“When you go biblical, it polarizes both sides.”
Our president, Kurt Dillinger, recently shared this statement in a staff meeting – our first in the office since the COVID-19 crisis began. As we consider everything that has happened in 2020, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Our natural inclination is to separate ourselves from the world and its uncertainty and chaos. As Christians, however, we recognize that God often calls us to do the opposite. Where others ignore or flee, we are called to rescue and heal like the Good Samaritan. We are called to emulate Christ, who stooped down and entered our world, making himself nothing and taking the very nature of a servant (Philippians 2:7).
If we are to reach a hurting world, however we must have a worldview that espouses a right view of God and a right view of other people. When you begin to look at the problems and divisions in the world, you’ll quickly realize that most stem from a corruption of these two views. And since the ways that Christians view the world is so diverse, it results in division on issues such as poverty, human trafficking, marriage, individual rights, sexuality, racism, wealth, the environment, and abortion.
LIFE International exists to address this worldview problem by “making known the Father’s heart for life.” We teach others who our Heavenly Father is and how he views humanity. We believe that this – knowing his heart – is crucial to bridging divides and addressing evils in our world. We proclaim the biblical truth that our value to God remains the same no matter what differences there are among us in sex, age, skin color, ethnic background, caste or tribe, religion, language, nationality, level of intelligence, social status, class, or any other factor. All human life is made in the image of God and therefore must be respected, treated with dignity, protected, preserved, nurtured, and developed – not disrespected, disregarded, devalued, cast aside, diminished, discarded, or killed.
As part of our training, we explore five ways that Scripture affirms the worth of human life:
- All human life is valuable because God created mankind in His image. (Genesis 1:27)
- All human life is valuable because God declared mankind to be very good. (Genesis 1:31a)
- All human life is valuable because God prohibits and detests the taking of human life. (Exodus 20:13, Proverbs 6:17)
- All human life is valuable because God creates every life. (Psalm 139:13–14)
- All human life is valuable because God knew us from before we were born, was intentional about our creation, and has a purpose for our lives. (Psalm 139:15-16, Jeremiah 1:5, Acts 17:26)
In every generation, there are ways this message is corrupted and life is devalued. Throughout history, different groups have justified slavery, murder, genocide, and oppression by seeing another group as “less than” or “subhuman.” The packaging of these beliefs always differs, but the core rhetoric is nearly always the same.
As we see new conversations about the value of life emerge in 2020, whether they be around illness and pandemic, racial discrimination, or government authority, a biblical paradigm is essential for us now. As believers, we must heed C.S. Lewis’ caution about errors in thinking, that our Enemy often sends into the world in pairs. As he writes, “We have to keep our eyes on the goal and go straight through between both errors.”
When faced with the devaluation of life, if we are rooted in Scripture, we will view it and respond to it biblically. Often this will mean walking through a polarized cultural minefield, where we are pressured to take one side or the other. But a biblical worldview requires us to affirm what Scripture says, even if it alienates us from friends and family. We need to be very cautious about attaching the Word of God to any movement, even if it’s an unpopular position to take. No matter what twists and turns our current cultural rhetoric may take, God’s Word cuts straight through history like an arrow.
Kurt ended our staff meeting with a similar reminder. He asked, “How do you get to the true core of what Scripture says on these matters? We want to be on this journey together and to do this well. We want the Lord Jesus to say to us, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant.’”
By rooting ourselves in a Scriptural understanding of God and others, we will be well prepared to address the greatest needs and problems in our world, no matter what 2020 or any other year may throw our way.