"And the leaders and officials have led the way in this unfaithfulness." Ezra 9:2
Let’s face it, we are all a leader of someone.
Because each of us knows more or less than someone else, we will always be following and learning–or leading. Think about it. Ar you a parent? An older sibling? A friend helping a friend? Maybe you are the boss or supervisor at work, or the guy who’s been there a month and is showing a newer one the ropes.
We may not think of ourself as a leader, but we are. By default.
Someone will always be watching our life. Our decisions, words, and actions impact lives around us every day. Whether we like it or not, we are leading.
So, if that’s the case? Where are we leading?
There were some specific guidelines that God gave his people back in the day. The rules were intended to help and protect the people. Like speed limits or stop lights (ignored by many where I live) are meant to help the flow of traffic and keep drivers safe. But the problem was that the leaders in those days were leading the way into doing the very things that were hurting the people.
Hmm…sounds like our world today. Some things never change. The Bible says there is nothing new under the sun. So true.
We’ve witnessed leaders and officials living and promoting harmful practices. Sexual misconduct, abortion, lawless violence are only a few of the hurtful activities we’ve watched leaders participate in or promote. It might be easy to point our finger at them, and they should be called to account. But what about us? Where are we leading?
Whether it’s engaging in illegal practices or taking something from work, we are setting an example. Regardless if no one sees us, our behavior will eventually come out in how it affects our attitude and words. Even our tone of voice can impact those around us. Ever notice how when we’re feeling off, we can speak sharply to our spouse, children or co-worker and create a bad situation where none was there previously?
I love how the Bible shows us the answer to this dilemma.
In Ezra 10:1, it says that Ezra was praying, confessing, weeping, and laying on the ground before God because of the unfaithfulness of the people. The cool thing is that the people who saw this followed his lead. The men, women and children gathered around him and “wept bitterly too.” Ezra was a spiritual leader in his time, and people followed his example of repentance.
We are leaders.
Are we leading into unfaithfulness or repentance? And who are we leading there?
Let’s also remember to pray for those in authority. The people leading us need help and the wisdom of God. They need clear direction so they can lead into good, helpful, positive places that will not bring harm. They must consider their ways carefully because people are watching and following.
We all need to humbly consider who’s watching us. Are we leading into life? Or a path to destruction and death?
January has been the month of celebrating the importance of human life.
Various articles, memes, posts, and videos have shown that life matters. We’ve heard it from every angle. The over-arching theme is that human lives are significant.
All life should be equally important.
This is what the Bible says about life in Psalm 139:
“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. 14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. 15 My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.”
Given that, perhaps you can understand my passion when I read this article quoting our new president about life and abortion and detailing the censoring of said articles. (You can read it for yourself here.)
And when I saw the following quote by Rep. James E. Clyburn (D – S.C. I decided I had to speak out. It was time to tell part of my story.
“Today marks the 48th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which gave women the right to control their own bodies.”
Rep. James E. Clyburn
Right to control? How about the responsibility to control our bodies?
“…each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable…” I Thes. 4:4
Women, including myself, have the responsibility to control our bodies. Once we’ve made a choice (that’s the part of “pro-choice” I agree with) to engage in sexual relations, we have now relinquished our rights if that union has created a child. At that point, we have the responsibility to protect that child. Because that child has the right to be born and live the life ordained by their Creator.
As soon as an egg is fertilized by sperm, the gender of the child is decided.
Within three weeks, a baby’s heartbeat can be heard.
At six weeks, fingers and toes are developing.
After only two months, a baby’s form can be clearly seen – head, eyes, legs, arms, fingers, toes and internal organs are visible.
Some proponents of abortion argue that rape is a reason for choosing abortion, but even if the woman had no choice in the creation of the child, that fact does not remove the rights of that child to life.
Believe me, I understand the challenges unplanned pregnancy brings.
At twenty-five, I was going through a messy divorce because my husband decided he couldn’t give up an adulterous relationship. As a mother of two very young children, I chose, in that season of heartache and poor judgment, to become sexually involved with a dear friend. In spite of using necessary precautions, I found myself pregnant.
It wasn’t the first time.
I had married my husband five years earlier because I became pregnant after a night during which I was unable to prevent his advances. We married in spite of my miscarrying the baby. (I saw that baby who was only a few weeks old.) So when my friend insisted we marry when my divorce was final, I panicked. I wouldn’t be forced into another marriage. He was a kind man, but in a bad place both in his budding career and in his emotional state. My mindset wasn’t any better.
I didn’t see any way that as a single parent with no current source of income, I could carry and raise a new baby along with my two and four-year-old. But I had made a choice to become involved sexually, and that meant I had a responsibility to this child.
I prayed. God could take this little one home to heaven and “spare” me the challenge of carrying and raising him. Or, I could carry him despite the ramifications of what it would mean to my life, my future career, and my reputation. I could give him up. Somewhere was a family longing for a child who would be blessed by this baby.
In the end, I kept my baby boy. It’s a longer story than I have space for here, but I will never regret my decision to carry and keep my child. He is a grown, married man with two children of his own now. How much I could have missed!
I, as well as people I know, were told that the life carried was nothing more than a blob of tissue. I can imagine their heartache. Whether they knew what they were doing or didn’t, God as grace, forgiveness, comfort, and healing for all of us.
I know from my own experience as well as research that the “blob” statement isn’t true. It’s a lie that believing in live means we don’t have choices. We make a choice when we partner in creating a life by our sexual action. We can also choose to protect a life, rescue a life, or adopt a life.
But, we can’t make a true choice if we don’t have all the facts first.
Like these facts about trafficking, another “lives matter” issue:
300,000 – Children in the U.S., at least, prostituted annually (ndaa.org)
12 – The average age that a trafficked victim is first used for commercial sex (DHS)
3 – Florida’s rank in the number of calls received by the national human trafficking hotline (Polaris Project)
83% – Of sex trafficking victims identified in the United States were U.S. citizens according to a study of U.S. Department of Justice human trafficking task force cases. (Office of the Attorney General of Florida)
Less than 250 – Shelter beds for commercially sexually exploited children in the U.S. (ECPAT-USA)
Are you as shocked as I was when I read those statistics?
How can we be appalled at this and accept that 2,363 children die by abortion (2016 statistics) each day?
That is, if life matters.
Maybe we should think about what that means.
I believe all life matters. I believe what God says, that it begins at conception—for that is the way he planned it. And I also believe that we are spiritual as well at physical beings so as Dabney Hedegard states:
“…life doesn’t really begin until I meet my Maker.”
In the end, Jesus is the way, truth, and life. It is with him that we will spend eternity if we choose to believe him. Every sacrificed baby will be there in heaven with Jesus. Every rescued life has a chance to live now and forever. Our true life will begin when we meet Jesus in heaven.
God puts it this way:
“This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life…” Deuteronomy 30:19-20
On this last day of January, the life awareness month, will you choose life?
Today is also the last day to get my novel, Dangerous Ground, which deals with sex trafficking, for FREE as the Kindle version. But every copy, whether digital or print, that is purchased will be supporting organizations like A21 and Bridging Freedom that are fighting to end sex trafficking and give aid to victims. All the proceeds of the book will be donated so you can know that you are contributing to saving a life by buying a book for you and/or a friend. While today is the last day for FREE, the annual proceeds from Dangerous Ground will always be donated no matter when you purchase it. Please pass the word.