety. Discontentment “can easily lead toward bitterness toward God or other people,” said Jerry Bridges. Psalm 139:16 holds the key to overcoming discontentment, de-emphasizing rights, and genuinely valuing all life as it is, not as we wish it were. God made us. He made us as we are because that is how we can best fulfill His plan for others and us. He is all knowing while I am not. He is love and I try to grow in love. He loved me enough to die for me. Therefore, with the help of the Holy Spirit I can strive for perfection even as I learn to be content in whatever circumstance I find myself.