Another October has come around, and I wonder how much we've changed since last year's "Respect Life Month." Have we grown in our respect for life? Are we treating each other with the dignity and reverence that we all deserve? As I look at the climate that surrounds us, I think we need to step up our game and consistently respect life.
It's not enough to say "I'm strongly opposed to abortion" while you attack the dignity and personhood of others.
It's not enough to identify as "pro-life" while thinking that really, only some people should live.
It's not enough to proudly participate in "pro-life" events while engaging in activities that demean ourselves and rip apart our relationships.
Let's step away from internet arguments and turn to prayer. Let's build relationships with the people God has placed in our communities. Let's honor and respect all people, including those we disagree with. Perhaps we've had a rocky start to "Respect Life Month," but we can still pull ourselves together and ask God to work in our lives and the lives of others.
Recently, I was praying with Jas 1:19-27 and I was particularly struck by the first of those verses: "Know this, my dear brothers: everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." There have been numerous times when I've justified behavior with Well, reacting strongly and quickly is part of my personality-it's who I am, so it's okay! or This is RIGHTEOUS ANGER, so clearly whatever I say or type right now is fine. Yet, as I read and re-read this passage, one word jumped out at me: Everyone. Not, "Some people should be quick to hear, slow to speak," but "everyone should be quick to hear, slow to speak."
We need to call others out when they do horrible things. However, sitting behind our screens as we rage-type and attack the dignity of the person who did horrible things is not the answer. We can (and should) call others to greater holiness, and this involves encouraging them to greater charity. It is unacceptable when people degrade others and do not respect their dignity and value. It is particularly horrific when a leader in the pro-life movement is publicly tearing down the dignity of another person. In times like this-and in all times, really-we need to step back for a moment. Prayerfully re-read those verses from James.
Please, respect life-all life.