Lives matter. Every life, every heartbeat, matters in light of eternity.
I have recently been confronted over and over again by the notion that some lives are more valuable than others. Babies in the womb are a prime example. If the mother wants the child, then the life matters – then medical professionals will do anything in their power to save a life. If the mother decides that she does not want this child, her child, then the little life can be terminated (another word for murder) without anyone raising an eyebrow. This is often even true for unborn babies of the same gestational age. A healthy baby can be killed because he or she is unwanted and an “ill” baby can be saved by operations in-utero because he or she is wanted. I have once heard of a neonatologist who refers to this as the great obstetric schizophrenia.
When did we as the human race decide that it was ok to play God? When did we start entertaining these narcissistic ideas that we matter so much in the greater scheme of things that we can decide if a human life is allowed to be born or not?
It saddens me deeply to think that one of our little Butterfly babies was thrown in a bush by his own mother and left for dead because he was said to not be “compatible with life”. This mother had cared for her baby boy for approximately 8 months, had fed him, clothed him, had seen his first smiles, and still decided to leave her “very much alive” baby boy under a bush in Soweto to die because she had been told that he would not survive into adulthood. It breaks my heart. Yes, there are obviously many contributing factors at play – things such as lack of support, lack of resources, fear of the unknown etc. To me it all boils down to this: the sanctity of life. This baby boy who we have now come to love and value has been labelled as “expendable”. Medical staff and possibly even social services have all told this mom that there is no hope for her baby boy and that he is “not compatible with life”. I kid you not – this term is literally what medical professionals and the like use to refer to infants who are born with life-limiting conditions. Yet, here he is. He is still very much alive and very much worthy of love and care. This little boy smiles, babbles, has his own preferences and is truly a person in his own right. He loves banana but hates mango, he watches lights in fascination and gives the most beautiful broad smile when he hears someone laughing. Please understand that I am not blaming medical professionals here. I completely understand the clinical need to label conditions and have myself been guilty of this many times. Unfortunately these labels affect how society at large view a person and the worth or un-worth which they ascribe to you.
Would the mother have kept her son if she had received better support, or if he was not labelled as “not compatible with life”? I don’t know. But our perceptions, in my experience, mostly influence our actions. Just imagine if this mother had been told that her son was beautiful, that he was a true blessing – that he mattered?
I pray that the sanctity of life, the value and hope that God places within each beating heart, becomes a truth within all of our hearts again. That we don’t place a price tag on people according to their perceived value to society or physical and intellectual abilities. There is so much in my heart to say about this topic. But I realise that only the Holy Spirit can make the penny drop within our society and within our own hearts about the true value and sanctity of life. I pray that this happens. Until then we will simply try our best as a family and organisation to bestow a new sense of worth and hope upon each little one who enters our home. We will continue to pray that God gives us the grace to love each one not according to their earthly price tags but that He will help us to see their worth through His eyes.
“Its extravagant, it doesn’t make sense, we’ll never comprehend the way You love us.
It’s unthinkable, only heaven knows, just how far You’d go to save and love us…”
Extravagant by Bethel Music