I’m off to jury duty this morning, my first time ever! I’ve been wanting to get summoned for so long, I began to wonder if my name had gotten lost somehow. As I prepare to experience this civic duty, which I understand may result in my sitting and waiting and being dismissed for a multitude of reasons, I am glad to finally experience it anyway. And it’s getting me thinking too, about the jury of my peers, you the readers.
As Sanctity of Human Life Sunday on January 22 approaches, I’m beginning to ponder the purpose of this day. President Ronald Reagan proclaimed this day back in January of 1984 as a day to reflect. Here are a few words from his proclamation,
We have been given the precious gift of human life, made more precious still by our births in or pilgrimages to a land of freedom. It is fitting, then, on the anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade that struck down State anti-abortion laws, that we reflect anew on these blessings, and on our corresponding responsibility to guard with care the lives and freedoms of even the weakest of our fellow human beings.
In preparing my own heart for this day, I instantly reflect on the babies, over 56 million who have been aborted since this decision in 1973. But then, as one who has contributed to this number by having an abortion myself, I wonder if you, my “jurors” would consider me and my role in this Roe v. Wade journey. Am I worthy of reflection, and further of your forgiveness and your prayers?
Widening the spectrum of all involved in the layers and execution of abortion, would you the “jurors” consider any or all of these people worthy of reflection, prayer and even love? Who do I speak of? All of the women who have had abortions, whether with full willingness, or against their wills or desires, men who pressured the women to choose abortions or the men who’s babies were aborted against their own desires. Parents who gently nudged teens to consider abortion, or parents who threatened to send their teen packing if they did not have an abortion. How about the abortion doctors, nurses, counselors, receptionists and janitors in the clinics? How about the person who drove the woman to the clinic, or the friend who helped pay for the abortion? Even the people who market abortion, create and design the artwork for the literature? Politicians and lobbiests who fight for and against all sorts of laws surrounding abortion? Aren’t all of these people human beings and counted among those who have intrinsic value simply because they have been created in the image of God?
These may be very difficult ideas to think about, I understand, especially for those of you who are hurting so deeply because of an abortion experience. These may be especially difficult for those of you who cannot have children biologically as well. But when I consider the love and forgiveness I’ve received from God through the redemptive work of Jesus on the cross, I can hear Jesus reminding everyone that he came not for the healthy and the “good” people, but for the sick and the sinners. Aren’t we all in that second category? Don’t we all have intrinsic value as human beings despite our physical and moral ailments, whatever they may be?
As January 22 approaches, no matter which side you are on, would you consider praying for people you may have never thought to pray for before, or maybe never wanted to pray for before? My prayer for them is the same as for myself, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10. May we all treat each other with softened and purified hearts as we embrace the sanctity and value of all human life.