Silent Images is a non-profit organization with a mission to educate and inspire Christ-followers to get involved and make a difference in the areas of human trafficking, high school dropouts, homeless children, abortion, prisoner re-entry, refugees, and the elderly. Silent Images produced the GOOD (Get Off Our Donkey) series to encourage the Body of Christ to follow the good Samaritan’s example when he got off his donkey to tend to the wounds of a hurting soul. Jesus told His followers to “go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37).
It’s the testimonies from the GOOD series that mess with me. Lord, have mercy.
Brave, very brave, women share their experiences with human trafficking and abortion. Their stories are graphic and heart-breaking. And yet redemptive. These women can speak now because someone reached past the comfort zone and allowed everyday life to be interrupted so that time & effort could be taken to shine light into their darkness, extend mercy into their shame, defend them from injustice, and speak life into their pain.
I picked up on a common thread woven in the onset of several of these stories:
“I didn’t feel like I was worth anything …”
“I didn’t feel that I was fearfully or wonderfully made …”
“I didn’t feel that I had any worth or value …”
“I thought I was unworthy, unlovable, not beautiful …”
After the GOOD premiere, I experienced a renewed compassion and conviction to get off my donkey and be Christ’s love in action.
And something else –
I could. not. wait.
to get home and love on my daughter. And tell her that she is beautiful inside and out. And desperately loved by her mommy and daddy and her God.
Our children need us to speak life into them. Now. Our community needs us to speak life. Today.
“What does it mean to “speak life?” Here’s what I’ve been thinking …
A “pro-life” position is usually, and unfortunately, staked in political and divisive stances these days. For many years, I aligned myself with an anti-abortion stance. And one day I realized that it wasn’t enough. I had just finished an internship at the local crisis pregnancy center. The next internship brought me to a nursing home – which was not at all my preference. But I grew to LOVE those people.
And it struck me that God had tenderized my spirit and revealed to me the preciousness of life at both ends of the spectrum; in the pre-born child and in the aged I saw the imago Dei – the image of God. I finally got what it really means for me to be “pro-life.”
Whether the skin is bathed in amniotic fluid or covered with wrinkles of many years, the person is one whom God loves. Fearfully and wonderfully made. Unhidden from his or her Creator.
The Scripture says –
“For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view.” (2 Corinthians 5:14 – 16)
Christ died for my life. Your life. Your neighbor’s life. The sex slave’s life. The refugee’s life. The unborn baby’s life. As a Christian, that truth has to radically transform how I see and treat life – whether young or old; rich or poor; able-bodied or impaired; slave or free; weak or strong.
According to Proverbs 18:21, the tongue has the power of life and death. We “speak life” when our words are life-giving – when they reflect and honor the inherent value in every single person who has been created out of God’s plan for His purposes. More than ever, people need to hear that they are fearfully and wonderfully made by a God who loves them. More than ever, there are young, old, and in-between people who need someone to speak up for the free and hope-filled life that God meant for them to live.
What would happen if we were more intentional about speaking life? If we stopped playing with our gadgets and looked one another in the eye? If we stopped asking “how are you?” while pretending to care? If we told our daughters that they are beautiful? If we told our sons that they are honorable?
If we took off our masks? If we decided to store up treasures in heaven rather than stuff on earth? If we got serious about advocating for the orphan and the widow? If we became an undeniable voice for the 27 million men, women, and children trapped in slavery today? If we took the blinders off of our eyes about the injustice in the world? If we took time to wrap another’s wound?
There are times and ways, even when you’re sitting in your own darkness, to carry the light to someone else. Image-Bearer, even if your circumstances are dark, the light within is not extinguished. Lift the flicker up to God and give it a chance to shine even brighter against the backdrop of your life, however dim at the time it may be. The Holy Spirit, the breath of Heaven, will kindle hope within you. You will be ignited with a compassion that is compelled to shine into a hurting soul.
So now I’m on a “pro-life” mission. I’m re-reading some books on Sacred Marriage and Sacred Parenting. I’m re-energized to intentionally love on my 95-year-old friend. I will express to my daughter that she is valued, not for what she does but for who she is. I’m exploring ways to do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. I’ll speak up for those who have been pushed to the margins of our society. I’m thinking about ways to affirm the true beauty and purpose of people in my community – preborn to old to in-between.
Join me in choosing and speaking life!
Isaiah 58: 9 – 11 ~
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
“If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,
and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.
The Lord will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.
“How I treat a brother or sister from day to day, how I react to the sin-scarred wino on the street, how I respond to interruptions from people I dislike, how I deal with normal people in their normal confusion on a normal day may be a better indication of my reverence for life than the antiabortion sticker on the bumper of my car.” Brennan Manning ~ The Ragamuffin Gospel
Shine a light on slavery – http://enditmovement.com/
Find out more about Silent Images at http://silentimages.org/
Sacred Parenting and Sacred Marriage books are written by Gary Thomas.
Songs – “Speak Life” by Toby Mac and “Words” by Hawk Nelson