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FIRST-PERSON: 3 questions in the news

MELISSA, Texas (BP)–Three of life’s most important questions, ones that we all must deal with, have been in the news of recent:

— President George W. Bush has signed into law a ban on partial-birth abortion, a horrific procedure in which a healthy fetus is partially delivered, feet first, from the mother and then killed by placing scissors into the baby’s skull. As President Bush signed this bill, one that was twice vetoed by former President Bill Clinton, he noted that the “right to life cannot be granted or denied by government, because it does not come from government. It comes from the Creator of life.”

— Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida ordered that doctors reinsert the feeding tube which had kept Terri Schiavo alive for 13 years. For the past six years, Schiavo’s husband has been trying to have the feeding tube removed so that Terri would die, an act he believes to be merciful. Terri’s parents, wanting to keep their daughter alive, have continually fought the tube’s removal. In October, a court in Florida ordered the feeding tube removed, but after several days of debate, the Florida legislature gave Gov. Bush the authority to order the feeding of Terri to resume.

— And the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Judge Roy Moore, the chief justice of Alabama, over a display of Ten Commandments in the state’s top courthouse. Judge Moore had hoped to appeal the decision of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court, but the high court’s decision not to hear the case upholds the decision of the lower court to ban the monument.

These three news stories bring to mind three questions fundamental to the Christian life – and fundamental to human life:

When does life begin?

When does it end?

What are we to do in between?

For those who believe that God is the Creator and that all life is a gift from Him, then partial-birth abortion, along with all other forms of infanticide, is considered murder and should never be allowed by civilized peoples. God, as the Creator, begins human life at conception and the human race is charged with protecting those who cannot protect themselves, the most obvious example of whom are the unborn. Therefore, any procedure that intentionally inflicts tremendous pain for the sole purpose of killing an innocent baby should have never been created. Since it was, we must be very grateful that it is now illegal, while continuing to pray that this legislative ban will not be overturned by the liberal judges in our nation’s court system.

For similar reasons, the Bible teaches that God not only is the One who begins life, He also is the one responsible for ending it. We believe in a sovereign God who loves His children and has a perfect, divine plan for their lives. Therefore, we believe that the One who begins life is the One who should determine when it should come to a close, not doctors or family members or legislative bodies. We believe life ends when God calls a person home, when their soul leaves their body and they face the judgment of their Creator. Those who know Christ as Savior are guaranteed eternity in a real place called heaven and those who forsake Jesus Christ are guaranteed eternity apart from God in a real place called hell.

I know this approach sounds overly simplistic when faced with impossibly difficult situations, like the one faced by Terri Schiavo’s family. I also know that God is continuously attuned to the needs of His children, even in the darkest of days. In those times, when answers seem so distant, one’s faith and dependence upon prayer become so important to one’s spiritual survival. Our faith grows strongest in those times facing the danger of the unknown, when all other options have been tried and the only one left is dependence upon the Heavenly Father.

During the span of years between birth and death, what are Christians called to do? What should be our focus? How should our precious commodities of time and energy be spent? In Matthew 22, God’s Word calls us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” If I am to spend my life loving God, then one of my greatest priorities will be living a life that honors His name and His character. There is no better set of guidelines for living a God-honoring life than the Ten Commandments.

Most of us would agree that we ought to live by the guidelines of the Ten Commandments, teaching moral values to our children and fellow believers. Few would argue with Judge Moore’s right to live by the Ten Commandments, but some argue that he does not have the right to express those values publicly. As Christians, we must remember that God not only asks us to live a Christ-honoring life, but He also asks us to share that life with others, proclaiming publicly our faith and trust in the Savior.

If God gives life and God chooses when life ends, then the time in between should be spent living for His glory and bringing others to know Him. I appreciate Judge Moore’s courage to stand for his beliefs and hope that I have similar courage to stand for biblical truths in the face of pressure from those who try to silence the Christian community by erroneously stating that religion is a private matter never to be discussed in the public arena. One’s religious views are indeed deeply personal but they are not designed to be private, nor should that privacy be dictated by a governmental decree.

So, do you know the One who created life? Have you settled your destination when life ends? What are you doing now to serve Him in those years in between? Does anyone know you profess faith in the One who gives life, the One who has power over death, the One who guides us while we live?
Trey Graham, senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Melissa, Texas, is a speaker, columnist, author of “Lessons for the Journey” (America House, 2001), and director of Faith Walk Ministries (www.faithwalkministries.com).

    About the Author

  • Trey Graham