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FIRST-PERSON: The sanctity of life from conception to final breath


On Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, we mourn for the preborn who have been lost to abortion and affirm a commitment to the dignity of every life — from conception to their last days. What is the sanctity of life? From a biblical perspective, “sanctity” describes something that is holy or sacred. All life is sacred because it is set apart by God.

The Lord called me before I was born. He named me while I was in my mother’s womb. Isaiah 49:1 (CSB)

I will be the same until your old age, and I will bear you up when you turn gray. I have made you, and I will carry you; I will bear and rescue you. Isaiah 46:4 (CSB)

As Christians, we have the responsibility to preserve, defend and honor the sanctity of life — to uphold protection from the violation and assault of abortion. From conception to final breath, all life ordained by God and made in the image of God deserves recognition and safeguarding.

President Ronald Reagan designated Sanctity of Human Life Sunday a national day in 1984, boldly declaring that “To diminish the value of one category of human life is to diminish us all” in Proclamation 5147. This year, believers across our nation will recognize this day on Sunday, Jan. 21.

The compelling worth of life

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” Genesis 1:26 (CSB)

All people — born or unborn, young or old, weak or strong — have value and worth because we are image bearers of God. A life is no less valuable in the womb and no less significant in any other stage of life. The same is true for elders and widows — the same God-given value endures from conception to the last breath of our preordained days.

GuideStone advocates for the sanctity of life through every season

At GuideStone, we stand for the rights of the most vulnerable — whether it be a hurting mother, a newly conceived child or the elderly and widows in need. Through legislative action, health plan offerings, volunteer work and the honoring of retired pastors and widows through Mission:Dignity, we center our purpose around the sanctity of life.

  • Conception and birth: With an alarming abortion ratio of 204 abortions per 1,000 live births reported in the Center for Disease Control’s latest Abortion Surveillance report, more than 625,000 lives were tragically ended in one year alone. Divinely crafted lungs were prevented a single breath. Dignity and worth were denied for these defenseless souls.

Sadly, medication abortion accounted for 53 percent of abortions in 2020. We restrict our health plans from contributing to this heartbreaking loss of life. GuideStone has actively sought legislative and legal relief from being required to cover abortifacients and other abortion-causing drugs and devices in our medical plans because we believe in the sanctity of every life.

For it was you who created my inward parts; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. Psalm 139:13 (CSB)

To care for mothers and their babies, our health plans cover prenatal care, birth and postpartum care. Plus, our GuideStone Gives program sets aside time for GuideStone employees to volunteer at ministries such as pregnancy centers to help the unborn and their mothers during and after pregnancy. From our plan to our advocating within the law, from our employees to our members, we stand for those not yet with voice.

  • Childhood, adolescence and adulthood: Health plans and disability insurance provide life-affirming care in times of illness or accident for people in these life stages. We go a step further by providing care with ethical options that don’t compromise biblical values. We empower servants of Christ and their children to lead resilient lives with health plans that align with God’s design for life, value access to Christian mental health providers and provide tools to be good stewards of health.

GuideStone also promotes the sanctity of life with impact investing, which allows Christians to invest in organizations that seek to protect life, promote human dignity, further the spreading of the Gospel and enhance the stewardship of God’s creation. Not only do we seek to effect real change in the world for God’s glory and the benefit of those he created, but we also strive to strengthen the financial security of those who serve the Lord.

  • Retirement: Why is the sanctity of life important to recognize throughout retirement years? Because these faithful servants deserve dignity. When those who have given their lives in service to the church reach retirement age, some of these ministers, workers and widows find themselves with insufficient income to meet their daily needs. Mission:Dignity, the heartbeat of GuideStone’s ministry since 1918, steps in to help more than 2,800 individuals every year with extra money needed for housing, food and medications. This helps ensure well-deserved dignity, independence and, often, the ability to continue serving the Lord.

Pure and undefiled religion before God the Father is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself unstained from the world. James 1:17 (CSB)

Providing options for medical care also attests to the intrinsic value of retirement-aged individuals. GuideStone’s Medicare-coordinating plans help provide coverage for prescription medications and medical care not covered by Medicare.

  • Final Days: Even in our last breath, every life has God-given worth. When the Lord calls someone home, life and accident insurance policies provide for their loved ones, which affirms their value as well. It can help provide a financial safety net for a family, especially during someone’s most crucial income-earning years.

The sanctity of life is foundational to our values

Our vision is that every servant of Christ finishes well. This depends on all children having the opportunity to be born so they can serve Christ until He alone calls them home. The sanctity of life is central to all we do at GuideStone, with values anchored in integrity, heart and skill.

Chu Soh is Chief Operating Officer of GuideStone

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  • Chu Soh