What is "Pro-Life"?

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Being pro-life is about more than abortion. As believers, we should live in a way that honors the dignity of all humans as we are all made in the image and likeness of God.

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Intro

Do we have any vegans in the room this morning? I can tell you with a great amount of certainty that I am not one.
When I was a kid you heard a lot about being a vegetarian. Not so much about being a vegan. And any good vegan will tell you that they are two very different things.
And as someone who does not prescribe to either lifestyle, I am cautious as to not mischaracterize them. But it is my understanding that vegetarians simply don’t eat any animal flesh. They don’t eat meat. They can however eat animal by-products such as eggs, cheese, and other dairy products.
Vegans on the other hand take a much stricter stance in that they don’t any meat of any kind, but they also do not eat any animal by-products, or use any products that are made with animal by-products.
Their diet is 100% plant-based. No eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, or any other dairy products.
And there are a lot of reasons people choose this kind of lifestyle. For many it is about their health and they see veganism as a healthier way of life.
For others it might be a social thing. The desire to belong to a community of like-minded people.
For many it is a moral issue. They don’t agree with the taking or using of animal life for human benefit. I won’t speak for all vegans, but there is one in particular who I see often on social media who goes out in public and essentially attempts to shame people into choosing a vegan lifestyle.
He equates the death of an animal to murder. He equates milking a cow to torture and abuse. What is interesting though is that in one video someone asked him about his stance on abortion and he would not answer the question.
He refused. Someone who was so concerned about life, even the harvesting of eggs from a chicken was immoral, but he would not say that abortion was immoral.
In fact he kept flipping it and saying you can’t say abortion is immoral but not think eating steak is equally as immoral.
This really speaks to a worldview that is so very prevalent in our society and it is one that does not differentiate human life from other forms of life on this planet.
And really, it is this worldview that makes if possible to do all sorts of evil things to other people, while hypocritically creating rules and laws that protect other forms of animal and even plant life.
Why, because we live in a world where Satan has deceived people into believing that humans are no more special than a goldfish. And it is this lie that flies in the face of God’s truth on this matter.

A New Norm

This past week, unless you live under a rock, you likely saw that the Supreme Court essentially overturned Roe v. Wade. If you remember it was Roe v. Wade that made abortion a constitutionally protected right and therefore made it unconstitutional for states to outlaw its practice.
Understand that what happened yesterday did not put an end to abortion. What it did was say that abortion is not a constitutionally protected right.
And if you know how our constitution is written, essentially unless our constitution specifically mentions something as a right, then it is up to each state to make its own laws governing that issue.
So for example, out constitution specifically mentions the 1 amendment, or right to free speech, so states can’t make laws that limit that right.
The supreme court has concluded that the constitution does not protect the right to an abortion, therefore each state can make its own laws on the issue. So the ramifications of this decision mean that states can now ban it completely if they want.
And it is this issue, the issue of abortion that really gets at the heart of what we understand about the dignity and value of human life, even pre-born life.

Power in the Text

Genesis 1:26-31 NLT 26 Then God said, “Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground.”27 So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.
28 Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.” 29 Then God said, “Look! I have given you every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees for your food.
30 And I have given every green plant as food for all the wild animals, the birds in the sky, and the small animals that scurry along the ground—everything that has life.” And that is what happened.31 Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was very good! And evening passed and morning came, marking the sixth day.
The Bible teaches us that human life is different from other types of life, because human beings are made in the very image of God (vv. 26–27).
This is an important distinction. The text says that humans were made in God’s image and his likeness. These are two words that meant the same thing. It is kind of an odd way to word this phrase. We were made in God’s resemblance and to resemble God.
By using both of these terms, they make each other all the more expressive. It is as if to say that humans were made not just in the image of God, but in the likest image of God.
In other words, humans are the nearest resemblance to God over all other earthly creatures.
In the eyes of our creator, humans certainly hold more value over every other living thing on this planet.
Not only does human life have significance, God also gave us “dominion” over everything on earth (v. 26), imparting to humanity the task to serve as God’s representatives on earth, in governing and stewarding the land and its creatures (vv. 28–30).
This was not a mistake, or an oversight, or a creative hiccup; it was intentional and according to God of the universe, “very good” (v. 31).

Big Idea/Why it Matters

The concept that humanity is made in God’s image is reaffirmed in the New Testament.
James 3:7-9 NLT 7 People can tame all kinds of animals, birds, reptiles, and fish, 8 but no one can tame the tongue. It is restless and evil, full of deadly poison. 9 Sometimes it praises our Lord and Father, and sometimes it curses those who have been made in the image of God.
This reaffirmation in James helps the believer understand that sin and brokenness do not negate the fact that we all remain image bearers of God.
Jesus lived in a way that acknowledged equal human dignity of every person, despite what popular opinion may say. This is especially important when we consider what it means to be pro-life.
Jesus erased the distinctions that would separate, and isolate people based on age, ability, gender, or nationality and race.
He welcomed the children (Matthew 19:13–15).
He rejected social norms by engaging with tax collectors and sinners (Mark 2:16).
He went against the crowd to reach out to those with a disability (Matthew 20:29–34) or suffering from disease (Luke 17:11–19).
He reached out to the foreigner of another religion (John 4:9–27).
Christ paid special attention to those considered insignificant by the majority. He elevated all as worthy of dignity.
Abortion has become a political lightning rod. It is an issue that many have made the issue, on either side of the political divide.
For the believer, our views should not to be based on the opinions of those trying to get elected; our beliefs must be based on what God has shown us.
It is certain that God values and elevates human life and human dignity. He also commands us not to take a life outside of the pursuit of justice.
How this is lived out in the life of a believer must move beyond elections and legislation. Julia Herrington writes about what she learned through working at a pregnancy resource center and why we need to have real conversations about this touchy issue.
She writes...
“Let’s get proactively involved in all the issues of life. We cannot be advocates for life and absent from the foster care system. We cannot advocate an abortion-free society and condemn unwed mothers. Let’s mobilize our churches to support young mothers and families. We must be bringers of life to the unborn and to the born.
This is a critical conversation because we have misguidedly adopted a polemical framework for how we discuss abortion. Maybe it’s time to begin questioning all of the assumptions surrounding this issue that have been made since its conception: that it’s a women’s issue, that it’s necessarily political, or that apathy is an acceptable response. This matters because it’s all life.

Application/Closing

Scripture teaches us that all life is valuable. That means that believers must evaluate what it means to value the lives of all people.
This can be especially difficult when we realize that Jesus erased distinctions over who we are to value and love, but we still tend to create “us and them” scenarios.
What does it look like to value the ones who are different from you?
Do I see the value of a human being who is in prison for crimes I cannot fathom committing
a sex worker
a refugee, poor, rich, an atheist
member of the LGBQT community
a person of color, a Muslim, a member of another political party, or whatever “them” we have created?
This concept must infiltrate even the deepest recesses of our hearts and apply even to our greatest enemies and adversaries.
Kyle Rohane wrote a sobering response to our tendency to celebrate death when it stems from our hatred. Using the example of known terrorist Osama Bin Laden, he wrote,
“Many would agree with me that the world is a better, safer place without someone like Osama bin Laden. But even that thought is reason to grieve, not to celebrate. How evil are the designs of Satan, how corrupting the nature of sin to take humans created in God's image and twist them so far from his purposes—to the point that creation is better off without them? The snuffing out of God's image, no matter how twisted it has become, is a solemn event”.
Thank God that he values our lives enough to give forgiveness and grace to each of us when we lose sight of human dignity.
In 2014, a study conducted by the Guttmacher Institute (a pro-choice think tank) determined that 54 percent of women who sought abortions considered themselves Protestant, evangelical, or Catholic believers.
We should be grieved by these numbers, but we must also recognize that God is a God of restoration—and we get to take part in that restoration.
We can give and accept God’s grace in our lives and his redemption over our failures. There is a chance that someone listening to this message has either had an abortion, knows someone who has, but hear me when I say that does not mean that they are unforgivable.
There is healing through the work of Jesus.
We cannot allow ourselves to be deceived by phrases like reproductive health and women’s healthcare as if removing abortion from the equation means removing all the other healthcare options available.
Using these fear mongering tactics along the with others are nothing more than an attempt by the enemy of our souls to get us to lose sight of the precious value of all human life.
Don’t fall for it. Hold firmly to the truth. Love those who disagree. Pray for those who want to continue to perpetuate the lie that pre-born life doesn’t matter.
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