My four-year-old granddaughter does not enjoy the morning routine of having her hair brushed. Recently, she attempted a fairly good line of reasoning to get out of it.
Lainey: “My hair is getting so long; that means we don’t need to brush it, Momma!”
Momma: “Well, that’s even more reason to brush your hair.”
Lain: “Okay, it’s actually not that long.”
Momma: “Well, my girl, bottom line is we still need to brush your hair.”
Lain: “But, top line, we don’t need to.”
As you can imagine, despite her impressive line of reasoning, Lainey still has to get her hair brushed every morning.
Speaking of good reasons for doing things, let’s take a look at the bottom-line motivation for the life-affirming mission.
I believe the foundational ethos and driving motivation for pro-life work must be love—but let’s unpack what I mean by that.
We just celebrated Valentine’s Day, which is centered on the notion of love.
Love is an extremely broad word in the English language. We “love” hamburgers and our family members and a fun vacation. We love a certain kind of car, and we love someone for whom we would lay down our life.
If you’ve done any New Testament word studies at all, you know that ancient Greek is a better option for defining somewhat narrower categories of love.
The four words for love in ancient Greek are storge, philia, eros and agape.
Storge is an empathy bond between people who are automatically familiar with one another. A good example is the love between a parent and child.
Philia is a deep friendship bond which causes two friends to feel as close as siblings. (“Philadelphia” is the “city of brotherly love.”)
Eros is romantic and sexual love. This form of love is what the world specifically emphasizes on Valentine’s Day.
Agape is the selfless, unconditional love which God demonstrates toward humanity and which Christians are to emulate.
I can think of several ways in which all these forms of love are involved in pregnancy help ministry.
An eros bond may initially drive a young woman to seek our services due to an unexpected pregnancy resulting from sexual activity.
Storge may or may not develop between the pregnant young woman and her preborn child, depending on whether she chooses life for him or her.
As she walks through her difficult decision-making process, the young woman will likely discover who her real friends (philia) are. She may even develop a relationship of deep trust with her client advocate.
Finally, she may be introduced to the most unshakable love of all—agape, the love of God.
Our part is to demonstrate the agape of God by means of our listening ear, our personal compassion, and the gifts of our time and other resources.
We do not financially profit from our clients—but we do make sacrifices to make sure their needs are met.
On one level, we do this work because we care enough about our clients to be able to legitimately say we love them.
We care about moms and dads facing unplanned pregnancies. We care about their babies. We care about the distressed family members surrounding them.
Tweet This: We care about moms/dads facing unplanned pregnancies. We care about their babies. We care about distressed family members surrounding them.
We know that choosing life brings blessing, and that choosing death has the opposite outcome—and we want these women and their families to experience blessing.
In this sense, love is the bottom-line motivation for pro-life work.
(It isn’t profit. It isn’t popularity. It isn’t people-pleasing. Lord knows we face enough opposition that such motives wouldn’t even work.)
In a deeper way—perhaps this is the “top” line? —we do this work not just because we love the people we serve, but because we serve the God who loves people.
We are His emissaries. We offer a connection point for our clients to experience the agape love of the Father.
I continually circle back to this point, because it is the foundational reason for pro-life work: we reach out to distressed women to help them and their preborn children, because God creates and loves every single human being He is knitting together in the womb.
Tweet This: We reach out to distressed women to help them and their preborn children, because God creates and loves every single human being ...
Circumstances of conception have no bearing whatsoever on the depth of God’s love for His image-bearers.
Tweet This: Circumstances of conception have no bearing whatsoever on the depth of God’s love for His image-bearers.
The reason it is so critical to keep this in mind is that our human love can be frail and fickle.
We may lose patience. We may be tempted to give up. We may not always feel love toward others—especially when they aren’t loving toward us.
By contrast, God’s love is constant. It is our anchor and our compass.
When I remember how much God loves me despite my many shortcomings and failures, when I ask Him to give me His love for others, I am empowered to continue loving with a strength not my own.
Let’s continue to let love be the driving force behind what we do—God’s love for us, our love for those we serve (and for those who oppose us), and most of all, God’s love for every broken-but-beautiful image-bearer He creates.
At the end of the day, love is our bottom line—and our top priority.