“Whoever sheds the blood of man,by man shall his blood be shed, for God made man in his own image.” Genesis 9:6
Christian evangelicals today have been very concerned about life issues. They should be concerned, especially those living in NC. In 2013, the North Carolina State Center for Health Statistics stated that 19,818 abortions occurred among residents in NC. Although that is down, it means that people have a 1 in 6 chance of being born in the state of NC. In the same year of statistics, Guilford County was fifth in rank for abortions in the state, at a rate of 7.5%. Murder is a great concern, too. While the national murder rate has gone down overall in recent years, the murder rate in the southern region of the US remains the highest in the country. We tend to think of murder as being a problem of the major cities like Chicago. But our region as a whole still tends to have the highest rates, averaging about 5.9%, according to the FBI Uniform Crime Report, 2015. Suicide is another life issue that needs attention. The New York Times reported in April 2016 that the suicide rate in the US has risen to a 30-year high, the highest increases being among middle-aged women. Also, more and more states are legalizing physician-assisted suicide for terminally ill patients. And what about violent wars and terrorism occurring across the world? It’s astounding that the 21st century is already shaping up to be more bloody than the 20th century, which is considered by many to be the bloodiest century in history.
We are becoming desensitized to murder violence, too. According to Nielsen Ratings, the average number of television murders that will be seen by a child by the time they complete elementary school is 8,000. According to the American Psychological Association, this viewing of television violence has become a main public health concern. What about opinions towards abortion? Public support for abortion has gone down in recent years, but remains close to 50%. It depends on what one asks. The highest support for abortion is that it remain legal for only certain cases, such as for rape or endangerment to the life of the mother, both very rare cases.
With everything going on, it’s hard for me to see that God would be pleased with us when it comes to issues of life. God loves life. He is the life-giver. His commands in Genesis 1, I think, show his love for life – “Let the seas swarm with living creatures”; “Let the birds fly across the heavens”: “Let the earth bring forth living creatures of every kind”; and “Let us make man in our image and our likeness”. He told the creatures “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth.” God’s heart was broken when sin occurred, especially after Cain murdered Abel. Sin and violence increased so much that he even became sorry he made man. He brought the Great Flood to wipe out all that had been made, saving only Noah, his family, and certain pairs of animals. He made a promise to mankind after those days that he would not destroy the world in this way again, but warned of his concern for life. Any man killed with malice, whether by beast or man, would require the life of the one who killed. It was one of the first statements of justice in the Bible, and it was in defense of life. There had been so much death and violence before the Flood that God thought it necessary to make this strong statement of warning. Life is important to God, and in particular human life.
As Christian believers, we must be radically for life. This goes beyond abortion, though heinous because it is the destruction of innocent, defenseless life. We should uphold that all people are valued by God, and that all deserve life simply because God made that life. We need to be defenders of the unborn, peacemakers in the midst of violence, and encouragers to those who are contemplating ending their lives. This is I believe why Jesus said to us, “You are the salt of the earth”. Salt is supposed to preserve certain foods, as well as give flavor. We must seek to preserve life wherever we can.