The Choices that Shape Us

I remember sitting in a college classroom, a criminology class, and hearing the instructor discuss “victimless” crimes, the encounters society frowned upon (more then, less now) but that “didn’t hurt anyone.”

The instructor suffered from the disillusionment that “consenting adults” could engage each other, agree to exploit each other, walk away, and remain unchanged, unharmed, perhaps even happier or better off for having had the experience.

Somehow when one eternal soul encounters another, both change. Loving choices produce good–satisfaction in our purpose fulfilled.

Exploiting choices, unrepented and left to themselves, never produce happiness or anything else we can call “better”.

We human beings shape and reshape ourselves and each other–all through the power of our choices.

We cannot, of course, ignore the work God does in shaping us. Our circumstances–not all resulting from our choices–shape us. But always, always, we choose how we react to every situation.

There is a calling, a mandate, on our lives. That calling demands a response. A false response refuses to acknowledge the harm sin causes. A true response resists evil, evil that has power to do great harm.

In his discussion of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings and C.S. Lewis’s various works, Joseph Loconte presents this universal calling:

“One may answer the Call–or refuse it, turn away, and walk into Darkness. But indifference to the Call to struggle against evil is not an option; one must take sides. Thus, set before our imagination in the works of Tolkien and Lewis is one of the great paradoxes of our mortal lives: the mysterious intersection of providence and free will” (152).

Every day, we choose to answer the call or neglect it. We choose the good way or our own way.

As our choices shape us, so do they shape our society.

And the shifts in society manifest themselves in changed language. Unborn humans have not just become fetuses. Clinic workers must never say the word baby. They call the child tissue, a blob.

Prostitutes are sex workers now. That’s a very clinical sounding term for something that sounds like an innocuous business. That innocuous business has grown into sex trafficking, even of children, even in America.

Porn is not victimless. It turns its viewers into addicts.

And it abuses and entraps those who produce it. In the meantime, the audience for porn becomes younger and seeks “ever harsher and more violent, degrading images.”

Abortion obviously harms the child, and less obviously, but still profoundly, harms the mother. Even less obvious, but perhaps as profound, is the damage to fathers, surviving siblings, and other family and friends.

And let’s not neglect the harm done to those within the abortion industry. Many within pro-life ranks today left clinic work to stand for life. They have answered the call. But healing is a long road.

Many wounded remain behind and cause more harm.

Loconte: “It is through their own decisions . . . that they invite a spiritual crisis into their lives. The result is not the freedom they imagined, but the deepest slavery of heart and mind” (163).

God bids us to answer His call–to be instruments of healing–to make choices that will shape us, others, and our society for good.

He calls us to speak the truth in love. Our refusal to do so can only bring more hurt.

It’s our choice.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Womb for Rent, Child for Sale

“One egg, one embryo, one adult-normality. . . . From eight to ninety-six buds, and every bud will grow into a perfectly formed embryo, and every embryo into a full-sized adult. Making ninety-six human beings grow where only one grew before. Progress.”  Aldous Huxley, Brave New World.

We’ve all heard the wonderful stories. Married couples who were unable to conceive become parents. A generous woman endures the discomforts of pregnancy to give them the ultimate gift. And then we imagine–a happily ever after ending.

And for some, it is a dream come true. Life as they had imagined it would be. It just began a different way.
But that’s not what surrogacy means for many children. Nothing like happily ever after.

Focus on the Family reports: “It is an unregulated industry that takes advantage of the bodies, health and altruistic nature of women for money. The reality is that without regulation, stories about surrogacy and artificial reproduction may become even more bizarre and exploitative.
And such was the tragic beginning for infant twin girls born to an Australian couple. The father had urged his wife to abort a pregnancy early in their marriage. He was not interested in having children. He became interested after he began to assault his young nieces.
His own babies were 27 days old when he began to violate them.  Their abuse lasted seven months. His collection of 13,000 images of child pornography included 300  photos of his own daughters.
There are other horror stories too.

Much of the world is waking up to this abuse. Even though the surrogacy industry is lucrative–$520 million a year in India alone–nations are moving to eradicate it or at least prohibit it to foreigners. With many countries limiting surrogacy, people are looking for surrogate mothers within the United States–where restrictions are few and protections fewer yet.
Surrogacy exploits poor women who are sometimes coerced into participating in the process and may be left with heartache or medical problems. It exploits children, especially since anyone can become a surrogate parent. Even pedophiles.

And while children “can be abused in any setting . . . they are not equally likely to be abused in every setting. By an order of magnitude they are least likely to be abused when living with their two married, biological parents.”
Even when it’s legal, surrogacy is legally messy.
A surrogate mother in California recently sued the “parents” of the triplets she was carrying. The parents wanted her to selectively abort one of the babies. She wanted to adopt the third child herself. But she signed a contract that allows the parents to decide.

Another woman moved to Michigan to give birth to a baby girl whose “parents” wanted to abort her because of her disabilities.
Legalization and regulation would seem to hold only more of such situations.
Medical progress is amazing. But progress isn’t always a step forward. In Huxley’s Brave New World, children were mass produced commodities who filled slots in society. No one loved them. They did not love. They existed only to be used by society and each other.
We haven’t gone as far as Huxley’s world yet. Neither have we drawn a line on when medical progress is human regression.

Perhaps it’s not too late to draw a line. If India and Thailand can stop injustice, so can the rest of us.


Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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