Withholding Nothing Wonderful
Yet we have much to challenge us as next year commences. Here are the biggest ones we see and how we intend to meet them:
Abortion. The deliberate killing of unborn children remains legal for all and reasonable to many across our country. It has prominent public advocates, particularly when those children come with disabilities. We testify instead how science observes human person begins at fertilization; how common sense verifies that ages, appearances, and abilities do not diminish value; and how Holy Scripture insists that God’s labor of creating proclaims every human life special.
Embryo experiments. An estimated 250,000 to as many as 1,000,000 little ones lie frozen in laboratories like prisoners. Vaccines manufacturing, in vitro fertilization, genetic editing, and stem cell collecting endanger them at their most vulnerable. We rejoice that the Gospel of Jesus Christ announces God became incarnate as a human embryo. His labor of redeeming proves every human life precious along the entire spectrum of development, and it comforts each of us in our own weaknesses and darknesses.
Assisted suicide. Nine American jurisdictions allow physicians to diagnose certain persons as better off dead. A doctor can prescribe patients fatal doses of pharmaceuticals if they feel their life has become useless. Even though most medical associations oppose it, “death-with-dignity” enthusiasts are getting organized and subsidized. Their arguments about bodily autonomy are only intensifying pressure on elderly, incapacitated, and chronically afflicted folks. We delight that our Heavenly Father has fashioned human flesh to serve as His Spirit’s temple. His activity of calling all to His kingdom pronounces every human life priceless and gives purpose even to impaired bodies.
A culture of results. The devil, the world, and our sinful nature still seek to assess worth by one’s works. Society assumes that whoever exercises power, whoever displays productivity, whoever appears pretty, whoever accumulates property, whoever attains popularity, matters more than others. We maintain that God’s graciousness gives every human life sanctity and significance. No one else’s efforts or failures can either add to or take from it, and this forgiveness and salvation rescues us from using death as a solution.
Pursuit of every sexuality. Satan and selfishness have twisted God’s gift of physical intimacy into a smorgasbord of “options.” They promise fulfillment in expressing oneself however one pleases. This apparently includes pornography, promiscuity, and perversion, which ultimately turn out destructive. We contend that one’s identity does not derive from carnal stimulation but from the Creator and His community to whom we belong. And keeping marriage, sexuality, and procreation connected best receives His blessings.
Prevention of every suffering. We live in an age that would rather die than hurt. We dwell in a land that would rather kill than not have control. This perspective sees pregnancy as an obstacle and aging as a burden. We believe that the presence of our crucified Savior brings meaning even to our pain. In our aching He can still benefit our neighbors, and needing one another has a profound beauty to it.
Disagreeing without disrespecting. Twenty-first-century conversations mostly go one of two ways: Either we tolerate, or we berate. We’re told to accept and affirm opposing opinions as equally valid, or we’re taught to silence them by insulting and shouting. We invite both courage and compassion, because the Lord our God has shown how both Law and Gospel prevail. We can refute ideas even as (and because!) we respect individuals, and we will question while we cherish each person we come into contact with.
Feelings beat facts. In our time, anecdotes appear to persuade better than data. Narratives carry more weight than reality, because they appeal to emotion, and emotion can nullify reason and better judgment. Unwritten rules demand “safe” discourse – avoid offending or even making uncomfortable. “When given the choice between being right and being kind, choose kind.” We take heart in the God who has brought truth and love together, the truth that saves and the love that rejoices with the truth.
Apprehension encounters hope. Life issue situations always involve anxiety. It often exerts more influence on our decisions than anything else. Dread makes treaties with death without considering how it invites enslavement. We resound the hope and the joy of Him who has risen from the dead. If He has sanctified causes as lost as us His creatures and our cross, then He will withhold nothing wonderful even in the very valley of the shadow of death itself!
The Rev. Michael Salemink is the executive director of Lutherans For Life.
Want to learn more about Chick-Fil-A’s charitable giving practices and the LGBTQ movement? Click here to listen to an interview with Matt Cochran on the topic.
Check out why Lutherans as far away as Australia are discussing “ten ways Christians can respond to abortion and build a culture of life in their congregations, families and community.”
“Of all the institutions on earth, Ephesians says that it is the union of a man and woman which best serves to illustrate the mystery of Christ and His Church. Man and woman remain distinct and complementary, yet they are one: so also Christ and His Church (John 17:22–23). In preserving the institution of marriage, the Church also preserves a vital illustration of Christ and His Church — and thus the Gospel!” – Rev. Timothy Pauls
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