Once upon a time not that long ago “everyone” knew with scientific certainty that human life began at conception. A mere three years after this editorial was written, “semantic gymnastics” made abortion-on-demand the law of the land. Would that pro-death people today could be as honest and forthright about their tactics. 

It's obvious that human beings should treat animals well, but when it comes to animal life versus human life, we must favor God's creatures who are made in His image. Passages such as Genesis 9:2-6 and Exodus 21:28-36 are instructive. Indeed, human beings are "exceptional."

God is a defender of the weak and a shelter for the oppressed. Over and over in the Psalms, the psalmist expresses his utter dependence on -- and faith in -- God by saying, “You are my refuge. In You I trust.” It’s wonderful to think of God in this way. No other god has it in its nature to be a refuge (Deut. 32:37-38, Judges 6:31).

Suffering in silence

It's so tempting to say, "You're strong! You're gonna make it." But we should instead be praying suffering people will BECOME strong . . . in the Lord. For some of us, however, holding our silence is a form of extreme suffering.

She had been taken from her home and they had not allowed her to return. She'd probably seen members of her family killed, or also taken captive. This nameless servant girl probably had no hope of ever returning to Israel. But like Joseph, she maintained her faith in God and adherence to His ways.

Much fine gold

When we give people the Gospel or teach them from the Bible ... when we live a godly life before them and demonstrate its benefits ... we're giving much fine gold.

Keep the "human" in the "sanctity of life"

Human life is special. We are the only form of life which is said to be made in God's image (Gen. 1:26-28). That's why we talk about human life as being "sacred" or having "sanctity." We are set apart from every other form of life.

Walk in the light

People don’t make it an aim in life to kill their own children. In fact, when such a thing happens accidentally, it’s a great tragedy. 

As the pro-choice side puts it, “No one wants to have an abortion.” Yet there are an estimated 50 million abortions a year worldwide. How is it that so many of us arrive at that choice?

Many explanations are given, but Jesus said evil comes from our hearts (Mark 7:20-23). Abortion is a grave spiritual matter.

We come to the brink of abortion by following the “counsel of the ungodly:”

It’s your life; no one can tell you what to do.

You don’t owe God anything.

Nothing bad will happen to you.

God doesn’t hear you, or see what you do.

God can’t (or won’t) help you.

God doesn’t know what your life is like.

There is no God.*

So, while a person may not set out to get there, he or she may wind up in a situation where abortion “makes sense” . . . is “the only thing to do” . . . seems as though “it will save me from a lot of other problems.”

How do we avoid abortion? By tracking closely after God (Psalm 17:5, 23:3). The person intent on walking in “paths of righteousness” -- following hard after God, familiarizing herself with His ways, conforming to His patterns -- will be spared horrible choices.

What if you’ve had an abortion? The good news is Jesus died for people who follow ungodly advice, and even for those who give it (Romans 5:6-8).

While we were still unrepentant sinners, He paid the penalty for sin. In Him, we have eternal life and freedom from sin. This promise includes people who’ve had abortions.

Since abortion begins in the heart, its remedy begins there, too. Psalm 32 recommends quick and thorough confession. Because he knew firsthand the shame of guilt and the joy of forgiveness, David advises everyone to be open with God about sin.

If you’re thinking about having an abortion, ask God to show you another way (1 Corinthians 10:13). Your local church or pregnancy care center can help, too, with good counsel and support.

*Psalm 1:1; 2:3; 3:2; 10:6, 11, 13; 12:4; 14:1; 22:8; 42:3, 10; 53:1; 59:7; 64:5; 71:11; 73:11; 78:19; 79:10; 94:7; 115:2.

This text originally appeared on our bulletin insert for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2009. It sold out, but is worth revisiting here on the blog.

Are we responsible for the shooting at Planned Parenthood?

As news unfolded of the rampage at the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, I prayed there was only a coincidental connection. My heart sank to learn the shooter muttered something about "baby parts" upon his arrest.

Life Matters Worldwide and other pro-life groups disavow violence against abortion providers. By its very nature, being pro-life does not permit killing in the name of life. We've had a policy against violence since 1993, and we highlight it every time a murder is perpetrated by a self-proclaimed pro-lifer. (NOTE TO OTHER WOULD-BE VIGILANTES: SAYING YOU'RE PRO-LIFE DOESN'T MAKE YOU PRO-LIFE ANY MORE THAN SAYING YOU'RE A CHRISTIAN MAKES YOU A FOLLOWER OF CHRIST.)

Is it enough, though, for us to publish position papers? Or should we do more to prevent violence? Let's take this opportunity to again emphasize biblical truth:

• Violence separates people from God. (Psalm 11:5, Isaiah 59:2-8)

• Violent people are not like God. (Ps. 54:3, 86:14; Is. 53:9)

• Violent people should not be envied or imitated. (Proverbs 3:31)

• Violent people often meet a violent end. (Prov. 21:7)

• Violent people will be judged by God. (Ezekiel 7:11, 23; 8:17; 12:19; 28:16; Joel 3:19; Obadiah 1:10; Habakkuk 2:8; Zephaniah 1:9)

• Victims of violence are precious to God. (Ps. 72:14, 140:1)

• God redeems violent people. (1 Timothy 1:13)

• One day, God will bring violence to an end. (Is. 60:18)

While it's doubtful someone who is a bit deranged and bent on destruction would first check with us before shooting up an abortion clinic, we can and will repeat these words: The pro-life movement does not "persuade" opponents by pointing guns at their heads.

Yes, we call abortion murder, and yes, we shared the links to the Planned Parenthood "baby parts" videos. We also said this at the time: God is the Avenger of innocent bloodPP workers need Christ, we need to continue working through legal means to defund PP, and we need to pray our government will do the right thing.

Pro-life rhetoric is not responsible for these murders any more than organizations that hold police departments accountable are responsible for the killing of officers. Abortion clinic violence does, however, give our movement a black eye.

In response to the Colorado shooting, Abby Johnson (former Planned Parenthood director) said, "I am so thankful that the anti-abortionists who made threats against my life when I worked at Planned Parenthood never made good on them. I'm thankful that I have been able to repent from my past and find mercy in Christ...and with God's help have hopefully saved more lives than I took."

And Carol Everett, the former director of an abortion clinic, said, "Thank the Lord that I was not killed before I came to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ and what He did for even me on that cross!"

Yes, let's keep praying for abortion providers and sharing the Gospel with them.

Related reading --
Noah: Violent or Righteous?
Should We Use Violence to Fight Abortion?

Photo credit -- CTRLF5

Murder mystery

In Genesis 9:5-6, God made killers accountable for the human blood they shed --

Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. 
And from every man, from every man's brother I will require the life of man.

Our new Brother's Keeper video demonstrates the importance of accounting for every life:

Brother's Keeper from Life Matters Worldwide on Vimeo. Available in HD on our Sanctity of Human Life Sunday Slideshow DVD -- free!

As our bulletin insert for Sanctity of Human Life Sunday 2016 points out, God's law differentiated between manslaughter and murder. According to Numbers 35, a person would be charged with murder if he used a weapon against his victim, was known to hate the victim, struck him in enmity, or ambushed him. If the victim was a friend and the killing unplanned, it could be considered manslaughter.

People guilty of murder were handed over to the victim's avenger. Manslayers, on the other hand, could reside in a city of refuge without fear. Thus each death was examined and acknowledged.

But what about when the person responsible for a violent death was unknown? We've prepared a study of Deuteronomy 21:1-9 that shows how God said murder mysteries should be resolved. You're welcome to download The Case of the Unknown Killer for your Sunday school class or Bible study group.

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