Outrage is Not Enough
Outrage

I’ve been inundated with outrage this past week. Righteous indignation filling my social media feeds. Outrage expressed in face-to-face conversations. And outrage at the outrage of others.

So what?

So what that Christians are outraged at the recent passage of a bill signed into law in New York State? A law that removes even the veneer of civilization when it comes to protecting the most vulnerable among us?

So what that Christians are outraged that a practice which ends life is now not only legal, it was celebrated with applause and landmark buildings lit up for the world to see?

And so what that the outrage of Christians is spilling into most of their conversations?

What are we doing about it?

Yes, Christians can feel like salmon swimming against the current in a society that no longer even pretends to share our values and morals.

Yes, Christians can become discouraged, citing the adage, “You can’t fight city hall.”

And yes, the political landscape seems skewed toward running away from God and His Word instead of to Him.

But we still have options:

When was the last time you made a difference—and not just expressing your outrage on social media?

Have you donated financially to a ministry such as Care Net Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast?

  • If money is tight, have you donated your time to such a ministry? There are opportunities for peer counselors and mommy-mentors. Training is provided.
  • Have you participated in a Walk for Life or hosted a table at a fundraising banquet to give other people an opportunity to donate through your efforts?

Have you come alongside other ministries? Will you explore opportunities with organizations such as:

  • Embrace Grace: “inspiring and equipping the church to love on girls with crisis pregnancies.”
  • Youmoms: a local group whose mission is to “encourage, equip, and empower young and expectant mothers and their children. And to equip the church to be a safe place for them to thrive.”
  • YoungLives: an organization that mentors teen moms
  • Mary’s Shelter: another local group whose mission is to “save lives by empowering and equipping homeless, pregnant young women for lives of dignity, hope, and self-sufficiency.”
  • Hannah’s Home: “provides a safe and loving Christian environment for single pregnant young women. Through counseling, life skills and continuing education, we offer hope and transform lives.”

If these organizations are not available in your area, find ministries with similar missions.

Have you considered how you might encourage foster families?

  • If you can’t foster, how about adopting a foster family? Come alongside to support them in the call on their lives.
  • Or donate to a local foster closet to provide for needs of foster families.

Don’t have an organization in your area similar to the ones I’ve referenced? Then perhaps this Bible verse can apply to you:

“For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14 ESV).

Yes, this verse is specific to an event and a person. But the principle still applies. We have been brought into the kingdom of Jesus Christ at this time, in this place. What will we do with the privilege of representing the Savior in the place He has planted us?

In the interest of transparency, I’m a board member of our local crisis pregnancy center, Care Net Pregnancy Services of the Treasure Coast.

But there was a time when I talked a good game of righteous indignation and moral outrage without doing anything. And one day I realized that had to change. I started small by attending a fundraising banquet. The next year, I hosted a table, inviting others to learn about this ministry. Further involvement culminated in my board role.

I say this, not for kudos, but to encourage you to start somewhere.

Start with outrage…but don’t stop there.


Supporting Life

Life

Our society is critical of hypocrites in general, and especially judgmental of perceived hypocrisy within the Christian community. Yet, consider the double standards espoused by our culture. And no where are they more obvious than in the area of protecting life.

Think of the convoluted logic that passes laws to protect unborn eagles but not unborn human babies. Or social mores that advocate protecting women from physical and sexual abuse, but have no problem ending the lives of females inside the womb—the ultimate physical abuse.

How is a Christian to respond to this double standard when it comes to valuing life?

Throw a pity party at the injustice of it all?

I’ve talked to many believers who figuratively and (literally) throw up their hands at the unfair way our culture treats Christians. Citing the adage, “you can’t fight city hall,” they give up. They stop voting, they stop serving, they stop interacting with society. After all, if the culture is against you, what’s the point in trying?

Gloat over those who disagree with us?

Other Christians appear to rejoice in the coming judgment of those who stand against God. They gloat about the hell and damnation unbelievers will face. Their message seems to be, “You’re making life miserable for Christians and killing babies now, but you’ll get yours!”

Shred our opponents with intellectual arguments?

I recently saw a post on social media titled, “Intellectually Shredded!” It celebrated the debate victory won by a believer over his unbelieving opponent.

Christians mock the illogical presumptions of those who live as if God doesn’t exist and claim pre-born babies aren’t really alive. They cite facts with the goal of chalking up a decisive victory against unbelieving opponents. The problem is, our motivation may deteriorate into winning the argument instead of the person.

While these options are practiced all too often, there’s a better way. The way of living with integrity, loving well, and serving humbly. The way modeled by hundreds of thousands of employees and volunteers in crisis pregnancy centers across the United States.

Living with integrity

The world is watching how Christians live. Yes, they may be watching us to catch hypocrisy, but many are watching because they want to know if Christianity is real. Do we put our money where our mouth is? We say we believe certain things, but do we live consistent with those beliefs? For example, we say we’re pro-life, but how do we support the ministries that work to protect life? Do we give of our finances? Our talents? Our time? We need to walk our talk if we’re to have any credibility with those who don’t share our beliefs.

Loving well

When Jesus told His followers to love their enemies and pray for their persecutors (Matthew 5:44), He wasn’t speaking theoretically. Jesus prayed for His executioners when He said, “Forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34 NIV).

Today, when we speak of unbelievers and abortionists going to hell, we ought to remember what D.L. Moody has been quoted as saying: “When we preach on hell, we must do it with tears in our eyes.”

Serving Humbly

One of the best examples of humble service I have ever witnessed is the work done day in and day out in crisis pregnancy centers around the country.

The work of employees and volunteers on the front lines of the pro-life effort is often unnoticed. Men and women who support those responding to an unplanned pregnancy provide counsel, support, and material resources. Clients may receive services such as pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD/HIV testing, and parenting classes. They offer these services without pressure in a safe, non-judgmental environment.

Equally important are the abortion recovery services offered to those who have chosen to terminate life, but then live with the physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences of their choice. Clients never hear, “I told you so.” What they do experience is love, and lots of it.

The Sanctity of Human Life is marked annually, the third Sunday in January. This year, we’ll observe it this Sunday, January 21, 2018. As you learn of the work being done in the crisis pregnancy center near you, will you do more than just listen? Will you live with integrity, love well, and then find a way to serve humbly with your time, talents, and resources?

The difference you make will last for eternity.


Euphemisms

When I worked in the corporate world, we rarely said we were firing an employee. We said they were being “let go.” The euphemism didn’t alter the reality that the person was no longer employed.

Euphemisms are often used to make us feel better about what we’re saying. They take the sting out of painful terms. Euphemisms can also help us avoid facing the reality that we’re making wrong choices. Slap a pleasant—or at the very least, neutral—label on something, and it becomes easier to support.

There’s a quote floating around the Internet attributed to Chuck Norris that illustrates this:

“Instead of baby, we say fetus; instead of killing, we say aborting; instead of dissect, we say research; instead of extermination chambers, we say abortion clinics…”

Sigh. More euphemisms.

Which brings me to the recent news reports of Planned Parenthood’s sales of body parts such as hearts, lungs, and livers from aborted babies. Upsetting, to say the least. Outrageous would be a better word. Our culture’s callous disregard for human life seems to have spiraled out of control to an unimaginable extent.

It also has me shaking my head in confusion. For decades, supporters of abortion have refused to call the unborn child a baby. Women seeking help are told their fetus is not alive; it’s merely a “clump of cells.”

But “clumps of cells” don’t have developed hearts, lungs, and livers. Living beings—people—have hearts, lungs, and livers. So which is it? Are these living human beings with identifiable human organs or are they unidentifiable clumps of cells?

No matter what euphemisms are used to help us hide from reality, the truth is our society has created and established a business whose goal is to kill children at alarming rates. Now it has found a way to generate even greater profits.

This despicable practice is an eerie reminder of a horrifying period in our not-so-distant history we’d rather forget. A time when body parts were also harvested with complete disregard for human life. Julius Hallervorden, a Nazi medical research official, once said to those managing the death camps, “If you are going to kill all these people, at least take the brains out so that the material could be utilized.”

How quickly we’ve forgotten.

Truth & ErrorEuphemisms and short memories make it easier to avoid reality. But no matter how much our culture tries to avoid truth, it cannot change truth. And someday, Jesus Christ, the One who called Himself the Way, the Truth, and the Life, will bring a judgment that cannot be evaded.

Still, as Christians it is not for us to rejoice in their judgment. Rather, it is for us to speak of this judgment with aching hearts and tears in our eyes. To speak with the hope that those who practice these horrific deeds may come to know the Savior who died for their sin and ours.

Until that day, may we never grow comfortable with euphemisms that make it easy to tolerate the intolerable.

These are my thoughts. What are yours?


What Kind of Choice?

It used to be in the realm of science fiction. Not anymore. Designer babies are one step closer to reality.

A U.S. company, 23andMe, has received a patent for a process that could be used to choose babies selected on the basis of genes that will increase the probability of certain physical attributes. Of course, the elimination of disorders and diseases is also touted as a benefit. For now, the company promotes the tool as, as they say, “a fun way to look at such things as what eye color their child might have or if their child will be able to perceive bitter taste or be lactose tolerant.”Biotechnology If the phrase “slippery slope” applies anywhere, it applies here. It’s a short step from playing a game to making choices that affect real life.

The word choice has been closely associated with the subject of babies in our nation. “Pro-choice” advocates espouse the right of women to choose to take the life of their baby before the baby is born. Choosing the traits of the baby they decide to keep is nothing by comparison.

But what are we choosing? Our culture moves from fad to fad. Names fall in and out of favor from year to year and generation to generation. Will the same thing happen with hair color? Eye color? Short or tall people? Isn’t that what the Third Reich attempted? Under a despicable dictator, a program was initiated to create a blond-haired, blue-eyed Aryan race. A race free of anything that could be called a defect.

So what will happen when our culture moves from playing a game to making “harmless” choices about eye color to finally eliminating any potential for less-than-perfect babies?

Consider these quotes:

“You measure the degree of civilization of a society by how it treats its weakest members.” ~ Winston Churchill

“The moral test of government is how that government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; those who are in the shadows of life; the sick, the needy and the handicapped.” ~ Hubert H. Humphrey

If we eliminate babies with physical limitations—if we even consider their elimination—what does this say about our society? Our compassion? Will the elimination of the elderly be next? Will we deny care to those who are born with diseases or “defects”?

Technology may provide the ability to do something, but morality determines if we should do it. Our society has already crossed that line with abortions. The sad thing is that anything else seems tame once our culture has determined that killing babies is acceptable.

I recently attended a fundraiser for our local crisis pregnancy center. Babies are dying before they can take their first breath outside the womb. Mothers and fathers learn—too late—the horror of what they’ve done, and then live with crippling regret. But there are those who are working on the front lines to save lives. One mother at a time. One father at a time. One baby at a time. Because, despite what our culture says, it’s the right thing to do.

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeMott

Photo courtesy of Nancy DeMott

Martin Niemöller, a German theologian and pastor, said this about the Third Reich—words quoted by the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:

First They Came

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

The choice is not about eye or hair color. It’s about life. Period.
Speak up for the babies. For the parents. For our nation.
If we don’t, someday, there will be no one to speak up for us.


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