Err on the side of life, and love

I am pro-life. This is not a simple and pat statement, but one that I have contemplated and thought about, reflected upon, prayed about and researched for a number of years.

I want to be open to all sides of the debate about humanity, and so I have read many publications from both similar and opposing viewpoints. I have prayed to God for understanding on opposing views, but have openly and honestly ended up back where I began in this process during my adolescence and formative years in the mid 1990s. I was then, and still remain to this day — stridently pro-life.

Now, before too many Christians go applauding me for this stance, I will mention that there are many things that we will probably disagree on in the pro-life debate. You see, I believe that being pro-life equates to being pro-life in all circumstances, not only in the realm of abortion. I have admittedly been influenced by my Anabaptist roots that stress a non-violent solution to our problems. And although my heart doesn’t always align with this stance, I would allow that nothing about the life of Christ leads me to believe that he would support war or violence to solve human conflict – see Matthew 5-7. I also struggle in convincing myself that some of the evil people living on death row deserve to live after the heinous crimes they have committed, but I believe that if I’m pro-life, then I must be committed to pro-life in all circumstances.

You see, either life inherently has value, or it doesn’t.

I understand that my stances on this issue cross many political and religious lines and ideologies, but I quite simply don’t care about that. I care about life. I care about the unborn baby in the womb from the moment of conception, and I care about the murderer on death row. Maybe you’re thinking to yourself that one of them had a choice in the decisions they made, and one has not — and you would be correct.

I know that I also have made some very poor choices in my life; thank God I had the opportunity to repent of my sin and choose a new way forward in my life. I guess I’m simply trying to afford others the opportunity that God granted me through his Son, Jesus Christ.

But Scott, what about cases of rape or incest? Surely the mother shouldn’t have to endure such a pregnancy after the tragedy and crime that was committed on her. Admittedly, I cannot imagine the difficulty in navigating a situation such as this, but I still remain pro-life. The child, even in the case of an egregious crime, didn’t choose to be conceived – but he or she was nonetheless. Does that child then lose his or her inherent worth as a person? I don’t think so.

Psalms 139 states the following: “For you created me in my inmost being, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.”

God created you, loves you and has a plan for your life.

There are no simple black-and-white answers when much of our lives are lived in the gray areas – I get it. But if I’m going to err, I’m going to err on the side of life. I’m going to err on the side of love. I’m going to err on the side of grace. The reason? That’s what God did for me in my sinfulness through the sacrifice of His Son.

My grandfather used to state repeatedly in his life on earth these words: “There but for the grace of God go I.”

When we realize the depth of sin and depravity in our own lives and that God has provided a way out, how can we not afford that grace to others?

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Rev. Tim Boger of Big Woods Bible Church, Castanea.