It’s difficult to follow any news announcement or scroll through any social media feed without being bombarded with angry comments by outraged people. Of course, there is a reason for that—more outrage means more clicks and more shares. Unfortunately, very often this angry outrage spirals into name-calling and worse. All the while our worlds shrink as we listen to our own echoes reinforcing our indignation. We all learn to talk at each other and not with each other. While we may feel reinforced in our moral high ground, we lose the ability to reason from cause to effect, to see the big picture.
If there is one issue that cause outrage—perhaps even in a world that conjures more than its fair share of outrage—it is abortion. For some the word immediately associates with babies, murder, greedy medical systems, and selfish people who want to live immorally and shy away from consequences. For others, the same word conjures up a harsh history of young women, some barely out of their childhood themselves, being used and abused, then left to carry the pain and shame of an unwanted child—destitute, alone, and branded for life with no possibilities, no voice, no choice. Still for others, abortion immediately calls up something they want to forget, a desperate secret that has been carried for years, a dull ache that time will not heal, a “what if” that has left deep scars on the soul.
LET’S CHANGE THE TONE
In this world of confusing noise of angry people shouting I want to be different—I want to advocate not for a cause, or a right, or even to be right. I want to advocate for life.
I want to step out of the noise and say that I know from experience that life can be messy and extremely complicated. I don’t want to condemn or try to be your conscience—I want to be your friend. I want you to know that I believe in a Creator who has shared His gift of life with us. I want you to know that life can be beautiful, even if difficult here, and that there is a much better fuller life that can stretch out into all eternity.
I want to advocate for life—yes, the unborn, the born, girls, women, boys and men, old men and old women. I want them each individually to have an opportunity to embrace life—not just survive. I want them each to know that God’s plan is to thrive. I want to advocate for life not by being outraged but by spread- ing hope. Hope, rather than giving me a tunnel vision that will divide my world into friends and foes, will give me wings. I will be able to listen and learn as I come alongside you, because ultimately whoever you are and wherever you find yourself, by choice or circumstance, I want to introduce you to “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
As I advocate for life I realize that this is a task for life. For me it will not mean waving a placard somewhere or writing my comments in all caps on other people’s social media feeds. It will not mean investing myself in political agendas. Advocating for life means that I will begin every morning consciously connecting with the Source of life through prayer and Bible study. I will ask to be able to embrace for myself that “abundant life” that He offers.
Then I want to begin at home advocating for life. I want my marriage and my home to be such a clear reflection of committed love that, with and without words, my children will understand and choose to embrace the gift and responsibility of life. I want my children to grow up with happy, healthy memories and effective role models who can help them make wise choices. I pray that they will choose to wait for a loving marriage to exercise the privilege of participating in the creation of life. And even if they make different choices or mistakes, I will still love them and still want to be a positive part of their lives.
BEYOND MY HOME
Advocating for life will have to go beyond my home. Hopelessness is all around me. I don’t need to trade in guilt. The fact that so many are desperately trying to normalize life-destroying habits and lifestyles speaks volumes to the attempts to cover the emptiness. If any judging is to be done, I will have to start with myself.
Am I destroying my quality of life and even shortening my life by my unhealthy lifestyle choices? Are there things I am addicted to that I refuse to give up? How about the way I use my words—am I promoting life or killing reputations and hope?
Advocating for life is like dropping a pebble into a lake—the ripple keeps expanding. It moves quickly beyond theory and into practice in my church and in my community. It makes me ask the nitty-gritty questions. How can I befriend and nurture the children and youth who come from broken homes and backgrounds? How can I practically help the single moms I know? What about the boys? Can I support a strong mentorship program for boys that can role-model what a godly man is? What can I do to help stem the flood of pornography that threatens to annihilate relationships and intimacy?
No, I’m not always a good advocate for life. I sometimes defer to neatly packaged answers that save me the complication of involvement. But once again, right now, I want to commit to advocate for life—not just a slice of life, not just for the beginning of life, or a moment of life. After all, it’s the least I can do as a follower of the “way, the truth, and the life.”