The start of another year kicks off with yet another disappointing Presidential debate. More, Ridiculous banter, pathetic ridicule, and pre-planned talking points. Ugh!
In the midst of the presidential banner, the turn of the calendar also has me preparing sermons on racial unity and the Sanctity of Life. Sadly, in 2016, babies continue to be born clinging to life as a result of a botched abortion. Born living and breathing, these babies are then denied proper care and are left to die and ….it’s legal! Pouring over Psalms 139 and mingling among the massive statistics of dead babies leaves me angry, sad, numb, and oddly enough…. full of hope.
I don’t think we should be surprised by the two undercover Planned Parenthood videos that have been released. When I first viewed the videos, I was speechless. What we see being discussed casually over a salad and wine is absolutely deplorable. Is it illegal? Yes! Is it amoral? Absolutely! Have we lost our minds as a society? Most certainly! But, is it surprising? I don’t think so.
On this day, January 22 in 1973, with a 7-to-2 majority vote, the Supreme Court of the United States of America deemed abortion a fundamental right under the United States Constitution.
And behold, a lawyer stood up to put him to the test, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” He said to him, “What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.” And he said to him, “You have answered correctly; do this, and you will live.” But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’ Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” (Luke 10:25-37 ESV)
The lawyer comes to Jesus and asks a question.
What good things do I need to do to justify myself.
How do I be right before God — how do I gain eternal life
The question was not asked to gain an answer — it was asked to test Jesus. Actually, it is not a question at all. (Have you ever asked a non question? I have! Dad to 5 yr old – “What were you thinking…?”)
Back to our lawyer and his non question.
It is a good question! We all need to do business with this question.
Jesus responds by volleying the question back into the lawyer’s court.
vs 26 Jesus: What is the law?
vs 27 Lawyer: Love God – heart, soul strength, mind and your neighbor as your self.
Good answer, right? Love God with everything you are and love your neighbor like you love yourself.
vs 28 Jesus: Good answer – do that and you will live.
vs 29 Lawyer: Seeking to justify Himself – asks – Who is my neighbor.
vs 30-37 Jesus: explains the popular “Good Samaritan”.
We know the story – we have heard it in Sunday School, taught it to our children, and failed at it many times ourselves.
But, I want us to consider a bit of a different application to Luke 10.
Let’s consider our unborn neighbor.
I confess to you that for many years I walked on the other side of the road from my unborn neighbor. I was….. indifferent.
My silence and lack of leadership in this area was….. pathetic to me.
I like Jesus’ reply to the lawyer.
Jesus reply: sure…. do that and you have eternal life!
And, the man seeking to justify himself thinks — hey I am good to go.
But this answer from Jesus was NOT meant to reveal “good job” — it should have caused him and us to shudder!
Our lawyer blows right past that — “so who is my neighbor?”
Jesus is saying: you missed it!
The answer: Love God with everything and love neighbor as self…. should leave you thinking: “oh no — I have not done that — Who has done that!?! I can’t do that. I am not self justified — what am I to do??”
Instead his reply is — “ok — love God with all of me…..done that… What’s next…”
Are you serious right now??
And it is here he jumps forward to: “Who is my neighbor?”
His assumption was that my neighbor was fellow Jews — you know — neighbors. Friends. But not Gentiles — not a Samaritan!
A Jew despised Samaritans. To love a Samaritan was socially un-acceptable!
Lawyer: Who is my neighbor?
Jesus: The broken, enemy, despised, outcast, left for dead
So the priest and Levite won’t stoop down to stop and help. They do not stop even for one of their own.
These are men who are respected and thought to have character.
They ignore him and pretend that the problem is not there.
This was my stance regarding my “Unborn Neighbor” for many years.
Martin Niemoller was a German pastor imprisoned for opposing Hitler — he writes:
“In Germany they came first of all for the Communist, and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Communist. They came for the Jews and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Jew. Then they came from the Unionist and I didn’t speak up because I wasn’t a Unionist. Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me, and by that time no one was left to speak up.”
What Does A Neighbor Do?:
Well, he doesn’t turn away.
Christian, realize who we were and who we are.
Miserable sinners. Satan robbed you, stripped you, and left you for dead. And the law comes like a priest and Levite and offers no help, no hope, and no compassion. The law condemns you.
Christ came to heal our wounds and save us. His compassion pays for our sin. He settles our debt and provides for us.
What a Savior! This is the Gospel!
Because of what Christ has done, we become God loving, whole hearted, worshipers. Not to earn eternal life (like the lawyer is seeking to do) but to respond to the eternal life we have been given.
There is hope for sinners like me and you today.
Are you walking on the other side of the road – trying to keep your distance from your unborn neighbor?
Consider this year: How can I care for my unborn neighbor?
Many of the thoughts above are from reading John Piper over the years. While I have not read anything by him regarding Sanctity of Life for many years, I no longer know what I picked up from him and what thoughts are mine. So, credit goes to John Piper for many of the thoughts above.
Lastly, enjoy this video from Matt Chandler and the Village Church.
I am not typically a “current events blogger”. But, occasionally, I feel the need to do a current events post. First, I want to state loudly and clearly what I LOVE about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
1.) ALS Awareness: Who can’t love the attention ALS is getting these days? It is incredible! Videos that are often funny, or failed miserably, done by people who are friends and close to you, and done by the comedians, actors, athletes, etc…. Seriously, what is there not to love about it?
2.) Viral Generosity: You got to love generosity that goes viral! We need more of that in our world!
3.) I have a long health history: I have received so much from organizations and people! Here is a shout out to the Winn Dixie Hope Lodge – my home away from home when I was receiving radiation. So, how can I NOT love this?!?
As a matter of my conscience, I can not participate in the challenge. Please know, I am not trying to stand in judgement of those who have engaged in the ALS challenge nor am I trying to be a downer to the generosity displayed!! Hang with me to the end of the post!
ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) is a progressive, neurodegenerative disease. It is fatal and there is no cure. My heart goes out to anyone who is facing this disease. My cancer history (diagnosed at 25 – extensive treatments of chemo and radiation) is now in remission. But, that and other diseases I have wrestled with causes my heart to go out to those ALS.
The Ice Bucket Challenge And LIFE:
1.) Follow the money: The ALS Association is the lead ALS organization. (http://www.alsa.org). Keep in mind – not all ALS charities are created equal. But, the lead ALS charity gave a $500,000 to NEALS last year. (Will that amount increase this year due to the current viral challenge? I would assume….) NEALS runs clinical trials for ALS. (http://www.alsconsortium.org) And here is the problem: NEALS uses embryonic stem cells. Read More Here From Lifenews.com. and a slew of other sources you can easily research this!
I am pro- life. All life. ALS lives and babies in the womb lives. If the heart is beating…. I believe in life! And so, I have no category for donating to a group that sees no problem with ending a life.
Some, are reading this and they are angry with me. Some may think I am overreacting. You might be thinking – if you had ALS you might think differently. Not true.
2.) My Health History
I also have Crohn’s disease. Due to my cancer history, I have been unable to take what is considered the typical Crohn’s medications. They carry a cancer risk and with my cancer history they carry too high of a risk. So, Crohn’s has been quite the challenge for me. Much to say…. but I will spare you the details.
My point is that at one time I was offered the opportunity to participated in a stem cell trial research. Maybe this will be a source of relief! Maybe this could be an answer! The excitement and anticipation was incredible. Thrilled with the news when my doctor told me what he was recommending. A game changer? A LIFE changer? PLEASE!!
And yet, I swallowed hard and asked him – is it adult stem cell or fetus?
I am grateful that he replied it is adult because if it were fetus…. No! How could I take a life in an effort to save mine?
3.) My God: Psalm 139:13-19
For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.
How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I would count them, they are more than the sand. I awake, and I am still with you.
Oh that you would slay the wicked, O God! O men of blood, depart from me!
(Psalm 139:13-19 ESV)
4.) My Money
There are so many great organizations out there. Research them and get involved. Consider how you might not only donate your money but volunteer your time. Because of my convictions I enjoy supporting Pregnancy Resources. You might want to look them up, and dump some ice water for them! Or, if you want to donate for ALS research, my understanding is that Team Gleason is worthy of your donated dollars.
I hope some of the above helps. Let’s pray for ALS victims today and consider how we might serve them!