By Shawn McMullen
Sanctity of Human Life Sunday has been observed since 1983, typically falling on the Sunday in January closest to the anniversary date of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions handed down in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton on January 22, 1973. Since that time, Christians throughout the nation have sought to raise public awareness of the issue and encourage Americans to value life as God values life.
Perhaps each of us should ask the question, “How do I value life?” It’s important to respect and protect life in the womb, but is there more to valuing life than that? Here are several ways Christians can value life.
Protect the unborn. “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). From David’s inspired observation that God personally and carefully formed his body in the womb, to Luke’s inspired account of the yet-to-be-born John the Baptist leaping for joy in the presence of the yet-to-be-born Messiah (Luke 1:39-45), it’s evident that God’s own hand and purpose are at work in the life of every unborn baby. Who can argue the fact that in the smallest embryo, God is intending to create a fully developed human being? And who has the right to act counter to the intentions of our Creator?
Help the poor. “Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the lord, and he will reward them for what they have done” (Proverbs 19:17). Another way we value life is to value the poor. As we respect, honor, and assist the less fortunate, we recognize their value as human beings regardless of their situation. Perhaps we need to be reminded that the goats who will be sent away to eternal punishment on the Day of Judgment (Matthew 25:41-46) will be condemned not because they harmed the “least of these,” but because they ignored them.
Defend the oppressed. Jesus came “to set the oppressed free” (Luke 4:18) by offering a peace and security the world cannot give. His compassion for those who suffered under life’s inequities provides a model for us today. When we come to the aid of the oppressed, we are following Christ’s example.
Encourage the weak. Paul challenged the church to “encourage the disheartened, help the weak” (1 Thessalonians 5:14). To value human life is to value even those who demand the most from us—the people whose constant need of support and encouragement require vast amounts of our time and energy. To love and nurture them, even when our own resources seem limited, is to honor Christ.
Win the lost. “Be merciful to those who doubt; save others by snatching them from the fire” (Jude 22, 23). The best way to value human life is to save it—not from physical death, as vital as that is, but from spiritual death. To share the good news of the gospel, to win souls and make disciples, is not only the best way to value a life; it’s the best way to invest a life.