New Year’s Resolution: Let’s Stand Up for Life
by Rector Jim Murphy
Most New Year’s resolutions are rarely given a chance to live. Many pledges for the new year are aborted or considered as rubbish before the end of the first month. Do you think that might be because most resolution lack substance? That they’re too squishy and ill-defined to inspire someone to pursue? If that’s the case, why don’t we make some resolutions that actually mean something. Pledges that are worth keeping, that are inspirational.
Consider the 19th century’s General George Custer, he was an inspirational character. It is an undeniable fact that he made a resolution to his country and fellow man to make his life count for something he believed in. During the summer of 1876 at Little Bighorn, SD Custer took a stand for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, for country and for honor, as he understood them and was commissioned to fight for them.
While we may debate the propriety of Custer’s mission and or tactics, what is not up to debate is that he took a firm stand. He was willing to die for something he believed in—life. So was God. In a cause more noble than any other—the cause of life and love—Jesus took his last stand for us. He stood, nailed to the cross at Calvary and gave up His life for us. The Author of life, the God who is Love took his stand as, “…he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15, NIV, emphasis added)
While the Lord of life took his stand at Calvary, rather than at Little Bighorn, his stand was far more momentous for us than Custer’s. His sacrifice provided life for us—real, abiding and eternal life—and calls us all into the life promotion business. We’re all called to protect and promote life. Not just the passing life of our mortal bodies but also and more importantly the true life that is available to all, life beyond human limitations, life eternal as the Father’s children.
Jesus gloriously took his stand for life. Custer bravely took his. What about us? How about you? Do you promote and protect life? Do you really sacrifice on behalf others, so as to “…love your neighbor as yourself?” (Leviticus 19:18, NIV). All are called to do so. Are you willing to let personal convenience or preference die so that others might live?
“Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” is likely the best known phrase of the Declaration of Independence. Our nation’s founders considered life—a good, free life—to be the starting point, a bedrock principle for a country and people called to promote life. For everyone from the young lives in the womb to the mature lives of the elderly.
It is a conundrum then that some groups who say that they support life consistently commit violent acts that minimize and or take away life. Anti-free speech movements, the pro-choice crowd, militant rights grievance groups, and abortionists, to name a few, claim that they stand squarely on the side of life. However, as actions speak louder than words, often times they violently and grossly diminish the lives of the many while they support only the small slices of life that measure up to their convenience, preference or ideology. That’s not standing for life, it’s a hypocritical stand against life, a demonstration on behalf of what the late Pope John Paul II called “the culture of death.”
This “culture of death” is all around us. Watch the news on any given night, violence and death surround us. But we shouldn’t be surprised in this “culture of death.” Indeed, we should probably expect more. We murder children by the millions. We euthanize those who become inconvenient. We enthusiastically support a right to suicide. We celebrate violence in many forms of the media. We glorify death in video games. And the list could go on. Why should it surprise us when our children show so little regard for life? We teach them to disdain it! Whatever happened to, “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness?”
Since all life comes from and belongs to God, and furthermore, since he sacrificed his life that we may live—and in so doing called us all to sacrificially promote life—should we not all at least take an un-hypocritical stand for life? Custer did. Jesus did. We’re all supposed to.
The future and life lie before us. Let us make a new year’s resolution with real substance, let’s resolve to take a stand for life. A stand to maximally promote human life in here and now and eternally, or at least a stand to lovingly expose the hypocrisy of those who say they support human life while working to minimize it.
This article was originally published in The Highlander, January 2018.