From “Pro-Life” to Life-Giving

“When you think of a pro-life person, what is the first thing that comes to your mind?”

This is the question I recently asked to a group of bright college and career singles in a local, Bible-believing church. Their energetic responses took more than 20 minutes to cover…and I didn’t hear a single positive attribute the entire time.

Their top ten:

  1. Angry
  2. Judgmental
  3. Intolerant
  4. Uncaring
  5. Not like Jesus
  6. Not understanding
  7. Crazy
  8. Dangerous/untrustworthy
  9. Unfriendly
  10. Broken-hearted

“Well, I’m pro-life,” I said, to audible gasps. After some genuine laughter that broke the tension, we entered a wonderful discussion about the ideal description of a pro-life person.

I can’t imagine a single pro-life person that would choose to embody the attributes in the above list: they are the polar opposites of who we want to be! But my little experiment—though anecdotal—demonstrates how we are perceived by the general populace.

We can certainly hold the media responsible for contributing to these negative perceptions—stereotypes, really. But if we’re being honest with ourselves (which should always be our goal), we need to answer for our own contributions to this sad reality.

Have I ever been uncaring or judgmental toward someone, leading them to write me off as untrustworthy? Ouch. (“Crazy” doesn’t bother me as much, since I’ve been seen that way my whole life.)

Yes, I’ve embodied some of the attributes on that list. But my daily prayer is that the Lord will make of me a man after His heart, which is full of love and life for all people. He has called me—and called you—to be proclaimers, and living examples, of His life to a confused and dying world.

Here are some things that we can do to become the life-givers that God longs for us to be, and to redefine what it means to be “pro-life”:

  • Ask Jesus to re-image us with His heart, His kindness, His sacrifice, and His mind…His very image!
  • Interact with other believers to understand their hesitation about being associated with the “pro-life” movement.
  • Demonstrate a passionate commitment to restore and defend people of all ages and stages: young or old, healthy or infirm, born or unborn.
  • Embody grace, treat others with dignity, and avoid condemnation.
  • Humbly repent of the ways that “pro-life” has not meant “life-giving.”
  • Confess and ask forgiveness of those you have offended.
  • Explore ways to reclaim and redefine not just the word “pro-life,” but the principle, which—as you know—is the entire reason for the incarnation of Jesus Christ! (“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10b.)

The Lord would love to use us as life-givers in the Church to a generation desperate for an authentic Christianity, that they too may carry the life-giving Gospel into their communities and into the nations.

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