The flu is rampant right now. Kids and adults alike are dropping like flies with it. Everyone is trying to avoid getting sick by investing in Lysol, wearing surgical masks, using hand sanitizer, and getting the flu shot. We all want the sickness to just go away. And it will. In a few months, the flu will make its way out of here, and most everyone will heal up and get better.
But there are other sicknesses out there that won’t heal up so quickly. In fact, the only hope to get better involves sacrifice, prayer, and frankly, a miracle.
Recently, the state legislatures of New York, Virginia, and New Mexico passed sweeping bills that allow the abortion of babies in the womb until right before birth. Take a moment and fully absorb what that means. Moments before a precious little baby is born, a parent in these states can choose to allow a physician to slice that baby up like a chicken and remove his or her little body from that womb like cutlets. And to go further, the Governor of Virginia, Ralph Northam, made the case on a radio program that a baby who is severely deformed or disabled can be born and made comfortable while the parents and the doctor decide whether to allow the baby to live or not. I can guarantee you that the governor is not alone in his convictions. Regardless of your opinion on the abortion debate, our culture is moving in the direction of infanticide.
Abortion is horrific and awful. However, infanticide is inconceivable. It is madness. Truly, it is a sickness. I understand the political maneuverings here. These states are passing these insane laws to insulate their constituents against what they consider a presidential threat. But politics aside, there is no way a healthy culture can just be calm about murdering newborn babies.
And I realize that our culture is not saying put to death just any newborn baby – only those who have genetic deficiencies. As of now, the discussion is about babies that doctors determine won’t live very long after birth. So the idea is to go ahead and put them out of their misery – like an old, sick, dying mule. But you have to see how this sickness has spread! The debate was once about early stage, first trimester abortion and the morning after pill. The question was once about whether a tiny fetus was actually life. Yet, now the discussion is whether it’s ok to murder a baby for any reason moments before she or he is born and in the moments after birth! Do you actually think the sickness will stop there? I don’t.
Look at Iceland. That nation has largely eliminated down syndrome births which at first glance garnered praise from around the world. Then the terrifying truth was revealed – down syndrome was ended in Iceland by abortion on demand. At the same time, countries like Switzerland and Britain have outlawed boiling lobsters and dismembering them because they might feel pain yet these same nations praise and encourage the barbaric act of dismembering children in the womb. You can’t tell me this is not a devastating sickness.
Let me be clear. If our nation believes that abortion up to birth and beyond is acceptable, it won’t be long before down syndrome and other genetic anomalies are targeted. I can imagine a world where insurance companies and government healthcare won’t pay for a birth because a baby was determined to have congenital issues thereby forcing an abortion. Dear reader, it could happen.
Recently, I attended a Sanctity of Human Life Prayer Service sponsored by the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center, a local organization that fights for the life of every unborn baby as well as ministers in great kindness, grace, privacy and sensitivity to those considering abortion and those who have had an abortion. At this service, I noticed a young girl with special needs not far from me. She was standing by her family. They were a beautiful family who obviously had great love for each other and it showed. I almost was brought to tears thinking that our culture would even consider encouraging Moms to think about terminating a pregnancy because a child had a special need.
In October of 2017, Frank Stephens, a man with Down Syndrome testified before Congress and said these words: “I am a man with Down Syndrome and my life is worth living. I have a great life!” According to an article in The Atlantic, the termination rate in the United States for Down Syndrome is 67 percent. We are talking about THIS country! My soul, we are so sick and it is only going to get worse.
But allow me to go from preaching to meddling here for just a moment. I know many churches stand against abortion and rightfully so. Our hearts are broken for the women who are pressured and forced by their parents, boyfriends, husbands and even pimps to end their pregnancies. Our souls are disturbed to the core by the horrors and disaster of abortion. But sickness has infected our churches as well. Sadly, we are not immune.
A few weeks ago, the Houston Chronicle published a bombshell report on the sexual abuse of children and students by leaders of Southern Baptist Churches: Pastors, student ministers, children’s ministers, worship leaders, staff members, deacons, and volunteers. Hundreds of church leaders from around the country were implicated in the report. Some of these leaders were allowed to serve in other churches even though the leadership knew of a conviction or confession!
The leadership of the Southern Baptist Convention has been hesitant about creating a database of convicted abusers, so the Houston Chronicle created one themselves – and it is devastating. This newly created database reveals that twenty of these convicted child molesters were church leaders from right here in Alabama. The article also reveals that many churches covered up the abuse that was occurring on their campuses so as to protect their reputations. But my friends, we cannot be more concerned about the reputation of a church than we are the righteousness of one! How can we protect children during pregnancy and then not protect them in the pews? When I was just out of high school, a man I grew up knowing almost all of my life confessed to me that he had been molested as a child in his local church by his pastor on multiple occasions. I don’t know whatever happened to the pastor, but I do know the man who confessed this to me ultimately committed suicide. Devastating. Friends, our churches are not immune to cultural sickness.
How I wish these sicknesses were like the flu. How I wish we could get a shot to protect us from getting sick or a pill to cure it completely. How I wish we could wash our hands and wear a mask so we could never see the effects of these germs of madness that are infecting our population from shore to shore.
But I am convinced the only hope for the people of our culture is a blood transfusion and a heart transplant. The sickness is so serious, only the most drastic of measures will overcome this disease of wickedness. Thankfully though, you don’t have to rush to an emergency room or an operating table hoping for insurance approval to receive these life-saving treatments. As a matter of fact, they were prepared for you 2,000 years ago when Jesus Christ died on a cross outside of the city of Jerusalem. You see, Jesus lived a perfect life that none of us can ever hope to live. He was absolutely perfect in every way. Jesus never disobeyed the Father nor mistreated humanity. He made every right decision and reacted to every situation exactly as God wanted Him to – unlike you and me. Then, Jesus gave his life for us in a bloody, disturbing, reality-changing death. The Son of God – God wrapped in flesh – took the Father’s just wrath for all those who would confess their sins and follow Jesus as Lord. Jesus secured victory for all of his disciples from that day till now by rising from the dead with a glorious new body and a magnificent offer of salvation for all of us. If we would turn from our disobedience and follow after Him desperately, Jesus would replace our hearts of stone with a heart of flesh and cleanse us forevermore with his life-saving blood so we would never catch this current devastating sickness and instead be immune from its effects. This is the only hope for our nation and our culture! If He is not your savior today, run to Him! He will accept you and heal you no matter how sick this culture has made you.
As I close, let me leave you as a fellow follower of Jesus with some practical steps you can take to help counteract the horrific madness I have been describing to you. First of all, to deal with the impact of abortion in our society, I encourage you to support the Pregnancy Test and Resource Center. Jenny Odom, the PTRC’s executive director, does a marvelous job and is passionate to minister to those dealing with this issue. If you have an unplanned pregnancy, are considering an abortion, or have had an abortion and are dealing with the shame and despair that our culture doesn’t warn you about, please contact the PTRC at (205) 221-5860 and go talk to Jenny or any of the amazing staff and volunteers who serve there. As a matter of fact, on Friday, March 8, the PTRC will be hosting a fundraising Gala at the Jasper Civic Center to highlight what the ministry does and help raise money to support their mission. Contact their office for a free ticket to see how you can be involved!
Secondly, to deal with the crimes of sexual abuse that have occurred in churches of all denominations, not just Southern Baptists, leaders and members alike should demand that every single person who works with children or students in any capacity have a background check on file – regardless of church size - from the pastor on down. All staff members should have a thorough background check before they are allowed anywhere near a pulpit, person or ministry. Churches should also report all credible accusations to the authorities immediately instead of handling those situations in house.
Third, let’s pray for our culture. Let the Lord find us weeping on our knees on behalf of this sick culture. Let’s plead with the Lord with broken hearts and hot tears to save our children and grandchildren from this lunacy. Let’s let the Lord fill us with compassion instead of condemnation for those infected with this current cultural malady. Let’s prayerfully share with people clearly that the flu is the least of our concerns and that only the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only cure for the true infirmities of our nation.