Tag Archives: Rights

Bundle of Rights – A Poem

In law school property class
we learned about
our bundle of rights

It’s not much of a bundle
compared to Jesus’ divine
bundle of rights
—His omniscience
—His omnipresence
—His matchless glory

My bundle, your bundle,
is more like a hobo’s bindle
tied up, hanging from a pole

We cling to our rights
as if they were our precious,
our most precious possession

Though he was God,
Jesus did not think of equality with God
as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges
¹

He calls us to give up
our bindle for others
to become as a servant
following His example

And in the process we will discover
faith, hope, and love—and
the greatest of these is love
²

Not a bad trade, really,
a hobo’s bindle
for the greatest love
the world has ever known

 

¹Philippians 2:6-7a (NLT)
²1 Corinthians 13:13 (NLT)

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A Voice for the Voiceless

One of my favorite verses in the New Testament is James 1:27: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” In Biblical times, orphans and widows were the voiceless victims of society. Unless someone spoke up for them and looked after them, they had no recourse for their helpless plight.

God has always been concerned about the voiceless and needy. “He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.” Deuteronomy 10:18 (NIV). He calls His people to do the same.

There have long been those who would take advantage of the voiceless, who seek to crush the orphan and the widow. The Psalmist reminds us of what such people do:

They slay the widow and the foreigner;
they murder the fatherless.
They say, “The Lord does not see;
the God of Jacob takes no notice.”
Psalm 94:6-7 (NIV).

In our society today there are many who defend the cause of the widow and the orphan. Our laws protect these citizens who historically have been voiceless. Our churches have risen up to provide food and clothing to those in need. We have a long way to go to reach the point when the cause of all has been defended, but we have as a people heeded this call of our God and do our best.

Still, there is another voiceless segment of our society that does not enjoy the protection of our laws. There are even some groups within the church who do not defend their cause. They need someone to be their voice, to defend their right to live.

Today’s voiceless are the unborn who have no legal right to life. Even though an unborn child has her own heartbeat, her own internal organs, and can even have a different blood type than her mother, she has not been given the legal right to live if her mother decides to have an abortion before she is born.

I understand the right of a pregnant mother to choose. As I mentioned in a recent post, I used to be strongly pro-choice. I also understand that there are circumstances when the rights of a pregnant woman to not have to carry the child of her rapist to term or to not have to carry a child to term when her health is at risk might outweigh the right of the unborn child to life. The decision of whether to have an abortion is not an easy one, and it shouldn’t be. It is a balancing of the rights of two individuals who are connected by a bond the human mind cannot fully understand.

What bothers me about the pro-choice stance is that it claims that there is only one person with rights to be considered. I agree that a pregnant woman has and should have rights, but those who are zealously pro-choice cannot pretend that they have not made a moral decision that her rights are greater than that of her unborn child. Her child is not just a lump of tissue, like a cancerous tumor, that should have no rights and can simply be discarded without consequence.

Each unborn child is a voiceless human being. God has called us to defend their cause. If we are going to make a choice, let’s be honest about what that choice is.

Note: I wasn’t going to write this post. My post about abortion last week was going to be my first and last. I’d said my peace and thought I was done. But then I kept seeing cartoon posts on Facebook suggesting that if Mitt Romney were elected we would be setting back the rights of women by 50 years because of his pro-life beliefs. I was particularly surprised because a number of these posts were by friends who are Christians. I couldn’t seem to set aside my frustration that anyone would reduce this difficult topic to a one-liner cartoon. It is an issue that deserves more.

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Filed under Faith, Jesus, Life, Psalms, Women

The Land of Entitlement

Here in the United States we seem to think we live in the Land of Entitlement. The dictionary defines the word entitle as follows: “to give (a person or thing) a title, right, or claim to something; furnish with grounds for laying claim.”

In this country many have come to believe that they are entitled to all the blessings they currently enjoy and more. The U.S. Constitution does grant the citizens of this country the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, and prevents the government from infringing on that right, but many take that right to the extreme. People think they are entitled to a job, health care, a pay check even if they can’t work, a roof over their heads (and a really nice one, too), a fancy car — I could go on and on, but I won’t.

Suffice it to say, I don’t think we are really entitled to any of those things. We came into this world with nothing and we when we leave it we can’t take anything with us. In the interim, we are blessed by our Creator that He should loan some of His stuff to us. We are blessed that He gives us time and relationships. All that we “have” really isn’t ours and we have no grounds for laying claim to any of it.

When it comes to the afterlife, people think they are entitled, too. Everyone thinks they should have a right to go to heaven. How could God possibly exclude anyone just because of what they believe? That’s not fair!

But we have no such right, no such entitlement. God created heaven just as He created the earth and everything in it. It all belongs to Him. It wouldn’t even exist if not for His majesty and creative powers. He is the only one entitled to decide who gets to spend eternity with Him.

Thankfully, He has decided that anyone who humbly accepts and follows His Son Jesus can enjoy the blessings of heaven. We aren’t entitled, but He has blessed us nonetheless.

Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created. James 1:16-18 (NIV).

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Filed under Faith, Family, Jesus, Life, postaday2011