But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. I Peter 3:13-16
I recently read a post on social media that caught my attention. It wasn’t aimed at me personally, but I found myself reacting, because in referring to “people like you,” I knew I probably qualified as one of “those people.”
What was the massive offense “people like me” do that makes us “what’s wrong with America”?
We believe in the right to life.
I have had three babies of my own, and five grandchildren I have held in my arms, not to mention all the newborns of friends and couples in our church where I serve in the nursery on occasion. These precious little people are to me a picture of pure innocence, created in the image of God. These little ones are utterly helpless, dependent on us older, less innocent people to provide for, protect, and defend them – a duty I take very seriously. To harm one of these is to attack the purest image of God, and I make no apologies for holding that belief.
But apparently because I value the sanctity of human life at its earliest stages, it I assumed that I have no concern for children who have already been born. Many of these are abused, have special needs, or live in poverty, and it is assumed that “people like me” don’t care about those children.
…Really? Is there a legal limit to one’s capacity to care, and have I somehow used up all mine on the preborn?
Just FYI, Mister, I have volunteered my time with several ministries that care for kids in the inner city, as well as at a children’s hospital. I’ve helped my fellow Christians feed hungry children (and their impoverished parents) all over the world. I have sponsored needy children for decades, and at the present time I have four of them who consider me “mummy.” Most of the people I know who are pro-life have done similar things. (How many children do you support, Sir?)
Apparently we are also assumed guilty of other crimes, such as dumping toxic waste into the oceans. How defending the unborn precludes caring for the environment is beyond me, but there are apparently those who have come to that conclusion. As I wrote in a former blog about strengthening our immune systems vs. hand washing – “Can’t we do both?” Sir, why do you see caring about society’s most helpless and caring for their environment as mutually exclusive convictions?
Just so you know, I recycle everything from plastic, to clothes, to water. (Yes, I look pretty silly with my bucket, flushing the toilet with yesterday’s bath water, but hey, no one’s watching…) I have been married to someone with a degree in environmental engineering for nearly five decades, and before he retired, when I was supportive of him, I was being supportive of what he was doing to make the world a cleaner, better place.
I guess my chief question for this individual who has so much contempt for “people like me” is this:
Just what exactly were you hoping to accomplish with such a post? What kind of response do you expect to receive from such a venomous attack on so many people, most of whom you have never met? Is this your idea of making the world better? Do we need more hostility, more bigotry, more polarization?
(Could it be – just maybe – that it’s your kind of attitude that is what’s wrong with America?)
My final FYI to you, Sir:
As much as you may hate me and people like me, I want you to know, I do not hate you. You are clearly an unhappy person, and I can’t help wondering what it is that you are really so angry about.
I wonder, because on past occasions I’ve lashed out at people who had nothing to do with my real struggles. But I found Someone who understands and who gave Himself to die for all my sins, flaws, and mistakes. The incredible sacrifice Jesus made to save me and give me eternal life makes me willing to do whatever He asks of me. And what He asks of me is this:
“Love God. Love people – not just your friends and neighbors, but also the poor, the weak, the helpless, and [the most amazing command of all] love your enemies.”
You may consider me your enemy, but I do not hate you. I have been commanded to love you by Him who IS love. I believe if everyone who claims the name of Jesus would do this, we could be what’s right in America. We could fulfill God’s Word that says,
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
Prayer: Lord God, there are those who make assumptions about us, and we are tempted to react in anger. Help us to do better. Rather than argue, let our lives, lived for You, speak volumes, so that those who criticize us may not only be ashamed of their slander, but that they might want to put down their rocks and join us in serving You. In Jesus’ name, Amen