Saturday, January 22, 2011

How Can We Bring an End to This Slaughter of the Innocents?

Recently, New York City clergy gathered to address 90,000 deaths that happen there each year, deaths that go unnoticed. That's the number of pregnancies ended by abortion in New York each year, a figure that represents 40% of all pregnancies in the city annually!

The figure in the United States is about half that, but still haunting at 22%!

Increasingly, ours is a violent society that believes it can simply kill off its problems. Abortion is one element of our violent culture.

So too are our popular video games, music, and films which glorify bloodshed, nihilism, and misogyny.

So too are our indifference to the hurts of others and to the agony of gun violence.

 So too, are the violence of a crass culture that urges us to depersonalize those with whom we disagree and that lionizes reality show figures whose only virtues appear to be narcissism and a willingness to mistreat anyone inconvenient to their personal aims.

In the Old Testament, God gave an inviolable and permanent commandment for human beings, literally, "You shall not murder," the Fifth Commandment. The New Testament records that when God came into the world in the person of Jesus Christ, He cited that commandment, then explained its inner meaning and purpose:
“You have heard that it was said to those of ancient times, ‘You shall not murder’; and ‘whoever murders shall be liable to judgment.’ But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire." (Matthew 5:21-22)
The Bible understands that there may be times when killing is a necessary and horrible option in human interaction, as when defending one's self or loved ones. But murder, the willful ending of another person's life simply because that person's continued existence doesn't suit us, is indefensible. Jesus says that we murder others when we insult or hurt them, objectifying them, robbing them of their humanity.

God takes our humanity very seriously. It's time we did too!

I'm not addressing abortion or our culture of violence as political issues. Although I think that the ruling in Roe v. Wade was unconscionable and ought to be overturned, for example, overturning it won't change a culture that finds the disposal of unborn fetuses acceptable.

The American culture of violence presents us with profound moral and spiritual issues. We resort to violence to impose our own wills on others, to be in control, to be gods.

But there is only one God, revealed as the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. He came to earth in the person of Jesus Christ and He calls us (commands us) to repent for our sins and to trust in Him alone, to love God completely, and to love others as we love ourselves.

Surrendering to Christ as our God will bring the power of God into our lives so that we can think and act more creatively than we do when we resort to violence to solve our problems.

How can this slaughter of the innocents end?

It will not happen with new laws, constitutional amendments, or court rulings, laudable and appropriate as any of those may be.

The end of the slaughter of the innocents will only begin when we hit our knees, repenting of our sins and asking Jesus Christ to make us new from the inside out. It will only begin when we surrender all to the One who formed as in our mothers' wombs and aims to have us live in a fellowship of love with God and others for all eternity.

In Christ, we can be forgiven of our sins and we can be made new. Turn to Him and live. Then, share this new life with others. Please.

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