Friday, June 30, 2017

At What Cost?

They even burned their own sons and daughters to death on the altars of Molech; they consulted fortune-tellers and used magic and sold themselves to evil. So the Lord was very angry.
~ 2 Kings 17:17, TLB ~

"There is nothing new under the sun." So says King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes. Yet, it often feels like the world is coming apart around us these days with depravity that we have never witnessed in recent history.

By the time you read this, Charlie Gard could already be in heaven. The British legal system found it in the best interest of this beautiful 10-month-old to be taken off of a ventilator and left to die rather than be flown to the United States for a promising treatment for his rare disorder. Despite the parents raising their own funds for this treatment, the courts decided that Charlie's doctors knew best and that his life should be ended.

All of this breaks our hearts as America emotionally debates the value of socialized medicine under a new president. While many protest for a single-payer system, still more point to cases like baby Charlie's to argue against this type of medical care. After all, this was one of the main reasons this current president was elected, they debate.

Yesterday, we heard wisdom and eloquence from Tammie Hefty on what advocacy should look like for us as Christians. While God calls us to speak up for the least and the lost, we are to do so with love and not vicious vitriol. That can be a huge challenge for sinners like us, especially when it involves our children! Nothing can "awaken the mama bear" like sensing our precious children are treated unjustly. 

Today, I want to go deeper on this topic and suggest that all of this... ALL OF IT... is an issue of our heart's condition. 

Bioethical questions occur in matters of life and death. And sadly, so many of them these days come down to the issue of money or living what we consider to be a worthwhile life. This puts children like yours and like mine in grave danger. I had to stop reading the comments made by people under an article about an insurer pulling out of a certain state because an individual with hemophilia had cost them too much money. The lack of humanity and empathy was sickening. At the same time, I am equally galled by angry individuals with disabilities demanding that they are entitled to certain services that would be considered a luxury in other countries. This is where the church should be filling in the gaps and loving others around us in practical ways.

Two wicked heart conditions are at play here:

  1. Deeming who we think is worthy of life and who is not.
  2. Catastrophizing every denial of our desires as life-or-death when it may merely be an inconvenience.
In BOTH of these worldviews, we are valuing money more than we value our God. And when we ratchet up the speech to call names and treat one another with an incredible lack of dignity, we are committing murder with our mouths. That is NOT how the Lord calls us to respond to the sin of others.

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone.
(Romans 12:17, NIV)

Instead, we are to be in constant prayer and living godly lives ourselves.

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.
(1 Timothy 2:1-4, NIV)

Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.
(1 Peter 2:12, NLT)

THIS is how we can change the world as Christians, shining ever brighter as the world seems to grow darker. Pointing fingers at other sinners while behaving sinfully ourselves only increases the darkness.

The horrifying fact is that we may not be able to save baby Charlie. We may not be able to save our own children. We surely haven't been able to save all of the innocents taken by ISIS or abortion. Yet, God can and is glorified when we respond to these unspeakable horrors by allowing the Holy Spirit to shine in and through us, cleansing hearts merely by witnessing our behavior.

Pray with me...

Lord, at what cost are we willing to cling to what we want in this world? At what cost are we willing to instead, surrender to You and allow You to redeem the awful tragedies of this broken world? We can control so very little. Yet, when we surrender to the Holy Spirit living in us, our emotions and responses to evil are controlled in reaction to life's horrors. Help us to yield to You and to walk in such a way that we bring You glory even in the darkest of places.

2 comments:

  1. Thank you. I needed this today. It is becoming overwhelming enough just to watch the news every day and read about the horrors happening to children while I have two children in despair, One who's life is hanging on every rock I climb and not stumble to get her home. Nine years of trauma after trauma. Thank you for this lifting spiritual post.

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