How to Build a Culture of Life
Our souls long for a culture of life.
But what does such a culture look like?
Who is the designer?
What is its foundation?
How is it built?
A growing number of young men and women call themselves pro-life. They are convicted by hard-to-ignore evidence, reason, and logic. They are, however, unsure about how to build a culture in which every human life is protected and respected. This is what happens when The Book is lost.
The people of Israel had lost The Book, too. They had lost the Book of Moses' Teachings which the Lord had commanded Israel to follow. When it was found, Ezra brought the Book of Teachings in front of the people and began to read. From daybreak until noon, he read from it. Then the Levites explained the Teachings in ways the people could understand. The people cried. They had been without the Teachings for so long and had not lived as God wanted them to. But Nehemiah the governor, Ezra the priest, and the Levites who taught the people all said, "This is a holy day! Don't mourn or cry!" (Nehemiah 8:1-9).
We don't need to mourn or cry either. That's because God's Word gives us what we need to build a culture of life. A woman helps to build such a culture beginning in her home.
A man may build a house,
but a woman makes a home.
A man may build a house, but a woman makes a home. A home is a place where husband and children are welcomed and encouraged. A home is a safe place away from the loud, demanding voices of the world. A home is a sphere of influence.
A home where the wife trusts God's order of creation is a place of Christian witness. Sin has corrupted the perfect relationship between husbands and wives. Sin causes women to resent the idea of submission (Titus 2:5). Nevertheless, God's order continues to be for the good of the family. His order brings calm when chaos threatens. With the right perspective, we see that God's order is not an affliction but a joy. A wife's submission to her husband is not demeaning. Think of it! God the Son submits to God the Father. God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal as One, yet each person of the Trinity has a distinct role. Husbands and wives are equals, too, but each has a different role. Being a submissive wife does not mean being powerless or without influence. "Even if some [husbands] do not obey the word [believe its message], they may be won without a word by the conduct of their wives, when they see [her] respectful and pure conduct" (1 Peter 3:1-2). God works to affect the lives of men and children through a wife whose behavior gently witnesses Christ.
How do I know that a culture of life is nurtured in the home? Because my mother and grandmothers showed me how it works. Trusting God's Word, they set about making a home where husbands were respected, children cared for, and neighbors welcomed. Not every day was a good day. Not every effort was a success. In spite of difficulties and disappointments, they learned that the Lord is faithful and His mercies are new every morning. They showed me that a culture of life takes root in the home.
Marriage, home, and family are the building blocks
of a civil and thriving society.
Marriage, home and family are the building blocks of a civil and thriving society. Our understanding of who we are and how we are to live comes from the home. Fathers mentor sons through boyhood to manhood. Mothers mentor daughters through girlhood to womanhood. Sons and daughters learn about the heavenly Father from their earthly father. The appropriate affection of a father for his daughter helps her to be patient for her someday husband. The respect a boy's mom shows his dad helps a young man to look for that same character quality in his someday wife. Husbands and wives show their children how male and female relate to one another, pair strengths and weaknesses, and forgive one another.
My grandparents understood why society needs a biblical family. If allowed to speak for themselves, I'm sure they would confess mistakes and failures. But I also believe they trusted the promise of their Lord and Savior whose forgiveness and mercy is new every morning. I believe they welcomed opportunities to do better.
Did my grandparents and parents know they were teaching me how to build a culture of life? Maybe not, but that's the beauty of such a culture. It is built naturally by men and women faithful to their calling from God; to marriage and the mentoring of children. My grandfathers did not "lord it over" their wives, but served them from a position of authority. That loving authority built confidence and prevented chaos from having its way.
My journey through girlhood into womanhood was greatly influenced by my mom and my father's mother. I spent a lot of time in grandma's house. Did she know she was mentoring me in the way of the Proverbs 31 woman? She delighted in preparing food for her family, setting a pretty table, and being available to her children. She was a "pillar" for her husband, the "palace" (Psalm 144:12). She drew her strength from the Lord and her lamp burned late at night. She practiced the gift of hospitality, remembered birthdays and anniversaries, welcomed babies into the world, managed accounts, sang in the choir (and while picking peas in her bountiful garden), was generous with handmade gifts, and served the needs of others in church and community. I loved opportunities to "sleep over." Tucked under one of her warm quilts, we talked everything that comes into a little girl's head. She helped me grow more confident as a daughter of God.
My parents were role models for my brother and me. From them we learned how male and female complement one another as a team. My mom was the bearer and encourager of my life; my father was the hero and protector of my life.
My parents and grandparents didn't talk about being pro-life. They lived pro-life. I watched my mom and dad adjust personal plans countless times in order to meet the needs of their children, care for their aging parents, or serve a neighbor. No one was too old, too young, or too inconvenient to them. My mom and dad never considered death to be a solution for human problems of life.
My parents never considered death
to be a solution for human problems of life.
Abortion, divorce, the practice of homosexuality, transgenderism, suicide, and euthanasia are all hopeless choices of death. Abortion is the death of a child created and redeemed by God. Divorce is the death of a relationship foundational to family and society. Homosexuality is saying, "The family tree stops with me." Transgenderism is the denial of every cell in the body that screams "I am a boy" or "I am a girl!" Suicide and euthanasia end the lives of God's image-bearers before He calls them home.
God says, "I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days" (Deuteronomy 30:19-20).
Life is the choice when we trust the Word of God. Life is the choice when we build communities of support for expectant moms as well as mothers who are repentant of a past abortion. Life is the choice when men protect women and engage "powers and principalities" with the Sword of the Spirit. Life is the choice when women say "yes" to vocations of wives, homemakers, and mothers.
Our souls hunger for a culture of life but without God's Word, we don't know how to build it. With it, we can paint a compelling picture of biblical manhood and womanhood, home and family, care-giving and burden-sharing, forgiveness and reconciliation. Sinners like you and me who know the way to the Cross are needed to lead others to hope.
Each of us can build a culture of life--one marriage, one home, one child, one grandchild, one neighbor at a time. We do it by trusting The Word which is a "lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Psalm 119:105).
"...My Words … are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh" (Proverbs 4:22).
Jesus says, "The Words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life" (John 6:63b). "I am the way, and the truth, and the life" (John 14:6a).