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Tuesday, 18 December 2018
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How to Instill a Strong Pro-life Conviction in Our Movement’s Future Leaders

You believe in the sacredness of every human life from conception until natural death. You uphold the life-affirming cause with your time, your finances, and your prayers. You’ll do so as long as you breathe. 

How can you ensure that the message you believe in so strongly gets deeply rooted in the next generation? How can you feel confident this vital work to which you have put your hands will carry on?

Perhaps you are currently raising children, or influencing your nieces and nephews or grandchildren. Perhaps you have a place to speak into the lives of kids at your local church or in your community.

Your example of passion and commitment to the cause of life speaks volumes to children. With that, you can also teach practical principles which lay a solid foundation for an unshakable pro-life conviction in young hearts and minds.

It may help to remember that the pro-life message is bigger than rescuing babies from being killed in the womb. 

Yes, our mission and our focus is to prevent the tragedy of abortion by providing hope, help, and compassion to those distressed by an unplanned pregnancy. However, there is an overarching truth which makes the life-affirming message so vital and relevant. 

Every human being is created in God’s image and is loved and valued by Him.

Though God cares about His whole creation, human beings enjoy a status with the Creator which no other creature shares.  

This fundamental truth lays the foundation for the “why” of upholding the cause of life. At least two related principles are grounded upon this foundation: 

1. We are commanded in Scripture to protect the weak, oppressed, and marginalized among us.

“Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.” – Psalm 82:4

Who is more weak and needy—more vulnerable—than the preborn child? As I’ve said elsewhere, we must teach children that God’s concern is for those who cannot speak for themselves

2. We are admonished to trust God with the timing of each person’s life.

My times are in your hands; deliver me from the hands of my enemies, from those who pursue me." – Psalm 31:15

Yes, some children are conceived as the result of far-from-ideal circumstances. Sometimes a new life even begins as the result of something as traumatic and tragic as rape or incest. 

Here is where we must trust God’s sovereignty. Only He is capable of taking mankind’s sinful choices and bringing beauty from ashes. Though human behavior often brings regret, no human being is a mistake in God’s eyes.

So how can we help children understand how much God values human beings? Consider the following questions from the perspective of a third or fourth grader: 

Am I loved and accepted? 

Do I matter? 

Can I make a difference in the world?

Grasping the truth that human beings are created in God’s image is the best starting point for a child to embrace a healthy sense of self-image. It’s part of understanding the deep, high, long, wide love of God for every one of us.

Understanding imago Dei also helps us understand and accept our uniqueness and our purpose. Each of us matters. Before He created Earth, God decided on the good works He wants each one of us to accomplish while He fashions us into His masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10).

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As for whether or not kids can make a difference in the world, Jesus himself made it clear that children lead the way when it comes to entering His kingdom (Matthew 18:1-5; 10). In addition, Paul admonished young Timothy:

“Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” – I Timothy 4:12

Timothy was no longer in grammar school, but the principle here is that younger believers can set an example for older ones. (Have you ever been convicted by the faith, zeal, and wholehearted willingness of children to do good deeds for God? I sure have.)

To put this all together: Every human being is created in God’s image and is loved and valued by Him. He wants us to protect the vulnerable, especially His yet-to-be-born children. He has planned good deeds for each of us to do, including the kids among us—who, by the way, are capable of raising lots of money at a Walk for Life!

Here’s an encouragement to children from my brand-new, pro-life, imago Dei devotional, Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World:

God wants us to be kind to different kinds of people–including ourselves! He especially wants us to show brave love by reaching out to the ignored or put down or left out. He wants us to bring his kingdom to the earth by living like Jesus.

God will create a new earth one day (Revelation 21:1-5). Until then, Christians will keep bringing good changes to our world, one friendship at a time. Together we’ll take action steps to fight evil.

Are you too young to make a difference? No! Kids can do great things for God. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these (Luke 18:16). The kingdom of God is all about showing his image-bearers worth and value. You can totally do that.

Deeply rooting the truth of imago Dei in the hearts of our children helps them embrace the life-affirming cause with solid conviction. It helps them grasp the love of God and respond with a desire to stand up for the helpless.  

Tweet This: Deeply rooting "imago Dei" in the hearts of our children helps them embrace the life-affirming cause with solid conviction. @SusanneMaynes

Look for opportunities to plant these seeds of truth in the heart of a child. Who knows? You could be investing in a future pro-life champion.

Susanne Maynes

Susanne Maynes is an author and speaker who served at a pregnancy help center for ten years. She blogs about church and culture, spiritual growth, and Christian parenting at SusanneMaynes.com. Her first book, Unleashing Your Courageous Compassion: 40 Reflections on Rescuing the Unborn, inspires and uplifts the pregnancy help community. Her brand-new book, Releasing Your Brave Love: Helping Kids to Change Their World, helps 8-12 year-olds embrace the truth of Imago Dei and develop a strong pro-life ethic. 

Website: www.susannemaynes.com

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