Mark G. Schroeder
People around the world were transfixed by the drama taking place in Thailand. A boys’ soccer team and their coach were trapped in a cave after monsoon rains filled the cave and cut off their route of escape. The rescue effort and the attention it received were a testimony to how much people value human lives.
A storm was brewing in the hills around Branson, Missouri, the vacation destination of thousands of people each year. The captain of a tour boat decided to head out onto the lake despite the dark clouds and lightning in the vicinity. Sadly, the winds and waves caused the boat to capsize, its fixed windows trapping people inside the sinking vessel. Seventeen people lost their lives, but what received the most attention was the fact that nine members of one family, most of them children, were among the victims. There was genuine grief over the loss of life, a grief more deeply felt because of the loss of young children.
Another school shooting is the focus of breaking news reports and round-the-clock coverage for days. The loss of young life shocks a nation, because all agree that human life is precious.
The desire to save and preserve human life is seen every day in the field of medicine, as new drugs, medical devices and technology, and treatment procedures are developed. Due to advances in medical research and the dedicated efforts of scientists and medical personnel, lives are saved.
Why do we care so much about the dramatic rescue in a cave on the other side of the world? Why do we grieve so sincerely when nine family members lose their lives in a boat accident or students are gunned down in their classrooms? Why do even unbelievers marvel with gratitude when even one life is preserved and extended by medical treatment? It’s because our society still claims to recognize the value of human life.
But then comes the tragic inconsistency. Many of the same people who held their breath for the rescue of the boys in the cave are people who have carried signs in demonstrations advocating a woman’s “right to choose.” Many who mourned the loss of children in a boating accident or in school shootings do not shed a single tear for the millions of children whose lives have been ended before they drew their first breath. In the same building where life-saving surgery is performed, “procedures” are taking place that abort unborn children. Even many Christian churches that claim to be advocates for the poor and the defenseless in our society have absolutely no problem defending a person’s right to end the life of the most defenseless of all.
Sad to say, legalized abortion has been with us for decades. We dare never allow ourselves to become numb to the number of lives lost and to reduce them to little more than statistics. Nor should we be content as Christians to do nothing. Rather, we need to pray for God’s help in preventing our attitudes and beliefs to be shaped by a society that sees some lives as more valuable than others. It goes without saying that we will want to do all we can to protect life by exercising our rights and responsibilities as citizens. But, most of all, we will recognize that people’s tragic inconsistency can be cured only as they are transformed by the powerful gospel of Jesus Christ. It’s that message that God has entrusted to us to proclaim in our congregations and to share individually with our friends and neighbors.
Mark Schroeder is president of WELS.
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Author: Mark G. Schroeder
Volume 105, Number 10
Issue: October 2018
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