An inconvenient truth

Self versus fellow.

The recent news that pro-life Congresswoman Jamie Herrera Beutler’s unborn baby suffers from an often-fatal illness has brought to the forefront once again the issue of choosing life in the face of so-called “imperfection.”

We often hear the abortion battle phrased as a “culture of life” versus a “culture of death.” And, certainly, this statement holds truth. Yet, perhaps the conflict may more aptly be seen as a “culture of others” versus a “culture of self.”

Let’s face it. Life is inconvenient. Unfortunately, we’ve devolved into a society that’s forgotten this. In our mad craze to please self at all costs, we’ve forgotten the value of virtues such as self-control, delayed gratification, kindness, diligence, perseverance, etc. Truth be told, we’ve forgotten the very existence of many virtues, period (unless, of course, we’re waxing eloquent on “self-esteem”).

heart-handThe result is that when we are faced with something that appears less than “ideal” (keyword: appears), instead of thinking how we can persevere, grow, and give of ourselves to others in the face of the situation, we reason that any way in which we can escape the situation – even if doing so comes at the expense of another’s reputation, another’s advancement, or even another’s life.

Saying that our culture has devalued life is accurate, but it hits only half the problem; in reality, we have also over-valued self.

If our goal is to make our own lives as “perfect” and convenient as possible, then we will care little for the impact our choices have on others. As long as we are comfortable and our plans aren’t upended, the ends justify the means – so the logical outcome goes.

If, however, we realize that placing ourselves at the center of our world makes for a hollow life, then we will recognize that there is something greater than self – namely, others – and this is true whether “others” means the child we expected or the one whom we did not.

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