Words Matter: Honoring the Sanctity of Life with our Words

STEPHANIE HUBACH|CONTRIBUTOR Words matter. Several years ago, when I was working for Mission to North America (MNA) as Special Needs Ministries Director, I was on my way out the door for a trip to Atlanta. With a glint in his eye, my younger son Tim (who has Down syndrome) looked at me and quipped, “Remember: MNA means ‘Mom’s Not Around!’” Whether that remark was shared in the spirit of “It’s boys’ weekend at the Hubach house” or, “You travel too much Mom,” I’m still not sure. If you are a Mom, however, you can guess how I heard it. Words matter. Their meaning matters. Their delivery matters. And all of that matters because the people to whom those words are directed matter. In January each year, many Christians celebrate Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. But what do we mean when we say “sanctity?” And how ought that to inform our not only our message, but our delivery? “Sanctity” is actually very close to the word holiness. In particular, it is akin to the “quality of being sacred, or by law (especially by natural or divine law) immune from violation.” When we speak of the sanctity of human life, we are often focused on calling out the violation of abortion and, instead, promoting the biblical warrant of protecting human life—from conception to natural death. As Christians who uphold the authority of Scripture, we ought to always protect the vulnerable—including the unborn—so that they might be “immune from violation,” the ultimate violation being the experience of intentional death. May we always remain faithful to this. At the same time, however, we need to carefully share our message of being pro-life—"for the life of my neighbor”—in a way that is immune from violation as well. Have you ever thought of your words as a weapon? Have you ever considered that good concepts can be presented in a way that actually “undoes the goodness” via the violence of language? In a world of tweets and texts, it is very easy for us to lose sight of this. Snark can creep in. Our words can suddenly become curt, sarcastic, cutting, demeaning, and brutal. Rather than focusing on private righteous action, we can find ourselves simply trying to illicit a public raging reaction—one that unquestioningly affirms the validity of our view, while harshly discrediting that of another...

Words Matter: Honoring the Sanctity of Life with our Words2022-05-04T23:41:02+00:00

The Grass Withers: Not Losing Heart in our Momentary Afflictions

This month, our last child is getting married. And while I am thrilled with my son’s choice for his wife, and anxious to welcome his new bride into our family, it is a bittersweet time of change. This milestone is also a reminder that my parenting years are now officially over. It is another season of change. Only recently, I retired. The job that I so enjoyed and the accomplishments that went with it are now behind me. On top of that my body is beginning to betray me. My arthritic joints and myopic eyes often combine to remind me of what I could once do.  PEach week after our Bible reading. the pastor of our church concludes with the words from Isaiah that “The grass withers, the flowers fade, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Every time I hear these words, I think of how my life is withering. Withering is hard to face – and not much fun! We don’t like change, yet change is one of life’s constants. It is guaranteed. The Psalmist wrote about it clearly, though darkly in Psalm 103:15-16; “As for man, his days are like grass; he flourishes like a flower of the field; for the wind passes over it, and it is gone, and its place knows it no more.”I could be discouraged with the Psalmist’s words if I did not continue to read the words that follow in verse 17: “But the steadfast love of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear him, and his righteousness to children’s children.”

The Grass Withers: Not Losing Heart in our Momentary Afflictions2022-05-07T23:06:45+00:00

How. Much. More. Abortion and the Line of False Choice

Sometimes the most unusual phrases capture my attention. Reading through the Old Testament the other day, I ran across the command, “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.”  I was immediately struck by those words. I have been unable to shake them from my mind. In particular, I’ve been contemplating how this phrase relates to the recent passage of a law in the State of New York legalizing—and indeed, actually celebrating—third trimester abortion. Wondering if I understood the passage rightly, I went to multiple sources and, of course, received multiple interpretations as to the meaning. Learning that this phrase appears not one, but three times, in the Old Testament, I also found that it appears in different contexts. While some consider it to be a mistake in the translation of the text, others suggest that it is written in reaction to a pagan ritual, while still others see it as comparable in usage to “how much more” statements which are made in both the Old and New Testaments. (I will be working off of the premise of the “how much more” perspective.) “How Much More” Applied One example of Jesus’ “how much more” statements occurs in Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount. There, Jesus tells his hearers to consider the lilies of the field—and how God cares for them. “But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith?” In other words, “If God cares for his creation as a whole, how much more does he care for every one of his image bearers?”

How. Much. More. Abortion and the Line of False Choice2022-05-08T00:01:35+00:00

The Sanctity of Life

In honor of Sanctity of Human Life Sunday (January 20), I want to tell you a true story. My friend Cassandra was pregnant—with twins.  They were eagerly anticipated, and already named. At three months along, Cassandra got a call at work.  A nurse was informing her that it appeared that the babies were going to be born with Down syndrome. My friend was stunned. Twins would be a challenge, Down syndrome would be a challenge—but all together?  She called a cousin and they began to pray.  Her cousin first thanked the Lord for the babies.  “Lord, we are going to love these children, and we know you do too,” Cassandra remembers their saying to Him. “What I needed was love,” she says now.  “If I had love for these children, it didn’t matter what they had or didn’t have; I could face the future.  My cousin’s prayer was just what I needed.  I told Him, ‘Lord, we are here for your plan.’”

The Sanctity of Life2022-05-08T00:08:29+00:00
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