“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)
Humility. It doesn’t come naturally to any of us, but it’s a necessary prerequisite for peace (Matthew 11:29), blessing (1 Peter 3:8), grace (1 Peter 5:5-6), God’s guidance (Psalm 25:9), and revival (2 Chronicles 7:14). Though humans can never fully understand the thoughts and ways of God, we are called to walk in this challenging place of submission to Him. It is in this place, if we can learn to abide there, that we can truly be like Jesus who was the perfect example of humility.
In order to walk humbly with our God (Micah 6:8) as we carry out our pro-life work, we must consider the other two goals in this verse—to act justly and love mercy—in the context of the larger spiritual battle. In other words, we can’t just fight to end legal abortion (act justly) and make it unthinkable (love mercy), we must recognize abortion as a symptom of a much larger sickness in our culture; a sickness that has resulted from multiple, sustained attacks on the Image of God. When we become aware of this larger context, our work feels overwhelming and sometimes, even futile. But it is precisely this sobering recognition that brings humility, along with a deeper understanding of what it actually means to be made in the image of God.
The Imago Dei
Separate from God’s other creations in the heavens and on Earth, only humans bear God’s image. This scriptural truth is revealed in Genesis 1:27-28, also known as the doctrine of Imago Dei (Latin for Image of God). Not only does this doctrine speak of humans’ dominion over God’s other creations and His intention for us to fill the earth with other humans, it also identifies the five elements of God’s beautiful design for us: Life, marriage, gender, family, and sexuality.
What we are witnessing everywhere in our culture today is a direct assault on the Imago Dei—on God’s foundational design elements for humankind.
The rejection the Imago Dei, and thus the devaluation of human life, has manifested in America in many forms, including abortion, assisted suicide, embryonic research, broken families, homosexuality, gender dysphoria, pornography, and human trafficking. As Christians, we must understand the magnitude of the Enemy’s attack on this single target. To stand against abortion and all other design-destroying practices, and to truly change hearts and minds, we must never lose sight of the spiritual battle. It is this broader, deeper perspective that humbles us as we defend human life and human dignity in the 21st century.
In a practical sense, this big-picture perspective is the “why” behind our pro-life activism and outreach, but it also must be the “how.” How should we treat those on the other side of this epic battle who are directly involved in the destruction of our fellow image-bearers? How should treat those in the Church who are disengaged, apathetic, or even complicit? How must we go about the Father’s business—in humble submission as Jesus did, or in judgmental defiance as our emotions dictate?
Our fellow image-bearers
All humans are made in the image of God and therefore, have intrinsic value. All humans are targets of the Enemy, and all of us succumb to temptation. All humans are children of God. Yes, all of us—even those who deny His existence and actively work against His design. A person’s relationship with their Father in heaven, even when it’s hostile or non-existent, doesn’t change their spiritual DNA, no matter what box we put them in or which label we (or they) apply.
Each person must make an intentional choice in humility to accept or reject what Jesus did on the Cross, and that choice has an eternal impact. But that decision will never change Who created that person or how radically He loves them. This truth is fundamental to our pro-life work, and it’s absolutely critical in engaging with other humans in a post-modern culture full of violence, extreme division, and moral depravity.
When we understand the heart of the Father for all His children, and when we reject what we feel so we can accept what He sees, we unleash the transformational power of forgiveness and ultimately, freedom from the bondage of sin. Isn’t that our end goal? It’s certainly God’s. Seeing people through His eyes is an intentional choice that each of us can only make if we’re walking with Him in humility—the necessary prerequisite for peace, blessing, grace, God’s guidance, and revival.
The next and final post in The Way Forward series will consider some of the questions that spring forth from this big-picture perspective: Where do we go from here? What must we change, and where do we start?
Get caught up
- Post 1: The Awakening reveals how the battle for life is quickly changing and how some in the Church are beginning to rise up.
- Post 2: Our Call to Act Justly examines the biblical mandate to defend human life in both politics and front-line ministry and challenges us to consider some misalignments.
- Post 3: Our Call to Love Mercy reminds us that it was the compassion of the early Christians that radically changed the Pagan culture, despite the unjust laws, and encourages us to move forward in this way once again.