Wednesday, August 10, 2022

The life they will never get to lead. . .

A while back on GetReligion was a story about a story of a Texas teenage girl who gave birth to twins.  At 17, the apparently got pregnant on the first or second date, ignored the warning sign of missed periods, and ended up unable to terminate her pregnancy due to the Texas abortion law.   In the article it said she loved her babies but grieved the life she will now never get to lead -- the carefree life of a teenager without children.  GetReligion pointed out that there was no mention of the choice made to have sex in the first place, to have sex without contraception, or to ignore the signs of pregnancy along the way -- only the choice of Texas to deprive this girl of her right to kill the children in her womb and how that right was taken from her and will be taken away from many others if Roe is overturned.

The poignant line was about the life she will never get to lead because it was stolen from her by the anti-abortion forces.  That line has become the byword of our modern era.  We have become a culture of victims who take and are not forced to take responsibility for our choices.  In addition we do not  dare to admit or acknowledge that this life is not one of justice or fairness or equity that can be enforced with laws that require us to have second chances to have a new hand of cards dealt to us when we do not like the cards we are holding.  It is a childish -- almost infantile -- perspective on life, liberty, and law.  But it is increasingly the way we as a society look at things.

Many churches have given into this view of things.  They have taken up the cause of rights owed and due, of actions devoid of consequences, and of second chances to change your mind.  Whether sex or gender, marriage or divorce, children or not, education or career, we are a people who not only desire but demand the freedom to live aloof from having to accept any real consequences for our choices.  We also insist that we be allowed as many choices as we want along the way -- but choices empty of responsibility and accountability.  We have a life we believe we are owed or deserve and anything that impedes that life and the happiness we attach to it must be subject to change.

In another generation the pregnant teen's story would not have been told so sympathetically but today such a story is a poster child for the way we look at things.  There were choices made all along the way -- to have sex, to have sex without contraception -- but the expectation was that there was always a do over that would erase the unpleasant and inconvenient consequences of those choices.  Is it any different for any other aspect of our lives?  We have taken up the mantra of the life we deserve or are owed in so many different settings and we have taken up shaping the law to fit this slogan of opportunity without responsibility, choice without accountability, and happiness at any and all cost.  In the meantime, we have treated the child in the womb as if the child were nothing but cells to be trashed when we deem the child inconvenient, unwelcome, a burden too great, or an impediment to our plans.  But that is the way we treat marriage and parenthood in general, the way we approach work and labor, and the way we look to and look at the government.

Quite apart from a philosophical difference, this view is incompatible with Christianity.  It is alien to the Scriptures and renders Christ the unwitting fool for His suffering on behalf of a people who do not think their wrongs are sin, that sin in need of no Savior, and their death anything but the natural point in a great circle of life.  Is it no wonder that Christianity is having a rough go of it today.  Either we define sin out of the equation, ignore repentance, and turn the Messiah into a therapist, life-coach, inspirational speaker, or motivator, or we face the world with the Law no one acknowledges and the Savior no one thinks they need. 

All of this is because we have come to believe that we have a life we are owed, a life we had planned and laid out, and a life to pursue happiness, self-expression, and freedom from any consequences to the choices we make.  How do you make sense of this world and tailor your Gospel to it?  You don't.  You simply preach Christ and Him crucified and leave the rest to the Spirit.  You do not have to rescue teen-aged boys and girls from the ordinary outcome of their actions or any one else for that matter.  For what it is worth, forgiveness from God does not insulate us from the consequences or outcomes of the sinful choices we make -- at least for this life.  Our salvation lies not in the hope and promise of a today without trouble but an eternal tomorrow lived out within the context this present moment -- the already but not yet tension that belongs to those in but not of the world.

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