In our current culture, “freedom” incorrectly means the ability to do what we please without suffering any consequences. This lack of personal responsibility has caused many of our societal problems and much of it is rooted in irresponsible sexual behavior. Consider one of Tinder’s latest ads proclaiming, “Single does what single wants.” This axiom of greed and objectification does not take into account the feelings of another human being, nor does it account for the collateral damage if children result from a union. It merely strips freedom down to the selfish pursuit of one’s desires.
In contrast, Os Guinness, in his new book, Last Call for Liberty (IVP Books), argues that, “Free societies are responsible societies with citizens who are ready, willing, and able to assume personal responsibility.” This sense of personal responsibility is founded in a correct view of ourselves and our purpose. If we understand that we are made in God’s image, then we respect ourselves as His creation. If we respect ourselves as His creation, we also respect every other person as His creation as well. We understand that God made each person special, unique and He loved them long before we ever met them.
Because of this reality, we cannot treat the opposite sex (or any person for that matter) as a consumer item. A person is not a vending machine to use for our own pleasure, but rather a creation of God endowed with a soul. Every man is a brother, a son and a friend while every woman is also a sister, a daughter and a friend.
In our consumer-driven, swipe right, swipe left culture, the ethics of sexuality, the ethics of treating others with dignity has become frayed. Yet what would happen if, as a community, we restored sexual ethics? What if we restored the concept of treating others with value and dignity rather than using them for our own purposes? What if we truly believed that every life was a sacred gift of God with incredible value, worth, purpose and dignity? What if, before we followed our feelings—and exploited another human being—we remembered that this person is a son, a daughter, a brother, a sister and a friend—not an object to be used? What if starting with respecting ourselves, we restored relationships of mutual respect?
Restoring sexual ethics would radically change our culture into one of kindness and mutual respect.
The obstacle to this restorative change is the greed of the human heart which (whether intentionally or unintentionally) continually pulls us to use others for our own advantage. This hardwiring can only be satisfied when the created is finally reconciled to his Creator. As St. Augustine so poignantly noted, “Thou hast made us for thyself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it finds its rest in thee.”
When we truly find rest in God alone, it transforms our hearts and our perspective to view ourselves and all other people with dignity and value. In a world so devoid of value and meaning beyond self-fulfillment, this perspective stands apart in a radical way.
As such, the tides of “normalcy” beat against it because seeing others as consumable objects for one’s own benefit stands as the normal mode of selfish, human behavior. Movies, music, the media, celebrity magazines and popular culture reinforce this perspective. Yet this perspective has only led to suffering, broken relationships, broken hearts and the vain attempt to ignore a life which is bankrupt of real meaning.
It is time for a new vision, a new restoration for our culture. Not only answering “What does it mean to be human?” with “Created in the image of God” but also allowing that truth to guide our lives. It becomes an inner decision which goes, “If all people are made in the image of God, then I must treat them as such. If all people are made in the image of God, I cannot use a person for my benefit—sexually or otherwise.”
It also follows that if all people are made in the image of God, then abortion, which ends a human life, is morally wrong. If all people are made in the image of God, then pornography, which is often made using trafficked victims, is wrong. In addition, pornography defaces another human being through a destructive counterfeit relationship, destroying love, relationships and families. This also strips people of the dignity of being made in God’s image.
Ultimately, if all people are made in the image of God, it means that we must radically change our own self-perspective and our perspectives of others. If all people are made in the image of God, then we must treat others with dignity. Finally, a restoration of sexual ethics could not only benefit our personal lives with self-respect and respect towards others, but if we all choose to live by it, we could change our world.
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It is the greatest human rights abuse of our time. Its implications affect families, public health and government. It calls into question our very humanity.
Yet many churches have neglected it. They see it as a divisive issue and believe that churches should be about unity and harmony, not division. They believe Christians should “Seek to live at peace with every man,” to “Love our neighbors,” and to remember that “Blessed are the meek.”
But what is the line between loving and enabling? Between “peace” and complacency? Between meekness and silence? And, most importantly, what is the role of truth?
For 45 years, the barbaric procedure of abortion which dismembers unborn humans in the womb has been ignored by those too afraid to engage in a divisive issue. Why? Abortion is offensive. But so was slavery. However, everyone today agrees that outlawing slavery was the right thing to do. Everyone today agrees that owning another human being as “property” is morally wrong. Everyone agrees that despite the so-called “economic benefit” for owning slaves, it is morally unacceptable, and no civil society should allow it.
Yet, like slavery, abortion gives the strong power over the weak.
Like slavery, abortion denies rights to those whose voices are deemed inconvenient.
Like slavery, abortion denies the personhood of another human being, claiming them as “property.” “My body, my choice” essentially means “My body, my property.” Think about that.
Like slavery, abortion continues to remain legal because people have difficulty seeing what life might be like without it. The question of the past, “How will we run our farms without slaves?” mirrors the modern question, “How will we live our lives without abortion?”
Like most of life’s questions, the question of abortion has a simple answer with complicated implications. Science reveals that the child in the womb is a separate, individual human being with a heartbeat and unique DNA. The complicated implication of this simple reality means a changed perspective on sexuality. It means that sex carries the weight of responsibility. It means that sex is never “free” if by “free” this means no consequences.
Yet the human heart already knows this. It knows that in sex, something significant has just happened between two people. Yet the culture attempts to convince people that sex is as inconsequential as brushing your teeth…and that neglecting “safe” sex (like not brushing your teeth) might result in a cavity. The culture claims that whether pregnancy or cavity, you just take care of it. And you’re good.
Yet many women face physical and psychological ramifications following an abortion. Whether it is increased substance abuse, increased suicide risk, or complications in subsequent pregnancies, the suffering of women reveals that abortion is not just “taking care of it,” but in fact it causes harm, both to the woman and the baby.
Ultimately, slavery ended because of the law, not because everyone’s hearts had changed. However, some today, hope that abortion will disappear because every heart in America will see the truth. They hope that abortion will end on a social level, not on a political or legal level. However, abortion became legal because of the law. It will end because of the law. This means that those who support the right to life, must do so politically…for that is how laws are made. People who support life must vote for those who support life.
Many in the church have begun to support “social justice” to the exclusion of true justice for the unborn. In doing so, they make a grave mistake.
Proverbs 24: 11-12 exhorts us:
“11 Rescue those being led away to death;
hold back those staggering toward slaughter.
12 If you say, “But we knew nothing about this,”
does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?
Does not he who guards your life know it?
Will he not repay everyone according to what they have done?” (NIV).
This is why the church cannot stay silent, sit out, or retreat from voting pro-life. It is a responsibility, an obligation, in truth, a moral requirement.
Ultimately, “What is a human?” is not a political question, but a moral one. This question is answered by God: Humans are created by God in His image and therefore possess infinite value, worth and dignity. In a culture asking this question, the church should have the courage to answer it.
If you or someone you love is hurting from an abortion, you are not alone. Please reach out for help and hope from those who understand:
Also published on Patriot Post, November 1, 2018.
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