Last week I stood before a group of teens and gave a presentation on abortion.
It was the first time I stood before a group of students I’d never met and talked about an issue with which many of them were unfamiliar prior to preparing for the day’s class. They weren’t exactly chatty — How many young people are when you’re zeroing in on a subject that society considers taboo? — but they were attentive, respectful and seemingly thoughtful about the points raised.
Looking out at their furrowed brows in a room silent enough to hear a pin drop, I was reminded of my reasons for standing in front of them. The reminder fanned to flame my purpose for being there, for talking about uncomfortable issues, for telling others things they oftentimes don’t like to hear.
I am a Christ-follower. As such, I am — among many other things — considered an ambassador, a representative of the one who sent me. As a Christ-follower, I am a representative of God. What a weighty responsibility! When I speak, I speak for the Father.
As one who addresses the world around me on behalf of Christ, it is imperative that I recognize what is important to Him, and to make what is important to Him important to me.
Even an elementary understanding of the Bible leaves one realizing — whether that individual is aware of it or not — that human beings are extremely important to God. God created human beings in His image. I can’t explain that fully. No one can. But I don’t have to. Simply grasping that the almighty Sovereign made us with some speck of likeness to Himself is enough to make us — each and every one of us — extremely valuable. And in all our uniqueness, that speck of our Creator that exists in every human being gives every single one an equal measure of value.
How valuable are we? That’s another one I can’t quite respond to with a concise answer. There are simply no words, no flowery adjectives or gut-wrenching verbs that can express the gratitude and awe of the price paid for human beings to receive life a second time. “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
I have always wondered why the author of John’s gospel used that funny word, “begotten,” in the middle of what is probably the most well-known verse associated with Christianity. I’ve always thought it a funny word. It was only recently I realized the magnificence of that word choice and what it reveals to the reader.
Basic biogenesis tells us that things reproduce after their own kind. In other words, our God of order made this world so that frogs beget frogs, cats beget cats and human beings beget human beings. This law is very helpful as we navigate issues regarding what kind of “things” the unborn are. This verse tells us that Jesus is “begotten” of God. What kind of “thing” does that make Jesus? And how many of that particular thing is there? (Answers: God, and ONE)
This verse is a clear indication of the deity of Jesus, one of the three persons that make up our great God.
What understanding does this nugget of truth from Scripture leave us with? Quite simply — however inadequately expressed by words — God Himself, the one true GOD that was and is and always will be, valued human beings enough to die in the person of His son so that we could live. Forever.
So, yeah, human beings are important to Jesus.
And think about this: Human beings, whether they believe Christianity is true or not, are all hard-wired with the traits that come from bearing some image of their maker — an understanding of absolute rights and wrongs, an appreciation for beauty, a dire need for purpose, and a gut-level disturbance upon witnessing obvious injustices involving other human beings.
I believe it is that disturbance that makes an issue like abortion — an injustice of the worst kind involving innocent, valuable human beings — “taboo.” It’s the reason the word itself stirs up "defensive" emotions on either side of the issue. (Note: This raises the question, "What are you defending?" In light of what's been presented, it's either innocent human life or the right to choose to take a life — to honor God or to play god.) It’s the reason pro-abortion advocates dislike images depicting abortion as much as pro-life advocates do. It’s precisely the reason Christ-followers should be disturbed enough to stand in defense of human beings who, in the case of abortion, cannot fight for themselves.
That knowledge — both of human value and of who Christ is and what He has done for me, the human beings I’m fighting to defend, and all of those around me willing to recognize and trust Him — is what kept me talking in spite of the silence.