The latest sound bytes coming out of New York and Virginia have caused most of us terrible grief, as we look up from our day-to-day lives and recognize that our country really has turned into a culture of death. So many facets of our society proclaim that human life isn’t worth much, but none so boldly and unapologetically as the shameful sin of abortion. As the conversation now shifts from the killing of infants in the womb to the killing of infants lying in a hospital bassinet, we look into the faces of our own children and wonder what sort of world they will be raising kids in. What sort of decisions will they face when it comes to the lives of their babies, and will they revere human life enough to know which decision to make? Will they grow up recognizing all people as special creations, made in the image of the one true God? Or will they listen to the demented arguments of those hellbent on killing and find them quite reasonable?
It all boils down to worldview. How can we instill a pro-life ethos in our children? No matter what is happening outside the front door of our homes, how do we create and foster and cherish a culture of life inside our own families? I believe it is entirely possible, but only if we talk to our children. If we shy away from the tough subjects with our kids, they will be left to guess how to process all of things that they see and hear around them. They need our guidance. And, most importantly, they need guidance from a biblical perspective. In the way that we live and in the way that we teach our children, our goal should always be raising true disciples who leave our homes with a crystal clear biblical lens through which to see and understand the world. With that in mind, here are four ways that we can help our children grow up with a reverence for human life.
1. Teach them that human beings are different from the rest of creation. Our kids need to learn from an early age that human beings are special. Not only were we created in the image of the creator God, we were also created for relationship with Him. We have souls that will never die, and we were appointed to look after and take care of the rest of His creation. Every human life is precious because we are a reflection of our Creator. Our children need to understand that all the animals in the world, as sweet as they can be, are not as precious as a single human life. (Genesis 1:26-27, Mark 12:30)
2. Teach them about abortion. Our children need to know that abortion exists. They need to know that there are people in our country who make it their life mission to see abortion widely accepted and regularly utilized. Even younger children can understand the concept, and they will unequivocally recognize that it is wrong. We can use abortion as an opportunity to show our children how wicked the human heart really is, how bent toward sin it is, and how easily and quickly we try to justify our sins. With older children, we can show them examples of the kind of rhetoric that would try to convince them that abortion is none of their business. Then we can teach them otherwise. (Jeremiah 17:9, Romans 3:23)
3. Teach them that people are worth our time. Our children need to know that no one is worthless or not worth helping or not worth dealing with. People can be difficult, no doubt. They can be annoying and needy. But, through our actions and attitudes toward the human beings around us, we can show our children that people are worth the bother. They are worth the investment and the care and the time. The last thing our children should ever see us doing is writing someone off as hopeless. If anyone is a special creation of God, there is always hope. We can teach our children to look into the face of every person, even those that are more difficult to love or even tolerate, and recognize them as one made in the image of God. (Incidentally, this includes the abortion activists.) (John 13:34, Romans 15:13)
4. Teach them to serve others. Our children need to know that one of the fastest ways to see the value in another individual is by serving them. When we serve others we bind ourselves to them in a special way. We humble ourselves and put the needs of another ahead of our own. One of the most formative experiences that I regularly had as a child was going to a nursing home with my church. Even now, I always leave the nursing home with a greater understanding of the enduring worth of human life. When we share these experiences with our children, they, too, will begin to see humanity as something much bigger than their own experiences. And they will have a clearer view of how God uses people, in all phases and stages of life, to accomplish His will and purposes. (Galatians 5:3, Romans 12:1)
We are in the perfect position while our kids are still in our homes to fill their hearts and minds with the things of God. May the Lord bless you as you teach your children. I pray that together we will raise up a pro-life generation that will seek to honor God in this battle for life. And in all things. Amen.