Hope and the Value of Life - Lisa McIntire

Sanctity of Human Life 2018

President Ronald Reagan designated Sunday, January 22, 1984, as the first National Sanctity of Human Life Day. That day was also the 11th anniversary of the Supreme Court Roe v. Wade decision that made abortion legal across the United States.

Every day is Sanctity of Human Life Day at PCC, but it's good to set aside time to reflect on the true meaning and magnitude of this reality. Sanctity is really just a fancy word for sacredness or holiness. One definition even says "divine nature". And isn't that what God says about humans, that we are made in His (divine) image?

If you've ever seen or held a newborn baby, so fresh from God, you know intuitively that this little life is miraculous. It's unique. There has never been - nor will there EVER be - a person exactly like this one.

But our culture sends a different message. We are told in a million little ways that life is only valuable within certain parameters and that these little ones only have value if we choose to assign a value to them.

For instance, our culture says that a human being is only valuable if he or she is conceived within acceptable circumstances.  So children conceived out of wedlock or in poverty or as a result of violence or abuse cease to have value - not because of anything they did, but because of the circumstances surrounding their conception.

I understand this because I lived it. My parents were high school students when I was conceived, and I was not a welcome surprise.They were scared. Their families were ashamed.  And everything these teenagers had hoped for and dreamed about suddenly looked different, warped. Because of me.

When I was probably about 10 years old, just old enough to learn our family's secret and begin to process some of these ideas, I felt ashamed too - like I had arrived at the wrong place and the wrong time, like some uninvited guest who ruined everything by coming to the party.

Maybe I was the reason my parents were the working poor, struggling to provide for me and my sister without ever having the benefit of a college education. My parents loved me and they gave me the very best opportunities they could. But I couldn't shake the questions:

Were other kids more valuable because their circumstances were better because they were wanted from the very beginning?

Was everyone truly created equal? And if so, why? Who says?

How could I know for sure that my life had any worth at all?

It took many years and a lot of God's love to find the answers. But find them, I did.

It turns out the truth is that ALL life does indeed have immeasurable worth. But it isn't based on the circumstances of one's conception, or how much they "contribute to society", or their gender, age, race, economic status, intelligence or any other factor.

Life has value because God says it does

I'm not a theologian by any means. But I can't read the Bible without the theme of God's immense, overwhelming love for each and every human being arresting me. As I've pondered and prayed about this anew these past few weeks, one verse continually comes to my mind, one that many of you probably know by heart:

Jeremiah 29:11, "I know the plans I have for you," declares the Lord, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future".

Do you hear that?  God PLANNED you - and He planned me. This tender passage speaks so clearly of the promise and possibility that each and every human life holds. He only has our good in mind, and He wants to give us hope.

And hope is what we at PCC want to offer every scared young woman and every angry young man who doesn't understand the promise and possibility they possess. They don't think they can choose life for their child because they don't value their own lives. They don't see any other way than to live recklessly, then try to pick up the pieces the best they know how.

That's why we are there - to show them with compassion and kindness, that their child's life has intrinsic value. But so does theirs. We strive to infuse them with the hope and healing that can only be found in its truest form in God's love. We guide them into understanding that they can go beyond the limitations of their past experiences and the limitations within their families and even the limitations in their own minds. They can find the courage to choose life - for their child and for themselves.

And we will walk with them every step of the way.

But we couldn't do it without your prayers and partnership. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.

You can make a difference.

Help us impact the Springfield community. Enter your email to receive periodic updates.