Building a Biblical Foundation to Advocate for Both Lives (Mother + Baby)

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Child Welfare

Trip Lee talks about “Building a Biblical Foundation to Advocate for Both Lives (Mother + Baby).” This keynote was given during the 2022 Stand for Life Campus Tour on November 1, 2022, at Cedarville University.

Transcript

How’s everybody doing? Good. Well, I’m going to pray once more and we’ll dive you. Father, thank you so much for the night. God, thank you for every single student that’s here, Lord. Thank you for bringing us all here, Father. We thank you for the truth that we have gotten to celebrate and to sing and to listen to. Father, I pray that you would use the words from our brother and sister that we’ve just heard. Father, you would press those into our hearts.

God, we do not want to just have a fun night where we can high five each other. We want to be made more like your son Jesus. We want to reflect him, we want to look like him, we want to obey Him. We want to repent and put our trust in Him more and more each day. We pray you would help us do that, Father. We pray this would be a time for us to do it. God, we pray that this would be useful. You’d help me to speak with boldness and with truthfulness and with clarity, Father. Pray no one will leave impressed by me or [inaudible 00:01:16] or anybody on this stage, father, but with Jesus. And we ask in Jesus name, amen.

Amen. This morning at chapel, we talked about the way that Jesus summed up all of the commandments in scripture, which is with love, that that’s the nail that everything hangs on because we wanted to build some foundation that we can have this conversation with. I’m very encouraged by how like-minded everybody’s been on this stage and we’re going to continue to build foundation for the Lord to give us grace to honor him around these topics. We’re going to look at Psalm 1:39 and I’m going to go ahead and read that now and then we will talk about it.

Psalm 1:39, this is what God’s word says. Starting in verse 13, starting in verse 13. He says, for you created my inmost being. You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made your work so wonderful. I know that full well. My frame wasn’t hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. That’s God’s word. That’s God’s word.

To tell you just a little bit about me growing up, my dad, wonderful man also drove me crazy. He had all these little things. He always had a weird little slogan or punchline for everything. I was like, “Why do you speak in riddles, father?” One of the things he used to say to me all the time that drove me crazy was he would say, “Boy, I know you better than you know yourself.” Drove me crazy because it was like something that he could put on the end of any conversation, a trump card that just meant he automatically won whatever discussion we were having. It don’t matter what it is. I can say, “But dad, I don’t want to eat meatloaf for dinner. I don’t like meatloaf.” He would say, “You do like meatloaf, you going to enjoy it. Boy, I know you better than you know yourself.” I don’t even know how that works, tastebud-wise but okay.

Well, I say, “Daddy, can I just go hang out with my friends and I’ll drive back home safely?” He’d be like, “No, you can’t do that.” I’m like, “No, dad, I’ll be really safe. I’ll leave.” He’s like, “No, you going to drive and you going to fall asleep at the wheel and die. Your mom’s going to be sad.” I’m like, “Well, no. I’m not even tired.” He said, “Be quiet. I know you better than you know yourself.” End the discussion. He wins.

The funny thing is, as I’ve gotten older, my dad’s not around for me to tell him this, but there were a lot of times he was right. Not the meatloaf, but other times where he was right, where he did understand things about me better than I understood about myself and he had an unfair advantage because I was young and he was very old.

When he was a kid, people didn’t always even have TV sets in their house. Even if they did, it was one and a half channels. He was very old. He had unfair advantages. He knew things that I hadn’t understood. But here’s a difficult thought. You don’t know yourself as well as you think you do. Because when I think back, there was a lot of stuff that he was actually right about.

That’s weird for us to understand because we think if we know anything, we know ourselves. But not only do we not know everything, but you’re not even the expert on you. Human beings are not even the expert on us. When we were going to have this conversation about life, one of the things that’s at the core of it is understanding what is a human being and how do we evaluate the worth and value of a human being and then how does that change how we interact with ourselves and with other people. If you don’t believe me when I say you’re not even an expert on you that sometimes, you know when you just mad at somebody and you think it’s because they did something, but really, you just bitter. They did something to you one time and you never forgave them, so now they did something and they’re like, “Hey, can I give you some water?” “Why? You think think my legs don’t work, bro?”

No, you don’t understand that you’re just being defensive. There are things about ourselves that we don’t even understand. We misread other people. We misread our own motives in situations. One of the reasons my dad would say to me that he knew me better than I know myself is because I was giving myself too much credit, he wanted to put me back in my place. I was trying to gain too much control because I thought I knew everything. One of the things my dad was doing was put me back in my place.

In a similar way, this text reminds us that we are not as in control of our lives as we think. We do make decisions, there are consequences, we do have free agency, but we mess up by overestimating our level of control and knowledge of ourselves. When we do that, things can go wrong. This is God putting us back in our place by reminding us he knows us even better than we know ourselves and when we can look at ourselves and other people the way that God sees us, it’ll help us to ground this conversation about the value of human life.

You just walk away with one thing, I want you to remember that God knows us better than we know ourselves. This whole Psalm is about how God knows everything. He’s omniscience, he knows everything, he has all knowledge.

One of the first lessons we’re taught in life is that we don’t know everything. I have to remind my son, my 10-year-old all the time, “Hey, I know you smart, but if you act like a know-it-all, nobody’s going to like you.” He’s like, “I know.” I’m like, “You’re doing it right now.” No, but one of the reasons that’s a lesson we have to learn early on is because the reason it annoys other people when we pretend we know everything is that we don’t. There’s a self-siness that comes with that. Well, I want you to know God does not need a reminder to rain it in because he actually does know it all.

And David goes through all of these verses talking about God’s knowledge. I just want you to know this is not a PhD, this is not a dissertation, this is not a theoretical look, it’s almost like an intimate love letter. It’s more relational and personal. David is reflecting on God’s perfect knowledge of him. He’s like, “There’s no way I can go when you’re not there.” God knows everything. He’s present everywhere. He’s all powerful. This is almost like a love song celebrating God’s knowledge intimately of us, and that’s going to impact how we think about this conversation. We’re just going to look at this and just two points in this Psalm. The first one is this, that we are made by God. We’re made by God.

I’ll read again verse 13. He says to God, “You created my inmost being you knit me together in my mother’s womb, I praise you because I’m fearfully and wonderfully made.” David is amazed at how he was made and he gives credit where it’s due. That’s what praise is. Praise is when we recognize how great something is and then we express it often verbally. David is saying, God is amazing. Us being made by God is one of the most basic truths of all the universe. It will continue to be pushed back on, argued about in classroom, talk crazy about on Facebook by fake Facebook scholars and people on YouTube but it’s a basic truth about who human beings are and it shapes everything about us.

How does that fit into God’s intimate knowledge of us? Well, where we come from says a lot about what we actually are. If we went back to 19, I don’t know, 85, and somebody found an iPhone laying on the ground and somebody was like, “What is this?” And you found it, what do you think you would’ve thought it was? You don’t know. You’d be like, “This is a really strange little makeup mirror.” You didn’t know what to do with it. Somebody’s like, “Oh, this is a nice coaster for the crib, “and just put a glass on it. You would have no idea. People would just start to try to figure it out. The best way to know would be you’d probably try to find out who made it. Now, you would need a time machine for that but we’re not trying to go that deep into the metaphor. You understand the point.

The point is when we don’t have the creator around to tell us what something is and exactly what it was made for, it will be used for different and lesser purposes. God being the one who created us is part of why he has such intimate and deep knowledge about who we are. It’s not just that he knows more than we do like my dad did with me because God is just old. No, no, no, he’s the one who created us, he’s the one who fashioned us, he knows the purpose. He knows why he gave us particular components and our bodies worked in particular ways. He knows us better than we know ourselves. The problem with not knowing ourselves is we come up with different ideas about what we actually are, who we actually are and the way that we’re supposed to live but there is a God in the heavens who’s not just expecting us to figure out whose spoken clearly to us about what he created us for.

Not only do we not have to wonder how to treat ourselves because God tells us who we are, it’s the same for other people. We come up with bad answers time and time again about who we are. When in accident and we’re like the rest of the animals or some of us have dignity and some don’t. Some are fully human, some are partly human, or at least we treat them that way.

In every sin against ourselves and others, is the part because we don’t understand this truth that we were made by God and the way that that impacts us. But he doesn’t just tell us that he made us. David talks about how he made us. Sometimes, because of how the creation of accounts written, we assume that God just did something real quick. I woke up, he was like, “Let there be light. Some people, all right. All right, I’m out. It’s almost Sunday I got to rest.” We assumed that God just kind of threw us together. No big deal. Didn’t take much of his time. He still have the rest of the day to relax. But we should not mistake God’s instantaneous creation power for some kind of laziness. Just because it didn’t take him a long time doesn’t mean he just kind of threw us together.

Verse 13, David says, you knit me together in my mother’s womb. That impression gives this picture of God weaving us together. Have you ever seen somebody knitting before? It looks very time intensive. This little motion right here, I don’t even know if this is knitting or crocheting, but you know what I’m talking about. This situation right here. If you ever see someone do that, that’s not something you can throw together haphazardly. Maybe your grandmother knitted you a sweater one time and she had arthritis, so the knit wasn’t that tight, but she meant to give you something warm to put on your body. I have a sweater at home that is this beautiful knit sweater and it just looks like thread overlapping each other millions of times and you can tell it took a lot of care and attention. This is the picture that David gives of God’s creating of us, not God just throwing something together, but God very carefully and expertly weaving us together even while we are in our mother’s womb.

I think sometimes we imagine that God is just kind of setting stuff off and he just lets it go. God is intimately involved in every little part of who we are with care and attention, not haphazardly. Verse 14, he says, I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful. I know that full well. He’s saying, not only did the God make us carefully, but he did a good job when he did it. He’s saying, “Your works are incredible, God, I know this.” The same guy who makes sharks and the elephants and the sky and mountains made us.

I remember one time I was in Montana, I looked up at the sky, there’s beautiful mountains. We don’t have them like that in Dallas. Now, don’t ask me why I was in Montana. I was the only black person there but I made it out and I was looking up in the sky. I was looking up in the sky and I said, “Man, this is incredible. The God made this incredible big giant painting in the sky. What an incredible God this is.” He’s saying, “This God who made all of this stuff made me.” Almost like David is saying, “My favorite artist knows who I am.”

I don’t know who your favorite songwriter is. One of my favorite songwriter is Stevie Wonder. He’s incredible. One of his album songs in a Key Light sounds like a greatest hits album because every song on it is amazing. David is like, “God is my favorite artist.” Somebody was like, “Oh, you love Stevie Wonder. He knows you. He wants to talk to you.” I would drop everything I was doing. I would be like, read a book to him. “I got to go. Stevie Wonder wants to see me.” Well, David is saying, “Not only does that God know me intimately, but that artist who’s responsible for all these things I think are incredible, is the very same God and creator who created me.” I am a work of art of the greatest artists that’s ever lived.

Yo, I need you to understand, you are fearfully and wonderfully made. I need you to understand that your neighbor sitting next to you, fearfully and wonderfully made. Your professors fearfully and wonderfully made and God did a good job. That changes how we see ourselves and see other people. It changes how we treat ourselves and other people. Y’all still with me? Just like we know our favorite artists, write songs purposefully, I want you to know that God takes his work seriously and he did things perfectly. Your brown skin is on purpose. Your green eyes are on purpose. Your long legs are on purpose. My short torso was on purpose for some reason. All of it was on purpose.

I remember being in art class in middle school and we made this little pottery and I gave it to my mom. It was terrible. She pretended it was beautiful, but I knew it wasn’t because I knew I didn’t spend no time on it. I was like, “I was just trying to play with my friends.” God doesn’t turn in incomplete work. God doesn’t do anything haphazardly. God doesn’t have something else he was trying to get too quickly. God made you carefully and wonderfully. David is praising God for that.

Anytime we’re not acknowledging the greatness of human beings, we’re stripping God of the credit that he deserves. We know that the way the scripture talks about humanity is like we’re the crown of creation. It’s not just, oh, we can do some things that animals can’t do or we can talk or we can, I don’t know, make TikToks or whatever you think is special about human beings. The most special thing is that we are made in the image of God, that that’s the thing that’s most unique about us and it’s a strange phrase the image of God because it’s a tough thing, a picture. It’s not like we’re a statue of God. We don’t know what God looks like physically. God is spirit. Someone described to me a statue of Socrates, I can’t picture it because I don’t know what that dude looked like, so image of God can sound weird to us like an abstract phrase like someone saying the sound of dry paint. I don’t know what that sounds like. I can’t imagine it.

It’s also strange because when you see your clumsy friend trip down the stairs or you see your little brother pick his nose, deity is not what comes to mind. We don’t think God when we see people. Let me show you where we get that from in scripture in Genesis one, as you probably know, we get this very poetic account of creation. Everything that exists, God speaks and God is so powerful that speech manufacturer’s complex species, he speaks and there is creation. Listen, so when we make something, we gather parts, acquire tools, put stuff together, try to read directions, not God. He speaks and there is.

Genesis 1:26, God said, let us make man in our image after our likeness. How do we relate to everything else? Let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, birds of heaven, over the livestock, every other creeping thing on the earth. Verse 27, so God created man in his own image and the image of God, he created him, male and female, he created them. We’re made in the image of God. That means we are like God and God’s image and likeness. People can get confused about what that means. You have people like Kanye West. You had a whole album called Yeezus, a song called I am a God. Rappers love to call themselves Gods because we think it’s just a way to say things are high, but scriptures really clear we’re not Gods but we are like God. You can understand why we be so impressed with ourselves and we want to elevate ourselves. Scripture doesn’t give us just his long list of all these particular ways.

¬†We can think about some of that. I think the main thing is that we are a reflection of him. The way we function in creation is like him. And again, you may say, “Trip, help me understand where we’re going.” I need you to understand this is part of us valuing life is understanding what human life is. We’re reflection of him. We live in a age of selfies. We take a lot of pictures of ourselves, probably more than we should. When someone stares at your picture yourself on your Instagram, you don’t feel strange like they’re staring at you, right? Well, no, this is just a representation to me on the phone but they’re still looking at you. They’re getting an idea of what you look like. They’re getting an idea of what you had on that day. They’re getting a little picture of who you are.

Man be made in the image of God. We can look at human beings and get an idea of what God is like. We are not God, but we are representations of him. We are like him in a way that the rest of creation is not. It’s a big part of who you are. In the ancient world, sometimes, kings will put statues of themselves in their land so that people would see that and they would remember the king who reigns there. God and making us in His image has put little pictures, little representations of himself all throughout creation who also have dominion over the rest of creation to remind everybody who the true and living king is. It’s him.

We’re made in the image of God and the beauty of creation should change how we interact with it. It should be held in reverence and honor. When I was a teenager for some reason I got to go on a class trip to Italy and we went to Sistine Chapel. I was with my friends, no pictures allowed in the Sistine chapel. We being some fools had disposable cameras. Praise God that no one has to use those anymore. Just disposable cameras with flash. They “Don’t take pictures.” We’re just taking pictures just for fun because we bored. There’s a security guard watching people, we like taking pictures behind his back and running off. I want you to know I got kicked out of the Sistine Chapel that day.

But in hindsight, I’m like, “What are you doing? You flew all the way to Italy to observe one of the greatest pieces of art ever.” I need you to understand I wasn’t appreciating what I was seeing. I looked up and I was like, “This looks just like it does in the books that we read, just another painting.” When someone else said, “No, this is not just another painting. You have to understand the beauty of it, the glory of it, the history of it.” My fear is that in our interactions with other human beings, we have missed the glory and the significance and the majesty of people made in the image of God. We do not treat one another or ourselves with the reverence in all that it deserves is those who represent God himself.

This picture that we are made in the image of God, I may have said this morning as the most important thing about us. Sometimes people say, “What’s the most important thing about you?” You may say something about where you from, a particular gift you have, some of your hopes and dreams. I want you to know those are not the most important or the most valuable thing about you. That is that you are made in the image of God and the same for everyone else.

Our goal then is to see people the way that God sees them, to interact with them in a way that God would, loving and compassionate. We are made to show God off, but how do we know how God would treat people? I have good news for you, God put on human flesh and walked around as a human being and we got to see God made us in his image. God has, in his wisdom said, “Okay, when I make people in my image, I’m going to have other image bearers to build them in their bodies.”

Let me tell you, my wife’s pregnancy, most incredible thing I’ve ever witnessed. I can’t believe that she was making this little person. I’m over here stressed about the baby on the way like, “Okay, what we going to do with the crib?” She’s like, “Sorry, I didn’t hear. I was busy making a human.”

If we understand the beauty of what God is knitting together, not just a little person who one day will eat some apple sauce at your table, but a statue placed in creation to remind us of the rule of God. It’s going to change how we think about and care for and prepare for that little person. If we remember that God is so kind, that he would let us as image bearers bear that burden, even though it’s a big one, it would change how we interact with women who weren’t expecting to be pregnant, made in the image of God. Our culture does not think about human life this way.

I think this is part of why it’s hard for us to see the beauty of children, it’s hard for us to wrap our minds around shame and how to deal with shame and it’s hard for us to even be content with ourselves. But if we remember there’s no extra value or worth for us to go acquire and to bestow upon ourselves, if we remember that our value and worth comes from the God who created us, then there’s no particular decision that changes that. Of course, that has something to do with how we interact. If men understood the value and the beauty of a human life, then maybe we could walk alongside one another to help each other, not let go of our responsibilities, leaving women holding the bag to make decisions that they don’t really want to make, that they may make from a hopeless place.

There’s a book called Bluest Eye by Tony Morrison, a beautiful book, a tragic book where there’s a little girl who everyone makes fun of. They call her ugly. They say, your skin is dark. You’re ugly. Throughout the whole book, she just thinks, “If I had blue eyes, if I had the bluest eyes, then people wouldn’t treat me like that anymore. I would have all the love, I would’ve all the embrace I ever need.” There’s not a particular thing for us to attain to that can get us more worth, there’s nothing we can do that can take it away. We can’t forget who we are.

That means as friends, we have to remind ourselves, we have to remind one another of this. Not to in ourselves, but in another. One of the reasons scripture talks about murder being wrong is because people are made in the image of God. These are little representations of God. Even as a child is in the womb and God is knitting them, this is someone who’s already made in the image of God, who’s already being formed in his image to be a representation of him, already glorifying God. One of my favorite songs, the Psalmist goes serene, talks about all of creation. He’s like, “Let everything praise the Lord, and mountains and trees and sea monsters and little kids and older women and young men.” He just goes through all of creation and the job of every part of creation is to bring praise and honor and glory to God and that includes unborn image bearers in the womb.

God has not given us the authority to silence that glory that he’s given himself through that little life. We’re made by God, lest you change how we interact with ourselves and one another. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Even when it doesn’t feel that apparent, we know that God knows. My last thing is this, we’re known by God. I know you’re like, “Trip, that was your first point. It’s the lone one, don’t be free.” Known by God, we’re known by God.

Is anybody in here ever babysat before? Okay. All right, sir. Almost no dudes. No, no, no, don’t laugh. That’s a good decision. Don’t let dudes watch your kids. Somebody said preach. Y’all have been applauding the most hilarious things all day. To babysit, the reason that you want responsible young ladies to babysit is because you have a little human life in your care. Your only job is to pay attention, make sure they’re taken care of, have everything that they need so you pay very close attention. Sometimes, we think that God just kind of sets creation off, but God keeps very close watch and takes very close care of his creation. We see this in the way that David talks about God in verse 15. He says, “My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in a secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.” He’s using this poetic language to talk about God forming him in his mother’s womb. Isn’t it crazy to hear him say, my frame was not hidden from you.

When me and my wife found out that she was pregnant with our first son, we found out on a Saturday night. We were overjoyed. It was on purpose. We had been trying for a long time. She said she was going to take a pregnancy test, she came back with this little giddy smile on her face. We had this exciting little moment, and then, we went to the doctor on Monday. That Monday, two days after we found out she was pregnant, we heard a heartbeat of our son. Immediately, as soon as we found out. That blew my mind, that this little person we didn’t even know about God was already at work to the point he had already given them a heartbeat. Being fashioned to pump blood through their bodies. Blew me away. I was phrasing God for the incredible technology we had that we could see in there at this little person. I had this app on my phone that would be like, “Hey, today your baby is the size of a dime,” and I’d be like, “That’s a weird comparison. Thank you,” but all these things that we know.

But even as incredible as our scientific knowledge is, even as me and my wife had no idea there was even a baby conceived, God knew. Those were never hidden from God. God is already watching. God is already at work. God is already forming, but even parents are bystanders in some ways to the marvel of creation and it is a beautiful, incredible gift from God. The most incredible thing I’ve ever seen. That does not mean though that it’s always received as a gift when people find out they’re receiving that gift. This is where what I think our sister talked about earlier is so important because there is something that happens when we feel hopeless. Hope you understand that hopelessness and despair, when you cannot see a path for how your life could possibly go on with this particular thing, what that can do to your decision making, what it means to be able to see no options whatsoever, what it means to feel like your entire life is over.

I’ve heard stories like our sisters where God intervened and kept someone from making that decision and I’ve heard stories where people did make that decision and regretted it. But what I think one of the things God is calling for from us, it’s not to try to make a decision between defending the dignity of the unborn and fighting for the dignity of pregnant mothers.

This is one of the things that drives me crazy about this particular conversation and culture is that people are for some reason choosing side to decide, “Am I going to care about unborn babies or am I going to care about these women with unwanted pregnancies?” When God is saying the value and worth and dignity of a person rest in them being made in the image of God. We do not get to decide who to bestow the beauty and honor and privileges of being an image bearer of God on if they’re made in God’s image, it’s on them. How strange it is that we let the weird ways we have this conversation cloud our judgment in that, that we can walk into a conversation so defensive that we completely…

Have you ever been in an argument with somebody and it’s like no matter what they say, you can’t hear them? This is why I think it’s very important for us to ground our conversation about this issue and what God’s word has said and in the image of God and in what it looks like to love our neighbor because the cultural conversation has so much baggage on it that I think it’s led to Christians having an unfaithful witness. Where we say the image of God matters so much, and then we’re very picky and choosy with who we treat as if they’re made in the image of God. I heard someone speaking on the stage recently, even as he sounded like he wanted to defend the life of the unborn in the same sentence, denigrated any woman who would get pregnant unexpectedly. He said, “Oh, well, it’s funny how all the women who are pro-choice are the ones who no one would ever want to sleep with anyway.”

Now, you can’t tell me that that’s someone who was upholding the life of the unborn because he understands the image of God and the dignity and respect and honor that everyone created by God deserves, that’s someone who has made this a very strange political argument to make enemies. That is not what God has called us to. Whenever we have this conversation, I want to encourage you to ask yourself before you engage, what am I rooting my perspective in? If it is rooted in anything other than the image of God, our love for neighbor, I promise you it’s going to go off track. Those are the principles we want to be guided by.

I want us to, in the way that we talk about this, be aware of the fact that there are often going to be people in the room who have had abortions, who have considered abortions, who are considering them even now. I want us to consider as we talk to people in the room that there are people whose moms were not married when they had them, whose moms made really difficult decisions. I don’t want us to turn this in because the further away from us, somebody is in our own mind, the easier it is to belittle their point of view, the easier it is to demonize every decision that they make. I want to encourage you to listen to the stories of people in different situations.

Have you ever judged somebody? Maybe they was just being mean. It was like, “Man, [inaudible 00:33:11] was so mean to me today. He tripped me, he threw a hot pot of coffee in my face. It was terrible.” And then someone’s like, “Oh, well, I don’t think you realized this, but when he was pulling out his garage today, he ran over all of his dogs.” And then you’re like, “Oh my goodness.” And you think, if that had have been me, I would’ve done something much worse to him. That was a dumb illustration I shouldn’t have said, but my point is this… Don’t clap. Stop clapping for the dumb stuff. Yeah, no, no. Hold on, hold on.

I don’t have that much time. My point is this. My point is this. We cannot continue to paint ourselves as these nuanced complex people who make complex decisions deserving grace for our decisions, and then anybody who makes a decision we don’t understand as if they’re very simplistic and could only make the decision out of the most evil place. Instead, we want to uphold the value of human life. We want to remind people of the love and goodness of God. Verse 16, he says this, and I’m going to close, “Your eyes saw my unformed body.” He’s saying, “God saw me. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.”

Look, I want to say this as those of us who know God, who knew that there’s a God, who’s seen us this entire time, that there’s this all knowing, all powerful God, we should remember that we do have a God who’s all knowing and he’s all powerful and he’s present everywhere at the same time, and he uses that power to love us. He uses that power to lay his life down for us. He uses that power to make his enemies, his friends and love and sacrifice. If we are really striving to see one another the way that God sees us, then we want to treat each other the way that God has treated us. We do not see anywhere in scripture God encouraged us to discard people in difficult situations. We do not see Jesus straying away from people who’ve made tough mistakes. We see Jesus drawing [inaudible 00:35:26] people with grace, drawing them to himself. Those are the kinds of people that we want to be.

I want to know as those who know God, we should be the foremost defenders of treating everybody with dignity and love. We should be known for that. Jesus in John 17 is like, “This is how people are going to know you, is this going to be by your love.” Not just for one another, but also for those outside of our community that being made in God’s images show up and how we interact with everybody, including the unborn, including pregnant women? I want to know where those study and social work and working and foster and adoption care.

I want to hear more of that. I want to hear more people who are driven by this to get into public health policy. I want people trying to figure out ways to combat poverty. I want more people adopting children. God has called us to go into childcare services, finding ways to make it more affordable in counseling, in gynecology, starting mercy ministries and loving neighbors and bringing meals and volunteering at shelters and bending over backwards to love the image bearers of God because it’s what he’s done and it’s what he would call us to do.

God knows us better than we know ourselves. I’ll close just by this saying, this perfect knowledge of God. Maybe you’re hearing that doesn’t really move you that God knows everything, maybe it’s more frightening. But I want to remind you that we serve a God who said, “I know everything about you, every thought you’ve ever had and loved you so much, I put on human flesh and laid my life down for you.” And that he’s calling us to be shaped by that love and that good news that He’s shown us in unmeasurable ways.

Let me pray. Father, thank you that you being this big God who knows everything and is all powerful is good because you’re good. It’s good news that you’re so strong to us because you are good and you’re holy and you’re wise. Father, we pray that you would help us to see this particular issue more clearly, that you’d help us to love others the way that you’ve loved us. God, that you’d help us to see clearly your image and others, and that would shape the way we interact. God, we pray that you would help this stuff to stick in our hearts and our minds, and it would shape the way that we live moving forward. And we ask all of this in the name of your son Jesus. Amen. Amen.