Some days I just have to stop and ponder: Where are we going as a nation? What future are we leaving our children? As you might imagine, if we continue on the path we are on as a society, our future is not all that bright. And our children's future looks even bleaker.
The Bible tells us that children are an inheritance from God (Psalm 127:3). Yet America is like the prodigal son. We have taken the inheritance of our unborn children and have gone to a far city. We have wasted that inheritance in riotous living, and now we are reduced to feeding among the swine for the husks of life.
The infamous Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, the scandalous crown jewel of a climate of hedonism and self-absorption that took root in the 1960s, unleashed a torrent of legalized killing in our nation. An estimated 47.6 million Americans, approximately one-sixth of the population of the United States, have been aborted since that fateful decision.
That is an incredible number of innocent lives lost. It is symptomatic of the noxious moral poison that has been let loose, polluting our culture, debasing and devaluing individual human life, and cauterizing our conscience to the value of every single human life.
The callous disregard for human life is reflected even in the films and television programs that pass for entertainment and certainly in how we treat one another in society, perhaps even to the increase in discourteous driving habits.
It was not always this way. Human life once was valued richly. The early Jewish faith bore an uncompromising witness against abortion, and so did the Christian faith from which it sprang.
There is a compelling reason why among all the people groups in the Mediterranean basin, the Jews were the only civilization that did not practice abortion as a routine matter, and, indeed, did not practice infanticide, the killing of already born children, as a perfectly accepted social practice.
King David wrote,
"For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them" (Psalm 139:13-16).
"Covered me" literally means "knitted me together." "Curiously wrought" literally means "embroidered." God knitted us together and embroidered us in our mother's womb.
Every time I read that passage, I think about one of my earliest memories from childhood—watching my mother sit in a rocking chair and embroider. It was a constant source of amazement for me that she could take that tangled mess of thread, in many different colors, and carefully pull them out one by one and embroider a beautiful design. And for each design, she had a different pattern to follow.
God embroiders and knits us together while we are still in our mother's womb, and he has a different pattern for each one of us. God is involved every time that conception takes place, and He has all of our parts written in His Book before any of them are formed.
Yet these are Truths our culture appears to have forsaken.
Apart from a spiritual awakening shaking our churches and reviving the people of God, our nation's psyche will not be healed. Bible-believing Christians cannot simply keep their faith to themselves, hidden under a box, so to speak. We must allow it to season and enlighten our culture (Matthew 5:13-16). To a large degree, God has placed our society's very existence and its future vitality in our hands.
My hope and my prayer is that we will one day soon wrestle to the ground and put away the culture of death that grips our nation. Not only for our sake should we be compelled to act, but for the sake and safety of generations to come.
Dr. Richard Land is president of The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist Convention's official entity assigned to address social, moral, and ethical concerns, with particular attention to their impact on American families and their faith.